Rock Star on the RoadL Rand McNally’s Car Karaoke

I love being out of the city.  The flowers, the sea, the incessant barking of the dog of the people renting the house next door.  Sunshine, fresh air.  Picking the herbs I need to cook instead of spending $1.50 a bunch for them, using only a few tablespoons worth, and waiting until the rest gets moldy or dried out before tossing it out.

What I don’t like, is all the driving.

Aside from the fact that all the time I spend in the car is one of the primary reasons I end each summer flabbier and fatter than I began it, is the endless tedium of sitting in the car. How many times do I need to hear that the Black Eyed Peas think “tonights gonna be a good night”?  Or that Cobie Caillat is so in love that it’s wrinkling her nose?  I’m wrinkling mine, too, honey, in disgust at the amount of gas I’m using and time I’m spending SITTING SITTING SITTING. (Does pushing the gas pedal burn calories?  I hope so.)

Notice I haven’t mentioned the kids?  Generally speaking, the bickering begins just as we reach the end of the driveway.  Lovely.

Imagine, then, how happy I was to get a distraction in the mail: Rand McNally’s Car Karaoke, part of their Boredom Breakers ™ series of car games for families. (Full disclosure:  they sent it to me for free.  Asked me to review it, but IN NOW WAY direct what I am going to say)

The Boredom Breakers Game Series

Rand McNally, the 100 + year old travel company mostly known for maps, just introduced a whole series of  games and activities to keep kids entertained and families connected in the car.  Since we don’t have a DVD players in the car (I know, I’m the last holdout) and my kids get sick when they read in the car or even play their DS, The Boredom Breakers™ games are perfect.  According to Rand McNally “The products are designed to bring families together, encouraging conversation, laughter and fun making the miles fly by for moms and kids on the go.”

They sent me Car Karaoke.  Here’s how they describe it: “Mom can sing lead and kids are back-up vocals.  Just pop in the CD with 12 classic rock, pop, and kid favorite songs.  Includes everything needed to be a rockstar: an inflatable microphone, rating cards, and three lyric books.  Choose from favorites like “Build Me Up Buttercup” or “Twist and Shout,” to see who’s got the pipes in the family.  Earplugs not included!”

Here’s how I describe it: hysterical.  My kids LOVE the blow up microphone.  So much better than a hairbrush.  Quite honestly, they don’t know a lot o f the songs on the CD, and don’t really want to sing the kid songs they do, but they use the mike for songs on other CD’s or on the radio (there’s a lot of wrinkling noses in the car) – and are surprisingly kind with the rating cards!  The only suggestion I would make it to include two mikes in the kit — one for each kid.
The quality of the singing on the CD is pretty varied — from quite good to bordering on torture — but you can choose to sing without the singers (like real Karaoke) and in any case, they sound better than you or your kids. (or at least me or mine!)
Truly, they could have just sent the inflatable microphone and the ratings card and it would have been just as good.

Still, it has helped to end the tedium enormously.  And from what they tell me, their other games help spark conversation.  Which, since they are trapped in the car with me, is perhaps the best time to get their attention and get them to talk.
Bottom Line: If you are heading out for a long drive this Labor Day Weekend.  Give these games a shot.  They’re not expensive (under $15,.00 for the Karaoke (why not Car-aoke?? I don’t know!), and they really might make being trapped on the road a lot more fun.
Rand McNally’s Boredom Breakers series of car games are on sale at Amazon.com and RandMcNally.com

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