Here is our round up of 5 nifty DIY travel activities for children that will keep the kids entertained on your next travels.

1.  Make a Treasure Bottle

Image courtesy of

Kids of all ages love a treasure hunt and you can still have one sitting down in the car!   Just fill an old drinks bottle with rice or sand and pop in several pieces of treasure for them to find and identify without opening the bottle and tipping the contents out.  Ideas for treasure might be:

  • an old button
  • a coin
  • a toy ring
  • a marble
They’ll have great fun shaking the bottle about and trying to spot and identify the hidden treasure.

2.  Magnets and Baking Trays

For a really quick and simple DIY activity for toddlers in the car grab a load of fridge magnets and a baking tray before you set off and you’ll be amazed.  Children just love playing around with these.

3.  Word Bulls and Cows

Those of you who know us will know we are advocates of word games and pencil and paper games and this game comes from a site that does what it says on the tin – Pencil and Paper Games.   We love this game Word Bulls and Cows.   It’s like the mastermind game where you try and guess the sequence of colour pegs, but with words.  By its nature it is suitable for older children.   One person thinks of  a 4 letter word and the Guesser tries to guess it.  The first player marks the Guesser for any correct letters as follows:

  • The number of Bulls – letters correct in the right position.
  • The number of Cows – letters correct but in the wrong position.
Here’s a little example using the word CASE.
Guess = PACK, score = 1 Bull, 1 Cow
Guess = PACE, score = 2 Bulls, 1 Cow
Guess = BASE, score = 3 Bulls
Guess = CASE, score = 4 Bulls
There are variations, strategies and plenty more games here on the Pencil and Paper Games website.

4.  Every Picture Tells a Story
Cut out pictures from an old magazine or comic and put them in a bag.  Take it in turns to pull a picture out and tell a story linking the images up.  One person could keep time and give each person about 15 or 20 seconds to add their bit to the story.  Imaginative, fun and a great one for children and adults of all ages.

5.  Kid Clips

Courtesy of

Not exactly an activity but a great strategy for encouraging good behaviour on long trips.  I first stumbled across this thanks to a post on Arrows Sent Forth’s blog.  You can read about it in full on the Less-Than-Perfect Life of Bliss blog but essentially create your own pretty clips from craft materials and pegs before your next journey and keep them handy in the car.  If the children are behaving well reward them by praising them and placing one of their pegs on your visor.   If behaviour goes downhill you can use the pegs as a bargaining tool.   Simply remove them from your visor.  No peg means no treat.  The treats might be a stop for a play at a park, a snack (healthy of course!) or their turn to choose the music you are listening to.  Just adapt to suit your own needs!

Do you have a favourite DIY game to play in the car? Please share it below – we’d love to hear.

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3 Responses to 5 DIY Games to Play in the Car

  1. Awesome list and great tips. Thanks for sharing

  2. Elinor Wilde says:

    Love these tips – we play a variety of games in the car – we allocate different points for spotting certain colour or makes of car. In traffic jams we do arithmetic sums with the number plates. We always fall back on some good old favourites – Guess the animal/job/famous person I am thinking of with only yes/no answers allowed.

  3. [...] picture tells a story. This game is another simple one you can play in the car. I found it on All you have to do is take a pair of scissors and cut interesting photos out of magazines. Put [...]

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