Headed on a road trip or a long car ride?
My family recently took a road trip that was 10 hours round trip. I have 4 young boys, so I knew that I needed to prepare by having lots of things to keep them busy in the car. My research began on Pinterest where I began pinning the ideas I found to my Road Trip board.
All of my research culminated in the idea for these DIY kids travel activity kits. I knew they would be a big hit with my 8-year-old and 6-year-old especially. They could each have their own “kit” that was catered to their interests and level.
Even if you are not going on a long trip, these kids travel activity kits make a great “all in one” activity center for any occasion. If you live in the city or are frequently on the go, these would be great to keep in the car. If you spend a lot of time picking up other kids from activities or sitting in waiting rooms, these can be zipped up and taken just about anywhere!
Plus, back to school time is over, which means many of your supplies for these kits will be discounted or on clearance.
Ready to make some cool activity kits? Let's get started!
Supplies for Your Kids Travel Activity Kits
You will need a few basic supplies to put together each activity kit:
- A zip-up 3 ring binder or “trapper keeper” (I prefer one with additional pockets in the front and back)
- A zip-up pencil bag that snaps into a 3 ring binder
- Crayon, colored pencils, or colored pens
- A folder with 3-hole punch
- Some notebook paper with 3-hole punch
Now that you have the basic supplies, it's time to decide what else you want to include in your activity kits. You can tailor each binder to fit the educational level of the child.
When shopping for supplies, I started at Dollar Tree first. I bought a few activity books, leveled reading books, and card games there because that's where they are cheapest. Once I knew what I could get there for the lowest price, I moved on to Walmart to buy the school supplies needed and a small toy to include with each activity kit.
In preparation for our trip, I had ordered a travel doodle book, a travel activity book, and 2 sticker books from Usborne Books (which I absolutely love).
I also included some loose activity sheets that I tore out of old scribbled-on activity books (this is where the folders come in handy) and some older kid magazines that we get, including Highlights and National Geographic Little Kids.
Ideas of What to Include:
- Card Games
- Small lego packs or figurines
- Books (at the appropriate level)
- Old magazines
- Activity books
- Printable travel games
- Dice (with dice game sheets)
Putting Together Kids Travel Activity Kits
Here are a few tips to remember when putting together your kits…
1. Don't include too much stuff. You don't want your child to be so overwhelmed that they don't know where to start. Also, you don't want the binders to be so full that your child doesn't have room to write, draw, or do any of the activities.
2. Keep everything tailored to the level of your child and age-appropriate. They will not think that their activity kit is fun if everything is way over their head.
3. If you are going on a long car ride or trip and plan on including games that are new to your child, take some time beforehand to explain to your child how it works or how to play. You don't want to have to explain everything in the car (and get a crook in your neck from turning around to give instructions).
4. These activity kits are best for school-age children. For babies and toddlers, consider keeping a pouch of age-appropriate activities, colors, and books in a small tote, either in front next to you or behind your seat. That way, you'll be able to hand your child activities and put them away quickly. (Thanks to my friend Tressa for that tip!)
Additional Travel Activity Ideas
Of course, not everything will fit in your travel activity kits, and I recommend bringing along some other activities and games.
One thing that was popular on our trip was a metal cookie sheet (98 cents at Walmart), and some magnets that I bought online. The kids had fun putting their “create a scene packs” ($1 each at Dollar Tree) on the cookie sheet and creating scenes with the magnets. (I bought the magnets here)
Other Games and Activities Ideas:
- Travel board games like Connect 4, Magnetic Checkers, Guess Who, etc.
- Make your own travel board games like these.
- Etch-A-Sketch or Magnetic Doodler
- Cookie sheet and magnets (I bought these)