Monday, December 22, 2008

Car 'FUN' Kits for Littles

Sometime in the last couple of months, David needed a lot of sidewalk chalk for a project at work. When we bought it, I asked him if we could keep the containers since they were sturdy, had lids and handles and were just going to get tossed! He said sure and I've had them in my closet wondering what their future purpose would be.

I still have seven of the containers even after finishing this project, so you'll likely see them again as something else someday!

But, this time around - I really wanted to make up something fun for the loooooong car trip to Colorado! I did not want to spend anything, yet wanted it to be fun and cute for the little ladies. Here is what I came up with:

First, I papered the outside of the containers with scrapbook paper. I added some old hem tape and a chip board letter - all done with hot glue.

I painted the tops of the lids with chalkboard paint and the insides were papered with more paper. Then I glued a felted sweater cuff to the inside of the lid - it does two things. Inside the cuff is a package of crayons and two pieces of chalk. Under the edge of the cuff are some felt shapes with velcro on the back that can be attached to numerous velcro squares on the outside of the box.

The box is filled with little things I had laying around the house: paper, a roll of Scotch tape (my girls l-o-v-e tape!), stickers, little pom pom balls and a sock puppet. My mom always had a bag of toys that were reserved for long road trips and one of my favorite memories is playing with the hand puppets in there. We would wave at the people next to us, etc...

I just took a pair of socks (pink for the pink lover in the family whose name begins with "e") and some notion scraps. (Angie, will you forgive me for using these as puppets?)

The kits will include a copy of this little lap book - isn't it cute?!

Another favorite thing of mine to do in the car is play BINGO! I know the girls are kind of young for this concept, so I just made a picture Bingo game for them. I think we'll just put stickers on top of the pictures as we find the items.

I am interested in hearing your best ideas for entertaining little ones in the car for long periods of time. I look forward to filing these away for our next trip!

27 comments:

Ginger said...

How fun! I especially love the picture bingo. I can't wait to hear how they did with their boxes. I hope you will let us know.

Michelle said...

Your boxes are so cute! I love how you put so much love into things for your children... they will remember that when they are adults, I'm sure!

We've made the drive several times from Florida to Connecticut and back. We actually have a DVD player in the car, which helped to pass a good chunk of the time. The kids were in their glory to be able to watch mindless movies and cartoons, but I did not feel great about them watching tv for hours each day (each way consisted of 2 12-hour days of driving).

This time of year you can probably entertain them for a while just singing Christmas carols. You could also borrow some books on tape (picture books) from the library, or even tape yourself reading favorite books with a signal to turn the pages. Once on a trip to Maine, my son (about 4 at the time) spent a good hour absolutely silent as he stuck a huge sheet of teeny tiny dot stickers all over his body and carseat. He also put some on the van window, which we probably needed a razor blade to get off later, I don't remember. LOL

Have a great trip!

Heather said...

I love your creative ideas, Monica! The girls will love their personalized travel boxes!

Christi said...

Very cute idea, Monica!

Paige said...

WOW, how cute!
We've never been on a drive longer than 7 hours, so I've not needed to do a lot. We used to have a TV w/ VCR in the van, but I took all that out just over a year ago. Now I give them each a clipboard with paper, and a ziplock of assorted coloring pencils and crayons. We do have the little chalkboards from Dollar Tree and Chalk also. Tape is a great idea, what is it with kids and tape? We listen to music, have long talks and learn to be quiet during these drives. A good child rider is a blessing to it's mother and father!
P~

Katy said...

So so cute Monica! I love them and I bet the girls loved using them on the car trip to CO!!! :) I hope you are having a lovely time! :)

asnipofgoodness said...

That is really crafty!! I'm afraid we use the dvd option, but our trips have never been that long. We have on occasion played the license plate game. That is to find as many states as you can. We usuallly work together. On the way to Hilton Head you can find several, especially at Christmas time.

Bridgett said...

very cute! & a great idea. We have little bags we take that our filled w/books, color pages,etc. I like the sock puppet idea.

Grace said...

Ok totally copying some of these ideas. once again your brain never ceases to amaze me. I hope you are there safe and sound.

Amy said...

Those turned out so cute, Monica! I love them!

LynnMarie said...

WOW great idea and perfect for the long drive! Have a safe trip and I sure know that the girls will have fun!

Jenn said...

Those are too, too cute!

angie said...

Forgive you...? I am delighted that ordinary socks became entertaining pupppets!
These containers are so creative, and could be used for so many things in the future.
I'm trying to think of games we play in the car, but they are all age-appropriate to my 9 and 6 year olds.
Could you stash away some small gifts given at Christmas for the car ride back home in January?
Angie

Diana said...

That is the best idea! You are so clever.

Monica said...

These are great ideas!

In the past on long car trips we give each kids a binder with special activities and treats.

We include an itinerary of our travels. There are maps to mark, pictures and games printed off the internet. I try to make these relevant to where we are going. There are some writing prompts. A plastic pocket with colored pencils or crayons. Last summer I found small containers of playdough with clips that attached right to the binder rings. It was just enough to keep their hands busy, but not enough to make a mess.

Of course we do get some special movies and books on tape to listen to from the library. Adventures in Odyssey can make car trips go really fast, also.

Davonne said...

I LOVE THESE!!! I want you to sell them! You still have seven containers ... :-)

As far as ideas, I do something similar to what you did, but not as fancy. Everyone gets goody bags (including the adults!) filled with snacks and activities. Each person only gets one bag, and when it's gone, it's gone. Knowing that helps small travelers learn to ration out their items. We have family night on Tuesday nights, and when we're going out of town (it has to be more than 4 hours each way), we will usually spend a family night assembling these together before we leave. It makes much of the stress and time off me, so I am able to do other preparations I need to do. We don't use a TV in the car and I really like it that way! We talk, nap, play, listen to music, etc.

I've also heard people say they'll buy dollar store toys and hand a new toy back to their kid about every 45 mins or so, and it keeps them entertained the entire trip.

I'd love to hear about other travel ideas of yours!

Home School Dawn said...

This is sooo clever!
We play picture Bingo, too. We have a USA Bingo set and use mark those card by the states on license plates we see.
Also, we are avid bird watchers and keep an on-going nature journal. They draw pictures of birds they spot, surprising how many you can identify from the car, or trees, plants, etc. We have Les Beletsky's Bird Songs book which they can read/listen to for hours. We also take good books on CD with us. My boys' fav are the Jonathan Park creation science series.

Tim, Allyson, Emahry, and Jonathan said...

We've not done this with our children yet, but my husband and I alway play the alphabet game in the car on long trips. You can play together or make it a competition. Look for words on signs, bumper stickers, etc. that begin with each letter starting with A. Make sure you go in order. X is difficult, just hope you're in a part of the country that has Xtra Gas stations :)

Julie said...

The longest car trip we've ever been on is four hours, but little attentions spans are, well, little. This is a great idea I'm going to try to adapt to our situation.

RT said...

I can remember my mom doing this same thing! Livia loves tape, too. Must be a little girl thing, right? I have to mention that she stuck a pom-pom in her nose at preschool recently. Quick trip to the doctor and all was well. Kids!

Christine said...

I love these! How cute are they!?!

bluebonnetstopeaches said...

What a great idea! We also have a looong car trip next week and I just LOVE the idea of playing bingo in the car! Thanks for sharing!

Mrs Smiley Joe said...

What a wonderful idea!!! Thanks for sharing and inspiring!

Dawn said...

Very cute idea and you did a wonderful job on them.

I have taken a cookie sheet and then made magnets for them. I did have some magnet strips but I also used old magnets on the fridge or sometimes you can find them at thrift stores. I went to www.makingfriends.com and did paper friends with clothes. You could do like different seasons and ask what you would wear to go outside in the winter etc. There are so many things that you could just design yourself or even just print characters online (we did Arthur and friends) you could do story characters then read the book for them to follow along.

You can also do this with felt. If you cover a sturdy piece of cardboard (like you did the inside cover) then just glue either build characters, or house parts or flower parts etc. together with felt. They stick really well. You can also print things on line and just glue them to the felt.

tenthingsfarm said...

Those are really smart and adorable! Our little one sleeps a lot on car trips so far, but we always bring some of her music, lots of books, some wee pads of paper and crayons/chalk/pencils, etc. We play 'I Spy', except I just tell her what I saw, because she's young.

I live just a few miles east of the Springs...I hope we can welcome you with good weather!
Laura @ tenthingsfarm

Amanda said...

What a fantastic idea! I love the picture bingo and the sock puppets. I will have to add those to our collection of car activities!

...they call me mommy... said...

SUCH A GREAT IDEA, MONICA! :) YOU ROCK, WOMAN! LOL! :P