Monday, April 23, 2012

5 DIY Travel Activities

I have missed blogging! There has been a lot of stuff going on in our lives recently, but I wanted to share some great travel ideas that I have been pinning and then putting together. We are going on not one, but two long flights in May and June (one is 7 hours and one is about 20! Eek!) and we are going on not one, but two road trips in July and September (one is just the next state over, the other is an 8 hour drive if you don't stop. Again I say "Eek!"), so it was time for me to get my crafting hat back on and start creating some easily transportable, re-usable, multi-purpose activities, for Boogie in particular.

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This first project is my premiere into the wonderful world of chalkboard paint. Not gonna lie, didn't shake the can as often as it said to. There are definitely some clumps and splotches. But, all in all, it came out pretty well! I saw the idea for a chalkboard book on Whip Up, courtesy of Regina from Creative Kismet. It is pure genius. Hers has activity specific pages, but Boogie is too young for that kind of structure. When he is older, I will add a tic tac toe board and a hangman board and things like that. I bought a giant board book at a consignment sale for $1, got chalkboard spray paint with a 40% off coupon from Michaels, used sandpaper to de-gloss the pages, gesso paint to prep the pages, and a white scrapbooking marker to write the title. I don't know why "chalkboard" and "book" aren't capitalized. Some English teacher I am! This was the most expensive idea so far because I didn't have everything on hand, but even so, it did not cost much at all!

Next, is a quiet flip book that I saw on Artsy Fartsy Mama.  She sells both a sewable or printable pattern for the book that she made, but her people are boys and girls, and I wanted just boys for Boogie. I used some of her ideas, and some ideas that I knew Boogie would like. I printed out a bunch of people that I liked online and used different parts to create a body that I liked, traced it 10 times, and free-handed the outfits based on pictures I liked online.

Here are the 10 people I came up with:

If you can't tell, they are a farmer, a construction worker, a knight, a football player, a doctor, a fireman, a superhero, a train conductor, a policeman, and a pirate.

I thought this would be super easy to put together but because I am always in a rush, I messed up with the measurements several times and it took me ages to get everything uniform so it could be a proper flip book. I used crayons and markers for the people, laminated them, then used a hole puncher and binder rings to put it all together. You have to fuss with it a little to make the men line up perfectly, but it works. If you can afford it and have the time, I highly recommend purchasing Lindsay's template and following her instructions for sewing it. With that said, here is a sample of how a mixed up man could look. I think Boogie will enjoy it, even though it is by no means perfect! this is a great activity for discussing occupations and increasing vocabulary. It is also kind of a way to talk about the idea of "what doesn't belong" and having fun with it (ie- use a football player's head on a fireman's body and see if Boogie knows what doesn't belong on the man).

This next idea is so simple and frugal, I am sure you will all love it! I saw it on Tons of Funs and changed it a little bit to include some skills we are working on with Boogie. All you need for the simplest form of this activity is a mayo or jelly container with a slit in the lid and popsicle sticks. I also used sharpies to label the sticks with letters, numbers, and shapes. It's hard to see in the pictures, but each colored popsicle stick (bought them colored from the dollar store) has an uppercase letter on the top and a lowercase letter on the bottom, but if you flip it over, the uppercase letter is on the bottom and the lowercase letter is on top. My thought is we can spell his or his brothers' names using an uppercase letter first, then the lowercase letters after by flipping the sticks around. We can also work on patterns with the colors. For the number sticks, on one side I wrote the number (in 10 different colors) and on the other I drew 9 different shapes (I used circles twice) in the correct amounts and colors. So, I can ask Boogie, with just one popsicle stick, "What is this shape?", "How many are there?", "What color is the shape/number?", and "What number is this?" Not bad for a free activity that also combines his love for dropping and dumping.

I just saw this idea on Toddler Approved recently and immediately knew that my elevator button pushing little boy would love this. To include some extra skills and to hopefully increase the amount of time he spends playing with it, I used colored label stickers, and did letters and numbers. Otherwise, this uses the same materials that EJ did- cardboard, large googly eyes, hot glue, and labels. Googly eyes have enough give that you feel like you are pushing them but they retain their shape. I used the 20mm ones, and the circle labels that fit on dot marker pages fit on them exactly. I think EJ might have used the 28mm size. Another fun thing about this is when you move it around you can hear the eyes. I think Bam Bam will enjoy the sound. I might make him a smaller version without the stickers.

Speaking of Bam Bam, I have been gathering a few things for him as well, but this is the first thing I made for him for the trips.

I used a needle and thread to make a "snake" out of 10 different colored large pom poms. I cut a hole into the top of an icing container. Bam Bam can push the pom pom snake through or (carefully, since it seems to hurt the pom poms) pull the snake back out. I used the different colors so I can start using color words with him more often and so Boogie can "help" and "teach" him colors since anything one of the boys is playing with is the coolest thing in the room (or car...or plane...for TWENTY HOURS). You know that empty chocolate chip bag in Bam Bam's treasure basket? Boogie totally confiscated it. You know why? Because Bam Bam loved it. Stinker!

I have a number of other things I am working on (did I mention one of the flights is TWENTY HOURS?!!? ONE WAY???!!!), so I will probably do at least one more post on this topic. And I am buying several things as well. So maybe I will do a cumulative post with all my ideas when they are ready to go.  No promises, but that is my plan.

For other great travel ideas, you can check out my traveling board on Pinterest.

Linking up to these great parties!


  1. Oooh, I love these ideas! That flip book is so cool! I will definitely be doing that next time we take a trip! I'm going to pin this post too! Thanks so much for sharing at Teach Me Tuesday!!

  2. Fun activities! We are used to the long car trips, but I haven't flown with the kids before. I try to throw in some creative activities like these, but I'm not gonna lie either...I do NOT hesitate to break out the electronics when things get ugly in the backseat, LOL!

  3. LOVE your book! It turned out great! Thanks for the shout-out :)

  4. Love these ideas... long trips are the pits! Thanks for sharing it with us at tip toe thru tuesday! Hope you'll stop by and link up tomorrow too, we will be having a nice Mother's Day giveaway!

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  6. love your idea..esp the flip book. haha my baby sister would surely enjoy it..i will make one for her ;) thanks a lot!!

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  10. great ideas I plan to use! I made a chalkboard book some time ago, and glued the last 4 or 5 pages together. I cut out a square in the middle, and with a couple of glued-on velcro dots have a built-in chalk storage area!


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