Car Trip Game - Count The Cows

by wcascade40

Fun, simple game to play on a car trip.

road trip
road trip

Childhood road trips

Summer is here, the time for family road trips. I fondly remember long ago summers travelling down Wisconsin roads. My father had a rule; every road trip started at midnight. He would pack the car as soon as he got home, then he would take a nap. I think his reasoning was that if he traveled at night not only would be beat the traffic, but the kids would be asleep most of the time. It didn’t necessarily work that way, but it wasn’t a bad plan.

However, once it was morning, what could the kids do? We were usually travelling from Southern to Northern Wisconsin and once you got back the state capital in Madison, there wasn’t much. I do remember an awful roadside zoo we would go to every year. The animals were in cages or behind barbed wire. Fortunately that zoo is long since closed.

But besides visiting the zoo, gas stations and every rest stop in the state, what could we kids do? Well, we played Count the Cows. Wisconsin has a generous helping of cows. The human population of is about 5.5 million and the cows about 3.5 million. The cows are actually gaining on us but I try not to worry about it.

typical Wisconsin cow
typical Wisconsin cow

The rules of Count the Cows

First divide into 2 teams, one for the right side of the car, one for the left.

Next, set a distance limit. For example we will play the game until we get to Spooner or the next rest stop, then we will declare a winner.

Playing the game is pretty simple, each side of the car counts up the cows they see on their side of the road. You have to be quick and count aloud, it doesn’t count if you see 3 cows, but say 20 just in case some were in the barn.

Keep a running total of the cows but beware, you can lose your points.

double your points
double your points

If a team sees a black horse on their side of the road, the teams loses all their cows and has to start over at zero.

If a team sees a white horse on their side of the road, their cows double.

You can add more ways to gain and lose points. For example a roadside stand, church or moving tractor could add or lose points.

For the winners, I would suggest you pick up some cheap prizes at the dollar store; glow sticks, coloring books, notebooks or stickers.

Perfect music to start your road trip

Updated: 08/04/2011, wcascade40
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