The License Plate Game
When I was kid we had a weekend house out in Pennsylvania. It was a three-hour drive from New York City, and we did the drive almost every weekend during the school year. Every 5 minutes or so you were bound to hear either me or my brother asking “are we there yet?”. Are you a parent that has heard that phrase one too many times? My dad came up with this game (at least I thought he did) that kept us occupied for hours upon hours in the car.
It’s called The License Plate Game. The premise is simple. You win by finding a license plate to match each of the 50 states in our country (including Alaska and Hawaii!!). The reason this game is so ingenious is because your children are inadvertently learning the abbreviations for each state.
We started out the game by each looking at our card, writing our name on top, and going through each of the state abbreviations to become familiar with which state they stood for. Although I didn’t memorize which abbreviation went with which state, I began to understand that the abbreviation usually started with the same letter as the name of the state. The more and more we played (which was every time we got in the car…my dad kept them in the side pocket of his door) the more comfortable we got with knowing wich abbreviation went with which state. On every car ride, my brother and I would sit with our heads pressed against the window looking at each cars license plate as it went by.
Here are the rules:
Each child gets their own card with the abbreviation of every state written on it. As soon as one child sees a license plate that matches a state on their card, they get to put a check next to that state and write the name out in full (you may need to help with the spelling). They then don’t need to find that state again. To win, you must find all 50 states . It doesn’t matter how many times you find the same state, it just matters that you find all fifty.
If you are going to another state besides the state you live in, you can even keep a little journal of which states you’ve been to. On each page that holds a different state, you can glue or tape in a picture that you took there, and write down a few things you did or saw while you were there. Keep your kids really involved by letting them take the picture, or choose the postcard that you are going to use. Also, let them tell you the three or four things to write down about that state.
This is a great way to keep them occupied and learning while you’re on the road.
Have you ever played a game like this?