Out of Road Trip Activities?
Try these DIY Magnetic Puzzles
Are you headed out on a road-trip? Are you looking for something other than the iPad to occupy your young kids but are out of fresh ideas? My boys are four and two and I am the first to admit that they are not the best car travelers (yes I cringe at the thought of long road trips). We will be driving to Victoria BC and seeing some of what Vancouver Island has to offer, so I was looking for some new creative ways to keep them occupied.
Mattias, my four year old is a talker. He will talk your ear off in the car. Last night, as we drove home from his first Whitecaps game in Vancouver, he talked about a stinky skunk smell for 45 minutes. “Why was the skunk crossing the road?” he asked after we told him a skunk had probably been hit by a car, or at least scared by a car and sprayed its no-so-nice scent all over the street.
My answer, with a little chuckle, was “to get to the other side” (of course). But while my husband and laughed to eachother, Mattias replied, “but, what was on the other side?” and so began our conversation about skunk families and why this skunk was not in the forest where he should have been.
As the conversation continued, Mattias, who is always surprising us, as most four year olds do, told us so matter-of-factly that we needed some tomato juice to get rid of the stink! We had no idea how he knew about tomato juice being a go-to for skunk spray, but he processed to elaborate. “In Paw Patrol, Mr. Porter got sprayed by a skunk ”¦” It all becomes clear now! It”™s amazing what kids learn from watching cartoons that they can apply to real world situations! “”¦Rocky feeds the skunk peanuts and Marshall gets Mr. Porter some tomato juice so he will not stink.” He finished.
Because Mattias is such a talker, sometimes we are honestly just looking for things to keep him quiet (yes the iPad works for that, but I try REALLY hard not to use the iPad in the car, unless we really, really need it).
To keep the boys quiet on our trip, I created these easy, DIY… magnetic puzzles for each of them. The great thing about these puzzles is that you can make them age appropriate. I went to my local Dollar Store and grabbed a cookie sheet, a puzzle, some magnetic tape, and 2 boxes of flashcards. I lucked out that they had a superman matching game (the boys love anything superhero). All of this cost about $7 and I still have lots of cards left over for the matching games. If you already have a cookie sheet with 4 sides, you can skip buying one (mine has flat sides, we tried it out, and Matti”™s snack went flying. So I went out and bought him one with 4 sides).
Cut up the cards depending on your child”™s age. For Mattias, I cut the cards into 4 pieces. He probably would have been ok with 6. But having multiple puzzles on the cookie sheet, the last thing I wanted was for him to find it too tough! For Markus who just turned 2, I just cut the flash cards in half.
The point is to match them up, completing the puzzle. You can also do this with a puzzle itself (I did buy a puzzle, but it was 18” tall and didn”™t fit on the cookie sheet! So take a look at the dimensions when you grab the puzzle and make sure it will fit with room to put the pieces beside it as well!)
Take a dime size piece of the magnetic tape and put it on the back of the cards, then arrange them on the tray! Voila! You have a new puzzle matching game for the car and the pieces will not go flying!
You can also use the tray for snacks and coloring, as the crayons will not roll off! You can get letter magnets as well and kids can have fun rearranging the letters! For us, puzzles are something Mattias enjoys, so this made a great addition to our road trip packing list!
What is your favourite road trip activity or craft for your kids? Let me know in the comments!
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Lindsay Nieminen hails from Vancouver, Canada and shares her love of travel on this website. She is passionate about showing others that they should not put off traveling the world just because they have young children or are single parents. She aims to encourage them to seek out adventure, whether it is at home or abroad by providing information on how just about everywhere can be a destination to explore as a family.