5 Crafts Kids Can Do in the Car

Years ago, tablets and portable devices were seen as a great way to entertain children on long car trips. Now that these same devices are being used so frequently outside of the car, parents are looking for ways to keep children entertained while traveling without the screen. We want to help!

The following is a list of five crafting activities that can be completed by young children in the car. They are almost mess-free and can be gathered days, or minutes, before you leave for your trip!

1. Needle Crafts

Kids love lacing/needle crafts and they are easy to take with you anywhere. What I like about them is that it is very little mess. The only thing your child will need is colored yarn, safety scissors, plastic craft sheets, and a lacing needle (also plastic). Yarn pieces, or lint, can be hand removed from the seat/floor or vacuumed away easily when you return home.

2. Sticker books (and pasting activities)

Sticker books are a craft-like activity that is appropriate for children age three (and up) to do in the car. These books can be ordered or picked up in the book section of any store. They require no preparation on your part.

Children older than five may enjoy pasting pre-cut shape activity pages. (Example: pasting five shapes together to make an animal.) They are similar to sticker books but require more skill and are more puzzle-like. You can print them free from online sources or purchase kits from teacher (or book) stores.

3. Handmade Cards

During long trips to visit family, children can utilize their excitement to create cards for loved ones. Not only will this activity keep them busy, but it will also be seen as a thoughtful gesture later. Prepare card packs by placing one piece of card stock inside a plastic bag. Add a sheet of stickers, markers, pre-cut art, decorative paper, ribbon, and a glue stick to the plastic bag. Place card packs inside a repurposed (and decorated) cereal box for protection while being stored under your set or in backseat storage baskets.

4. Paper Dolls

Paper dolls can be prepared in advance or along the way during your trip. How much preparation you put forth before you leave depends on the age of the child and their preference. If your child is more artistic and less into pretend play, print your clothing on black and white pages. If your child enjoys playing with dolls, print colorful paper doll clothing and cut it out in advance.

5. Fingerpaint in a Bag

Fingerpaint in a bag is a great activity for toddlers and preschoolers to do in the car. Squirt several colors of paint on a piece of cardstock or recycled cardboard. Slide into a large (gallon capacity) plastic bag and close. Insert into another plastic bag (opening end first) to prevent child from coming into contact with the paint. Since no air enters the bag, the fingerpaint in a bag can be prepared in advance of your trip and set aside (flat) until you are ready for use.

Notes: I have also seen parents use duct tape to keep the bag closed as an added measure of protection, OR duct tape the entire plastic bag onto a piece of cardboard that is slightly larger than the bag.

What craft will you try with your child first?

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