We like to have fun as a family and some games are very cultural. Some we've been able to teach others. Kubb, for example, a Swedish game, we learnt in the UK, that we've taught to American friends. Or Carcassonne, a German style board game based on a medieval French town, taught to us by Dutch friends!
Over the time that we've been here in America we have had a growing appreciation as a family for the State License Plate Game (free printable, courtesy of The Dating Divas Blog)! When we first moved here and I heard people mention it, to be honest I have to admit rolling my eyes, thinking 'boring'. Fast forward three years and you will find us hunting down different plates while we're out and about.
For those who aren't familiar, each of the 50 states of America have a different license plate (or a few different ones) which are easily identifiable as the name of the state should be on there. Every car has a license plate based on where the owner lives. So if you move states, you change plates. That means that if you live in Florida (bottom right of the USA) and see a car with a Washington (top left of the USA) license plate ... you know it's travelled a LONG way to get there!
Our long road trip to Florida earlier on this year found us noticing different plates and after a while we started writing down all the different ones we'd seen. Later we found the free printable (see link above) and now we always have a copy in the car to mark down any new ones we see! Abigail's very quick to point out the Ohio ones because they are 'just like ours'. She's also desperate to see an Hawaii one as it has a rainbow on it ... given the geography of the states, we're unlikely to spot one of those round here!!
A couple of months ago we set ourselves the task of finding as many of the 50 states plates as possible before leaving the country. While we knew that it was highly unlikely that we would find all of them, given that Hawaii and Alaska and not even attached to the rest of the states, we thought we had a reasonable chance to get the other 48.
With less than two weeks to go, we only have about 8 more plates to go to reach the big five-0. The biggest surprise so far was when we found an Alaska plate in the car park at Columbus Zoo ... they really had travelled a long way to see the animals!
Yesterday's trip to Columbus was a little disappointing as we didn't manage to add any to our quota ... and we even drove down one section of a car park, as we spotted a different plate at the other end that we wanted a better look at! We don't usually detour specifically for license plates but we're running out of time!
When Mark's parents visited in October we introduced them to the game ... and it wasn't unusual to totally loose Gramps in a car park much to Grandma's annoyance!! He kept wandering off trying to locate some more to add their tally of plates spotted. Totally addicted in a very short time!
If you're living or travelling in the States I can thoroughly recommend it as an ongoing family pastime ... a sentence I never predicted saying a couple of years ago! I know if we ever come back here, we'll definitely have a fresh copy out and be ready to cross off the states as we see them!