Saturday, May 27, 2006

School Bus Games

Elementary school teachers sometimes find themselves on a field trip, heading somewhere on a school bus with fifty screaming kids and six miserable parent chaperones. Although I can suffer from “Bombarded Eardrums,” the bus rides give me a look into the world of school bus games that kids play today.

Rock Scissors Paper is still popular. If you don’t know how to play that one, don’t worry, you’re not missing much.

Hand Jives are popular among the girls, but the boys avoid them for some reason. Two kids will slap each others’ hands, clap their hands, and do all sorts of motions in a certain order. Speed develops with practice, and little poems are sung along with the clapping. The poems are nonsense. Here is an example:
Tommy Chuckie!
Phil Lil!
Baby Dill!
(Repeat the above faster)
Turn around!
Touch the ground!

Jokes are popular. Example:
Where is George Washington buried?
Answer: In the ground.

Why is George Washington buried at Mt. Vernon?
Answer: Because he was dead.

By the way, these are the good ones. Some are so horrible the kids don’t even laugh.

Kids also like to tap each other on the shoulder when you’re not looking. Then they act completely innocent like they have no idea what you are talking about when you ask who keeps doing it. It is usually spoiled by tattle tales, dern ‘em!

Kids also sleep on the bus. One student I had two years ago never failed to fall asleep on a field trip. Coming or going, it didn’t matter. The sound of the concrete passin’ under the wheels simply knocked her out.

They also like to jump up into the air if the bus goes over a speed bump. When the bus bounces up, then up they go, adding to the boost of the bus by giving a little jump. This activity irritates the bus drivers for some reason. Maybe because it’s not against the rules. The back of the bus bounces considerably more than the front, so speed bump freaks get in that back row and pray the bus driver goes through every parking lot in town to get to the museum. One student of mine, a particularly rowdy speed bump freak, actually hit his head on the roof the bus. It was a proud moment, and he wrote about it during an open-ended writing session.

Many kids like to pull down on an imaginary air horn in order to get the semi truck drivers to blow their horns. Semi drivers used to let go a little blast to the delight of the kids in the bus. For the last few years, the semi drivers have not been cooperative. The truckers are not paying attention anymore or they have become a bunch o’ stick-in-the-muds, but there are some kids who never give up hope of talking a semi driver into hittin’ his air horn.

Staring out the window isn’t popular, but it’s done. So is finding words on signs that begin with the letters of the alphabet. By the time you get to Q, it slows down, but then you race to X and stop for awhile looking for a copying place to see the word Xerox. Kids that are on a field trip to the Zoo are usually guaranteed success.

Sometimes I’ll sit next to a parent and talk intelligently, but now we are out of the “Games Kids Play on the Bus” territory, and we are into adult things. Boring!


Laura said...

I asked Jake if he played any of these games, he knew all of them, but boy did his eyes roll over the hand jive. All the girls do it and the boys don't see the fun....

Anonymous said... a bus driver let me comment: Bus drivers don' like kids to jump up on the bus because it is unsafe. A kid who bumps his head on the bus roof is a liability for the bus driver and the school. Safety is the bus driver's primary concern. Surprised the author here doesn't comprehend that. This may be the same reason truck driver's aren't blowing air horns as much. Watching the road is more important than pleasing a little kid. And there are LAWS governing noise as well. Games for bus riders need to allow the kids to have fun but also stay in their seats, keep the noise level to a minimum, and keep hands to themselves. These are common rules set by schools for the comfort and safety of all, none the least of which is the driver who must be able to concentrate at all times on the road.