Punch Buggy Tradition

One Bug, Two Bug, Red Bug, Blue Bug

How many of us remember growing up playing the Volkswagen “Punch Buggy” game?  It was one of my favorites, even though my older sister punched a bit harder than I did when spotting the infamous Volkswagen bugs on the road…I loved it anyway.

This classic driving game has now been updated with new rules enforced by my kids. For those unaware, the classic driving game “Punch Buggy” is a game where children spot a VW Beetle, call out “Punch Buggy!” plus the car’s color and give a playful punch to a friend or sibling. The goal is to call it out before anyone else see’s the car.

I am not big on the punching, so our family changed up the game, made it more interesting and presented some new rules that will help families get through long road trips (or short ones) more quickly.

Trading Violence for Points

Instead of allowing swinging fists throughout the car ride, parents can introduce a simple points system for the game. My kids are all under 7, so the points are kept for day only and just to have the bragging rights, is prize enough.  If you are traveling a long distance, you can set a goal score like 50 or just see who has the highest score by the time you arrive at the destination.  The winner could pick where or what you eat for the night or choose dessert for everyone-keep it fun.

Color Points

For points to be valid, players need to properly say the color after each Beetle they see. If the color is wrong, no points are awarded. Award 1 bonus point for someone who gets the same color twice in a row. Award 2 bonus points for a special Beetle pattern like the ladybug VW Beetle.

As you play, you can adjust rules and points as needed and even include other makes and models of cars that you see on the road.

Our younger version of the bug game involved some additional players to the basic game.

Bug Catchers

If you have a police car or police motorcycle sighting at the same time you spot a bug, you must call it out as “Bug Catcher”- you can then take away 1 point from any of your competitors tally.

Bug Savers

If you spot a fire truck or ambulance sighting at the same time you spot a bug, you must call it out as “Bug Saver”- you then gain 1 point or gift 1 point to your competitors tally.

As they get a bit older, you can get a bit more detailed…

Classic Beetles

The classic VW Beetle from the 1960s features the domed shaped, circular headlights, and chrome lining around the outside. Today, this is the rarest VW Beetle you will see on the road and any version of it is worth 5 points. If the VW Beetle is parked, it is worth only 3 points. This includes Beetles featured at a used auto dealer.  My husband can’t wait to drive by a dealership with kids – I think they would foam at the mouth and not be able to get any words our fast enough.

Volkswagen New Beetle

The New Beetle emerged in 1998 and reintroduced the “Punch Buggy” game in America. If seen driving, the New Beetle is worth 3 points. It is worth 2 points while parked.

2012 Volkswagen Beetle

With a design that comes from a hybrid of the classic and new Beetle, the 2012 and beyond models of the VW Beetle are starting to pop up on roads all over the United States. The new models are worth 2 points while driving or 1 point while parked. If you pass a VW dealer filled, it only counts as 5 points to the first person that declares the “Punch Buggy Dealership!”

Have fun “bugging out”, a great icebreaker for new school carpools!