Cheap Thrills

A couple of weeks ago, we had to take a looong car ride with BK to visit family. Car rides and toddlers can be a bad mix. So, I decided to make some quick car-friendly activities to bring along.

I made these during his nap right before the trip, so they aren’t beautiful, but they did the job!

Lacing cards:

  • You will need:
  • Cardboard
  • Scissors
  • Yarn or a Shoe Lace
  • Pencil and marker
  • Something to poke holes with

Gather your materials, I used the tabs from a cardboard box to make mine.

Lightly draw whatever shape you want your picture to be and make dots every few centimeters. You don’t want to add too many, because you want to keep the cardboard sturdy.

Carefully poke holes in the cardboard. Make sure not to bend the cardboard. Make the holes big enough for little ones to thread a lace through. I poked a hole with a pen and then widened them with the blade of my scissors.

Normally you’d be done here, but I didn’t have shoelaces with plastic ends, so I cut my yarn to the length I wanted and covered the ends with hot glue:


Sandpaper Letters:

You will need:

  • Cardboard
  • Light grade sandpaper
  • Paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Scissors
  • Glue

Cut out the number of cards you want to make. I made four. (A, B, C, and D) Then trace the cards onto your sandpaper for size and paint each square (I did red and blue, one for vowels and one for consonants)

(I did this a little backwards because I was rushing. But I’d suggest painting each square first, and then lightly drawing the letter on, once the paint has dried. I drew the letters first and then just painted the sandpaper and cut the letters out freehand)

Once dry, cut the letters out carefully, and glue onto the cardboard!

Mine look a little rough because, again, I was rushing during nap time, and I used the cardboard tab off a diaper box. I had to rip some glue off, which is why the B is a little messed up. However, if you want to make yours more durable, I’ve heard you can buy flat wooden chips at the hardware or craft stores. (You can also buy these letters in Montessori shops, but hey, we’re being frugal here!)

Colour Matching Clothes Pins:

You will need:

  • Paint chips (2 of each colour)
  • Clothes pins (the alligator kind, not the pegs)
  • Cardboard
  • Scissors
  • Glue

Start by gluing your paint chips onto the clothes pins.

While those are drying, glue your second set of paint chips to a piece of cardboard.

(if you’re a little anal, like me, trim the paint numbers off)

Once they’re all glued and dry, cut them out!

Write the name of the colour, if you like, and you’re done!

These activities, along with some books, colouring, dvds, and small toys, helped make the trip go much faster! These were also helpful at restaurant, to keep him busy. I think he’s still a bit young for some of these, but he enjoyed trying. I found pipe cleaner worked great for the ‘lacing’ activity, because he’s still a but small to figure out the yarn, but pipe cleaner is stronger and he enjoyed putting those through the holes.

Hope you found those tutorials fun and helpful!