Car Games for Boys – an excerpt from Mike McQueen’s Boys’ Alive Event Interview at with Janet Allison
What about those times when you are say in the car? And you wanted to, a little bit about…how do you keep them entertained? I see so many cars with the DVD players in the back so that kind of makes me crazy when I see that because I know when my girls were growing up and we were on road trips, that was a really great time for them to dive in and they were girls, and they liked novels, and they read a lot in the car. What can parents do with their children in the car?
Let me just tell you that the concept of cars, car games for boys is huge. Cars in general, the topic of cars, boys, in my entire career from preschool to 22-year olds, cars have been a very, very popular topic and maybe not just cars but vehicles in general. So motorcycles, Humvees. Low-riders, just military vehicles, anything that has to do with cars. The topic itself has always been very popular. And then if you look into games that have to do with cars too, car games for boys are super popular too. And when I say car games, the first things that pops into mind is, in most people’s mind is video games. And yes it’s true. Boys are just infatuated with car games. And as a parent and educator, we have to be careful with that topic. There are two things that come to mind. One is that we have to be careful that boys don’t get too addicted to games. We have to be careful that we don’t allow them to spend too much time playing car games and or any games for that matter. And that is one of the big problems with boys and reading is that they just don’t have enough guidelines set up. And I look at the parents first for that. They need to set up guidelines at home to limit how much time they are spending. Don’t get me wrong the other side of that coin is that there’s a big movement in the education world to tap into games. And there are ways to use games in a positive way for learning and I’m not opposed to that concept if it’s done correctly. But it takes a careful means.
As far as car games for boys go, another thing a lot of parents mean, I think if we about how much time we spend in cars driving, this is another aspect of it, we can tap reading into it with boys of any age. Now I suggest one of the biggest thing to do for car games for boys is first of all just go to the public library and look for books and magazines that have to do with cars. If you go and get things that have to do with cars, then you can leave that in the car now. If it’s a book of course you’re going to have to bring it back to the library if you’re checking it out. I’m a big advocate for magazines with boys. I think magazines are huge. I think a lot of boys love to read magazines.
I wrote that article for Boys’ Life. Part of the reason that I did that is because for boys, magazines provide short chunks of text, short experiences. So when you’re on the road if you keep them…if you subscribe…what I would suggest is go to Barnes and Noble or go to some big store, some bookstore and look through the different magazines that are available. And depending on the age of your son, and what your rules are, about how strict you are of what’s okay and what’s not.. Some magazine of course, boys will be attracted to but they’re not appropriate for their age whether it’s the female thing or the violence thing whatever.
So you know there’s some guidelines, it depends on what you have to do, but in a typical Barnes and Noble store, there are 6 to 7 hundred different magazines to pick from. There’s two thoughts. One is to buy a couple of issues; they’re more expensive if you buy them off the newsstand. But keeping them in the car so when you’re driving around that if they only have a short amount of time then “boom,” they can read something and be done with it. Then get a complete peace to it. And the other things is, if you give them the opportunity to see the different magazines that are out there, then buy one or two subscriptions for them. Parents won’t blink an eye to buy video game or what could cost them 50 or 60 bucks quite often. In a magazine subscription you can get a whole year’s worth for 15 bucks or depending what it is, even cheaper.
And every time they get that in the mail, they have something to look forward to and keep them, just make a deal with your sons and say, “hey you got to keep that in the car. Let’s keep issues in the car.” And that way when they’re sitting there they have something to look at, besides playing with their cellphone or whatever. And then you know, the other thing is. when you’re in the car, some of the games that you can play is question games. Talking to your son about, while you’re in the car, talking to them about things that they’re interested in or things that they’re reading is a great way to connect to them. I have two daughters and they’re both teens and so often in the car, there’s so many chances where there is times that you can talk. And it’s not easy as kids get older. You really have to say, “hey take your headphones out and let’s just…” You got to really do it if you want to keep those communication lines open. I think that is so important.
If they’re young, depending how old and willing they are to play the game. One car games for boys I love is just the simple I Spy game. As a librarian at the elementary level, I had my 5th and 6th grade boys, 11 and 12 years old, they still love to go look at those I Spy games. It would drive their teachers crazy that they would want to get those books, those I Spy books. But for some reason boys are just interested in looking around for stuff that’s maybe hard to see.
So depend what you’re doing, I don’t know it depends on the age of your son but as you’re driving a car that would be another good game to play. I say, “hey, I’m looking around to see different things that are in the environment I can point out to see if they can find them.”
And then finally, another thought with car games for boys is Mad Libs, lot of boys love to play Mad Libs, ven at the supermarket you can pick up a couple of Mad Lib, things that they can engage with what they’re reading where they write stuff, just keeping those in the car is just a great technique that a lot of parents can take their hands on.
Car Games for Boys – excerpt from Mike McQueen’s Boys’ Alive Event Interview (with Janet Allison)