Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The License Plate Game

My sisters and brother and I grew up playing the "License Plate Game" during the summer.  Summer in Maine (not calendar summer) runs between Memorial Day and Labor Day.  During this time frame; we challenge ourselves to find license plates from all the US States; and being in close proximity to Canada; as many provinces as we can.  It used to be just all of us working together; but apparently it has evolved into contest between houses.

My sister in North Conway is currently in 1st place.  North Conway may have a slight advantage at the license plate game.  At least until we spend a day wandering parking lots in Freeport.

Now I'm sharing this game with Jupiter.

The game has also evolved into supplemental school.  And to be completely honest; we did supplemental school today instead of the math review worksheet that came home in her folder.  Now when we find out-of-state license plates; I send Jupiter at the end of the day to locate all the states we find on her wall map.  Today we got to find Texas, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Florida.  And just something I found weird; Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida and Michigan were all parked in driveways on our bitty one way street. And I admit, I didn't recognize Michigan when we drove by and had to back up in the middle of the street to see what it was.  And if Tammy's Mom hadn't been out around town somewhere, we would have seen Vermont too.  As soon as I get around to getting some new stickers, we can put stickers on the laminated wall map.

Then we had a conversation about why we might see some states more often than other states.  When I asked her why this would be, Jupiter came up with "Some states are more closer" all by herself.  We also discussed how some states have more people than other states, and how Florida is further away, but like her friend Jesse's grandparents; lots of people here go to "vacation" in Florida during the winter.

So then Jupiter decided she wanted to assign points to all the states.  So we had to figure out which state we would be LEAST likely to see.  ("Can you drive a car from Hawaii to Maine?  No. Can you drive a car from Alaska to Maine?  Yes.).

I did actually see a car from Hawaii in the parking lot at Mart of Walls last week.  My other sister the referee says it does not count because it was the day BEFORE Memorial Day and not actually Memorial Day.  But for our house, it counts.  I'm not likely to see a license plate from  Hawaii again unless I actually move there.  Although I have hope that if they actually shipped a car here from Hawaii, they're planning to stick around awhile, and we may see them again.

Anyway, we also made a list of all the states (and provinces) to go on the wall next to the map.  I asked Jupiter if we should sort them geographically or alphabetically.  She said alphabetically.  Of course.  Alphabetizing is a great skill to work on.  It took me a really long time to alphabetize 50 states and the District of Columbia. It took me a long time to make a non alphabetized list of 50 states and the District of Columbia.  I had to look at the map because I was about five short.  I skipped Nebraska.  And Nevada.  Guess I don't like N states.  And there's that one Canadian Provicne that I can never remember (Manitoba).

Maybe the way we go to Freeport, we'll take a list and just mark off how many times we see each state.  Graphing, anyone?  I bet we can find things to do with this game all summer.  But apparently I need a wall map of Canada.  Maybe we'll have to go to the Delorme Map Store in Yarmouth.  They're sure to have a Canadian wall map.  And the world's largest globe.

Yes, I am a geek. 


M.J. Fifield said...


I found Hawaii and Alaska last year. No sign of them yet this year but the summer's still young.

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