Many people travel around the holidays to visit family and friends. We were in that group this year, and took a long
torturous adventurous drive to NYC for Thanksgiving last week. (Once we were there, it was great - it's the getting there - and getting home that's rough.) But this year, I took the bull by the horns. I searched for car-friendly kid activities to help us get through the 12-ish hour trip. I went to my go-to, Pinterest.
Of course, I was not disappointed. There are lots of ideas on there! My favorite ones involve bingo and magnets. Oh how I love the idea of things staying put and not flying all over our car. Road Trip Bingo, compliments of Kimberly, the Homemaking Expert, is fabulous! She has six different printable bingo cards - for free! (Thanks Kimberly!) The Alphabet Search and Slug Bug games are also free at Prepared Not Scared - her travel bag ideas are fantastic!
The idea for the magnetic activity tray came from the girls over at Ladybird Ln. They made several magnetic activity sets using mostly dollar store finds! So the Bear and I went on a mission to make some variation of these for our trip.
We found inexpensive cake pans at Dollar General. I like these because they are deep and can double as a tray for meals on the go, so less things end up on the floor. (Very old french fries, gummies, and goldfish have formed a colony under the back seat of our van.) At the Dollar Tree, we picked up magnetic wooden letters. For $1. Love it! So I got 3 pans, and 3 sets of letters.
Knowing that we take these long trips occasionally, I wanted the activity trays and games to last. So I splurged and got self laminating sheets at Walmart and laminated all of my print outs. This would also allow you to use a dry erase marker to play, but I do not want my kids in the car with an open marker of any kind. I'll stick to magnets for now.
After laminating all the games, I put self adhesive magnet strips on the back of each. I just cut the magnetic sheets I had in my stash. The kids picked from my scrapbook paper and I punched out circles using my Creative Memories small circle punch. Which, by the way, is a perfect fit for those 3/4" round craft magnets. I used my glue gun to attach the paper circles to the magnets. Not sure if that was the best option - Mod Podge may give you smoother results. Next time I'll try that.
Next I trimmed down an plain manilla folder and used double sided tape to attach coordinating scrapbook paper to fit the bottom of the pan. I sealed up the sides with packing tape - to create a pocket for the extra game cards. Then I attached the manilla folder to the bottom of the pan with double sided tape. My last step was to place a small self-adhesive magnetic strip on the inside of the pocket to hold it closed so game cards don't fall into the colony thriving under the seat.
The magnetic letters are not that strong - they kept falling off the pan. So in an effort to save them from the colony as well, I used very random scrap fabric and some string to create little pouches to hold the letters. Side note: I often wonder what other blogging moms do with their kids while they work on all their projects. In case you were too, the Bear was right by my side. She was my product tester.
So each child has their own pan, set of games, their unique color of magnet, and a pouch for letters. Do you like how I used tissue boxes and library books to prop up the pans for my photo? Nice. Ha!
Everyone has their own. Everyone can identify their own. No arguing over who's is who's. Bliss.