Saturday, March 28, 2009

Car games

The other night we pulled up to a red light behind a mini-van. There was a DVD that hung from the ceiling playing a children's movie. My first thought was, I wish we had those when the kids were little. Then I thought of all the special times that would have been lost.

Since the kids were little, we played a game they called alligator (it was actually navigator). Jim devised this game and I have to admit, sometimes I didn't have the patience for it. The game designated one of the kids as the navigator. They were responsible for directing the driver to turn left or right. The driver had to obey - unless it was dangerous or illegal- think one way streets. I believe this migh be how they learned their right from their left.

When they were very little, they would direct us within our neighborhood. Then home from the store or school. The boundaries got bigger as they grew, until they could direct us home from out of town. We also added more challenges, such as telling us ahead of time which streets we were going to take. Did we ever get lost or take a longer way home? Absolutely. But that was part of the fun.

Both kids knew the streets of Redding very well by the time they were in middle school. By the time they got their driver's license they were confident out on their own. They were surprised that other teen drivers, born raised in the area ,couldn't find their way around.

Our niece and nephew often stayed with us. A while back, our niece, now 30 years old, told us how she remembered playing 'alligator' and how much fun she had riding in the car with us. It is nice to hear about pleasant memories from their childhood.

I am glad we didn't have a DVD.


  1. Me too. It still amazes me how people who have lived in Redding all their lives, and are 30, have a hard time navigating around town. Thanks for the skill building game!


  2. I can get anywhere in Nevada City and Grass Valley, but I absolutely do not know the names of streets. It's all landmarks and buildings and what store is nearby or USED to be nearby. (Think "oh it's two streets past where the Happy Apple Kitchen used to be"). Nevada County is a rural area with nothing resembling a grid system of any sort. I was relieved when I moved to metropolitan areas like Portland and Seattle and the street numbers and addresses made some mathematical sense. Fortunately, in Nevada County there are lots of recognizable landmarks, even the ones that have been replaced with the "new" (10 years ago) 76 station, the one out by Hooper & Weavers, just before the Mormon church.