Friday, July 6, 2012

Dollar Store Travel Games

There is nothing that can scare a mom quite like the thought of a 2 week, 9 state, 3,000+ miles road trip with 3 kids.  All that time in the car. All those snacks. All of the "are we there yets". What is a mom to do? Get the hot glue gun out of course.

I used games and a puzzle from the dollar store, some magnets, a magnetic dry erase board and a few other items to make 2 games and a puzzle that were worthy of being passed around in a car and brought a little bit of entertainment between several state lines.

It was easy! Here's how I did it ...

I bought a checkers game and snakes and ladders game at the dollar store along with a 48 piece puzzle. 

Using magnets that I already had (you can find them at Michaels) I hot glued round magnets to the bottom of all of the game pieces. I used a magnet roll (also available at Michaels) and put strips on the back of the game boards making sure not to cover the creases where the board folds for storage. I also used the magnet roll to cut small pieces to put on the backs of all of the puzzle pieces. I did try to keep the magnets as close to the middle as possible for the puzzle pieces. 

Fortunately for me I already had a magnetic dry erase board that was the perfect size. If you don't have one in the house you can pick one up at Wal-Mart or Target for around $6. 

If you've read my blog before you won't be surprised to know that I kept each game and its pieces in a ziploc bag. Talk about a space saver. 

Since I didn't want the dice for snakes and ladders rolling all over the place in the car I put them in a clear plastic bowl with a lid. I used a recycled bowl from a yogurt treat but you can use anything as long as it's clear on the top or bottom so you can see the dice. I also used two dice instead of one. Sometimes snakes and ladders can go on endlessly. With two dice it seems to go a little faster. I prefer to play 2 or 3 short games rather than 1 endless game.

Of course we had other forms of entertainment for the car as well as for our many destinations. I'm not a big "movie in the car" mom so that wasn't one of them. We did have lots of books including early reader books for our 6 year old. I'm happy to say that she reached a new milestone in her reading ability and began reading silently to herself. Hooray for summer reading! We also had packs of pipe cleaners that I picked up from the dollar store, stickers and paper, a new coloring book and box of crayons for each girl, fun pads, cheap cookie sheets for each girl to use as a writing tray (they're great because things can't roll off), a really neat travel memory game from Amazon and many other things. I didn't put it all out at one time but rather offered something new when needed. 

The games have definitely become a staple in the car for trips or anywhere we have to sit and wait. Since I feel guilty every time I hand over my smart phone for our 6 year old to play games on I'm thinking magnetic tic tac toe would be great also especially when we are at a basketball or soccer game or even a track meet.

If you're planning a road trip I hope this comes in handy. It definitely helped us pass the miles. Do you have a different travel game idea? Something that worked great for your family? If so please share with the rest of us in the comments section.