The Oregon Trail Game Vs. Actual Car Trips With Kids

August 20, 2012 at 8:21 pm , by 

21 months.

Looking back over 20 years later, that green-and-black “educational” game we played during computer class was not only not really all that educational, but it somehow completely glamorized the turmoil of those Americans who actually made the trek to Oregon.

(Sort of like the way 16 and Pregnant does with teen pregnancy, but that’s a whole other story I’ve already written about.)

The Oregon Trail made you not really mind so much when a member in your wagon died, due to a snakebite, dysentery, cholera, typhoid, exhaustion, or measles.

Even if it was morbid and I’m just now realizing it, I suppose it was fun to get to write on the fallen member’s tombstone.

And boy was it exciting to hunt my own furry food: squirrels, rabbits, bison, deer, elk and bears. If my aim was really good that day, I would kill over 200 pounds of meat and not be able to fit it all on the wagon. (Bragging rights!)

If only driving your kid around in the car was that much fun.

I suppose, though, if they could make The Oregon Trail such a glorious and engaging game, they could do the same thing with take a road trip with your kid.

Just like in The Oregon Trail game, you would have to pack enough clothes and food before you even head out.

While it’s not likely that anyone in the car would die of a snakebite or dysentery, it’s possible I could die of annoyance because my son keeps pretending to drop toys in the back seat, then cries when I don’t pick them up for him, causing me to explain that as long as the car is moving, my job is to keep us all safe by paying attention to the road.

As the parent who drives our kid around almost exclusively, I know how challenging and nerve-wracking the process is. My 30 minute drive to and then back from work each day used to be my “reflection time.”

Now the only reflecting that goes on is me looking in the review mirror to see my son dousing his shirt in water from his cup and stuffing his shorts full of Goldfish crackers.


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