Word Games to Play on the Road—or Anywhere!

Word Games to Play on the Road—or Anywhere!

Recently, Dixie and I took a road trip in our ’91 conversion van, Maude. Our destination was Belknap Hot Springs Resort in Oregon. The hot springs are nestled into the Cascade Mountains, and about an eleven-hour drive for us. We weren’t just going for the hot springs, though they alone are totally worth the drive, we were going to meet up with Dixie’s wonderful brother, James, and his wonderful partner, Tim. We made several camping stops along the way, but it was still a lot of driving. Dixie, as usual, did all of it (she loves to drive) while I played navigator, sandwich maker, and DJ.

We listen to a lot of podcasts when we travel in Maude. We especially like The Moth, Serial, and This American Life. We also listen to music. But sometimes, just to break up all that auditory input, we play word games. These are also fun around a campfire, or while waiting for your order at a restaurant, of really just any old time you feel like cracking yourself up. They are improv based and super engaging. Here are a few.

One-Word Story

Basically, you just tell a story together, only you alternate with each word.            Example:

Clifford: Mrs.

Dixie: Miller

Clifford: picked

Dixie: up

Clifford: her

Dixie: phone…

And so it goes. You can also play it with two words at a time. Or make up proverbs, or poems. If the story goes completely awry, joyfully shout, “Again!” and start over. It helps to keep your sentences short by avoiding words like “and” and “then.” It also helps to start with a person’s name so you know who the story is about.

Convergence

The goal of this game is to say the same word at the same time. One person signals that they have a word by saying “One.” A second person signals they have a word by saying “Two.” Then both people count to three out loud together then say their words at the same time.                                                                                                                               Example:

STEP ONE

Dixie: One!

Clifford: Two!

Dixie & Clifford: One to three…

(Said at the same time) Dixie: Door! Clifford: Parachute!

STEP TWO

Each player tries to think of a new word that would bring these two words closer together.

Clifford: One!

Dixie: Two!

Dixie & Clifford: One to three…

(Said at the same time) Dixie: Plane! Clifford: Jump!

STEP THREE

Work off only the last two words (Plane and Jump) and try again. You are not allowed to repeat a word.

Clifford: One!

Dixie: Two!

Dixie & Clifford: One to three…

(Said at the same time) Dixie: Skydive! Clifford: Skydive!

It doesn’t usually go this quickly. So go as long as it takes to say the same word or give up and start over. Super fun!

Tell a Tall Tale

This is a favorite of ours. Basically, you take an exit road sign with the name of a town and tell the story of how it got its name.                                                                          Example:

You pass a road sign that says: Toad Suck Arkansas next exit. (A real place! I’m not kidding!)

Dixie: Clifford? Do you know how Toad Suck got its name?

Clifford: Of course I do! Let me tell you… (One thing that makes this game really fun is if you start as far away from the name of the town as possible. For example…) A long long time ago, there was a bunch of traveling ballerinas. They traveled by horse and buggy and danced wherever they could find an audience, erecting a small stage at each of their stops. They danced for paupers and rich landowners alike, for politicians and beggars. You may wonder why you never heard of them. And it is precisely because of this…. (embellish embellish. Describe the travels, their eating habits. Whatever! And by no means, have any idea how you are going to get to Toad Suck. Then…) Until finally they found themselves in a small wet town in Arkansas where it had rained and rained for days on end. And as they began to dance on their tiny stage for a small damp group of watchers, their tiny stage, unnoticed by them in their dancing frenzy, began to slowly descend into the swamp, until it had swallowed them all up completely. A small child, sitting in the front row, Gladys Pickleworth was her name, exclaimed, “Mama! Mama! Them pretty dancers just got sucked up by the toads!” And so the town got its name, Toad Suck, Arkansas!

So, on your next road trip, try some of these out. They are fun! Also, if you happen to find yourself in the Western Cascade Mountains up by McKenzie River, check out the Blue Pool! (Featured above. No filters used!) It is gorgeous beyond belief. James and Tim brought us there, and from the cliffs above, we watched a huge termite hatch. It was crazy, thousands of tiny winged creatures fluttered above a sapphire pool. Amazing how seeing termites out in the wild changed their status from pests to magical fairies!

So that’s it for today. Remember to live the love. It’s all we’ve got!

5 comments

  1. My friend and I made up a game called Guess What? One of us says guess what? and the other has to guess. The guesser can ask only yes or no questions. The best way to win is to choose categories and go from there. For example, the answer is “my sister got a new job.” The guesser starts with, is this about a person? Is the person a friend? A relative? Is it your mother? Sister? Is it about her relationship? Her health? Something she bought? Is is about her work? …. like that. Great fun.

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