In our modern world where anyone can simply Buy a Car Online, easy crafts and other projects to keep kids occupied during traveling sometimes seem unattainable. On those long trips when the kids are tired (and bound to ask "are we there yet?" about a million times before you get five miles down the road from your house), car crafts can keep their little minds entertained and cut down on the stress for everyone.
Whip up craft project supplies ahead of time and pack them in individual plastic bags. You need to be sure that the projects you choose have no small parts involved (they'll go missing at that first bump in the road) and are practically mess-free. Portable lap trays are a must for car crafts, so make sure every child has one.
Coloring books and stickers are easy projects for the road. Pour all your household crayons into a bucket (big ice cream tubs are perfect for this) and set the bucket on the car seat between the children who will be sharing. They can reach in and choose their own crayons and color on their lap trays. Stickers are great because all you need are a few sheets of stickers and a pack of construction paper.
To make the sticker activity a true craft, cut long strips of bookmark-sized construction paper or cardstock and punch holes through the tops prior to the trip. Pack them along with the stickers and crayons or washable markers. You can even pack ribbons and allow the kids, if they are old enough, to try their hand at adding the ribbon on their own. This is a great project for young kids and older siblings alike.
A terrific portable craft project is a potholder loom. These come in kits so all the supplies are covered in one purchase. You can show the kids how to do the project before leaving on your trip and make it a game to see who can make the most potholders for Mom during the car ride.
If you don't mind cleaning up after a small mess, play dough is very portable. Opt for bringing several containers of play dough but only have one color if your kids tend to fight over things. The mess is easy to clean up with a few wet wipes, which you'll probably have on hand anyway and any completed sculptures can be stored away in plastic bags.
Save empty paper towel rolls and let the kids decorate them with stickers and markers during the trip. Once completed, they can use them as toy telescopes to look out of the windows.
Teenagers may enjoy using knitting ring looms. Although this would require a few lessons before the trip, knitting looms are portable and can be used just about anywhere. Think of them as the advanced version of the potholder looms. If your teen is particularly fond of crafts, needlepoint, embroidery, crocheting or knitting are all easy to do on a long car ride. Just be sure to pack all supplies and instructions ahead of time.
Road trips don't have to be stressful or boring for kids. A little extra planning and preparation will go a long way in keeping them occupied and happy.