Every year at this time the jacaranda trees in Los Angeles start to bloom. They only last for a couple of months, but while they’re in blossom the city is peppered, everywhere you look, with beautiful purple trees. They start to emerge slowly – one here, one there – then they’re all over the place, and finally around mid-July they start to fade and disappear for another year.
To celebrate this lovely cycle, the boys and I play a car based game called “Jacaranda!”* It entails looking out for the purple trees and yelling out “Jacaranda!” the second you see one. Whoever has seen the most by the time we get to our destination wins. It sounds ridiculous, but I like the game for a few reasons:
- It encourages the boys to take notice of nature and appreciate it’s ebbs and flows.
- It motivates Miles to sit up and pay attention to what’s going on around him – a subtle reminder that there’s more to life than baseball and Minecraft.
- It inspires lots of silliness and laughter and playful arguments about who saw what tree first.
Really, it’s a very basic game, with a very basic premise, but it adds a layer of fun to our usual errand runs and school drops and who can’t use a little more of that in their day?
*Note: This game is also played from the end of November to the end of December, but during that time it’s called “Christmas Lights!”