Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Road Trippin'

We are about to embark on our longest road trip yet with our 4 and 2-year-old.  To say I'm a tad nervous is a huge understatement.  Our kids are not car kids.  We live in a suburb with every store we could ever want to shop within 5 minutes from our driveway.  They just aren't used to having to sit still for long.  Since we've known about this trip for months, I've been planning and preparing to combat the roadtrip boredom as much as possible.  Since I have half a million things planned, I wanted to make sure to document them somewhere for future reference.  And, since there are so many, I'll highlight a few ideas across several posts.  I sure hope these are helpful for you!

The first thing I wanted to tackle was some sort of work station for the kids in the car.  They both love to color and draw, and I knew they'd need a lap desk of sorts.  I found several desks for sale online, but none of them get great reviews.  We use cookie sheets around the house a lot for puzzles, magnetic dolls, etc. so I felt like that would work best.  Another plus is that they have edges to prevent things like crayons from rolling away while driving down the road.  I grabbed 2 (make sure they're not aluminum - you want them to be magnetic so they're more multi-purposed) and spray-painted the backs in bright colors the kids would enjoy.  These magnet board desks became the inspiration for tons of road trip activity ideas.

First up, Magnetic Me.
I saw a few versions of this idea floating around Pinterest and knew my kids would love it!  I started by printing 5x7 close-ups of the kids' faces and mounting them on sticky-backed 5x7 magnets.  I covered the tops with clear contact paper to protect the images.  Then I perused the Internet for all sorts of fun and silly accessories.  I found great free printables here, here, here, and here.  I resized them based on the photos (these are all life-sized since they're made for photo booths), and printed them out on these 8.5x11 printable magnetic sheets I found at Hobby Lobby.  Before you run out to grab them, I must say that they are not the best quality.  I found several other brands online (Avery and Staples) that get better reviews.  These smudged pretty badly even though I let them dry overnight before cutting the shapes.  My fingers were coated in black ink while cutting, and the kids got pretty messy after playing with these for a few minutes.  But the concept is great, and the product is very easy to use.  Just make sure you only put one magnetic sheet in the printer at a time as they'll jam since they stick together magnetically.  Also, make sure to print a Hobby Lobby coupon.  These were $6.99 for 3, and I used my 40% off coupon.  So the project total was under $5!
After cutting out the shapes, the kids got to work.  I only let them create for a few minutes before tucking these away until the trip.  But they had a great, giggle-filled time!  Such a fun project.  Hope you enjoy!

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