Road Trip Survival with Kids {14 Ideas to Keep them Busy and Happy}

Road Trip Survival with Kids

I thought some of you might be planning road trips with your children this summer and thought I’d put together a list of fun activities you can do to keep the kiddos happy.

We have taken countless road trips with our children- usually ranging from 2-10 hours long. My girls are 6 and 7 now but we have been taking trips regularly for several years now. Our first big trip was a few years ago when we drove from Sacramento to Palm Springs and then to Disneyland. That was a loooonnngg haul and I planned and prepped and made huge car kits for the kids with Disney themed treats and games and coloring and toys.

Big mistake!

To this day we still have crayons in the little rails of the car and puzzle pieces and other things that are too small to vacuum out and get lodged in to make me absolutely crazy. I see lots of activities with crayons and legos and such for kiddos on pinterest and I do want to warn you that I don’t allow any small pieces in our cars anymore. Not after the great car trashing of 2012 courtesy of Mom’s lovingly packed car kits.  I think some of these things are still really cute and worth making for the hotel room and such. Or maybe your children are not as messy as mine and you will have much better luck :)

These days I tend to roll with lots of snacks and again things that don’t crumble into 8 million little crumbs in the back seat. We like licorice, sliced apples, mini pretzels- (the entire pretzel goes in your mouth not like chips where little people bite it in half and a shower of crumbs hits the seat), peanut butter sandwiches, lemonade and so on.

The main entertainment for the little people is usually the DVD player.  Most people have DVD players built into the car but we actually have an old school portable DVD player.  The girls each pick one or two movies before we leave (they must agree on it so plenty of time is allowed for this major decision) and on a super long trip I might stop at Redbox locations along the way to get something new we haven’t seen before.

And since there are two kids and Mommy and Daddy don’t necessarily want a Barbie movie marathon, we have this little splitter  that allows two sets of headphones to connect to the DVD player and everyone is happy.

So here are some fun ideas for keeping the kids busy this summer:


1. Portable Lego Kit

2. Road Trip Snack Kit

3. Easy Car Organizer for Kids

4.  Activity Trays- made with Cookie Sheets — note:  we usually stop at a Dollar Tree on trips and might pick up a few little pool toys or something.  You can grab black posterboard for $1 and make something like this for the kids to play with in the hotel room too.


5. Road Trip Pillows

6.  Printable Car Games– Scavenger Hunt, Bingo and more

7. Mad Libs

8. DVD Coloring Case



9. Road Trip Behavior Clips

10. Play-doh Muffin Tin Activity

11. Matching Activity for Toddlers


12. DIY Travel Activity Kit

13. Countdown Arrival Activity

14. DIY Car Pulley System– for snacks and activities

And if you are staying in a hotel with a microwave, this little soap cloud is a very fun thing to make for the littles.  They will LOVE playing with this in the tub!

ivory cloud

And here is a simple idea we did last summer when visiting Grandpa Joe.  There weren’t many toys at his house, but we did make this sprinkler which the kids had a great time with!

Homemade Sprinkler for Kids- from a 2L

How to Create a Summer Journal for Kids

Summer Journal for Kids

Summer is finally here for our family.  My children seem to get out of school so much later than other parts of the country.

The first project I wanted to do for summer was to create a summer journal.

I wanted to make a journal for a few reasons- the first is obviously to keep them writing all summer.  I have a 7 year old and a 6 year old and both of them definitely need the practice writing correct sentences, practicing spelling and so on.

The second reason is because we really do quite a bit with our children.  They get to go on a lot of trips, camps and other activities that I certainly didn’t get to participate in when I was a kid.  So if Mom and Dad are shelling out tons of money on these adventures and taking the time to plan things out, I really want the girls to reflect back on the experiences they have.  😉  Hopefully by taking a minute to write about their activities they will appreciate things more and we will have a great keepsake to look back on.

Lastly, it is just so fun to see the things that resonated with them.  We recently went on a trip to Lake Tahoe and did a ton of things that day but what my 7 year old remembered most was a special rock she found on the beach that looks like a strawberry.  Such a little thing and I never would have remembered that myself.

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Children’s Artwork Keychain {Perfect Keepsake}

Children's artwork keychain

I have a fun project for you today that is so simple (and I think) really adorable.  This would be a perfect summer craft with the kids or make these as gifts for Mom, Dad or the Grandparents.  I think they are really adorable and such a cute little keepsake.

We wanted to make these for Dad and they turned out so cute, my girls are going to make one for Grandpa this year for Father’s Day.

You can easily put the kids to work labeling all the keys in the house with these- mailbox, spare key etc… or these keychains would also be very cute for them to make for their friends as a little tag to hang off a backpack zipper.  I can already see my little girl drawing out BFF with rainbows and such for her friends.

Buy necklace chains instead of keychain hardware and these would be adorable little necklaces or charms for bracelets.

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Free Summer Reading Log Printables and Activities

Free summer reading logs for kids

With many children getting out of school in the next couple of weeks, I wanted to post these free reading logs.  You can choose from several different printables and activities to encourage summer reading. I love the scavenger hunt activity!

Hopefully these creative ideas will keep your kids motivated to read this summer.

Here are several options:

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Chapter Book Suggestions for Girls 6-9

Chapter Book Suggestions for Girls 6-9 years old


Since we are so close to summer vacation I thought it might be nice to put together a list of chapter book recommendations for those of you with little girls.  Obviously many of these books will certainly work for boys too.

I have a 6 year old emerging reader and a 7 year old reader and the difference between the two is so dramatic.  Usually we don’t see chapter books until second grade but my Kindergartner absolutely loves to read so we have stared with chapter books a little early.

My second grader on the other hand, has struggled with reading and we have had an uphill battle with her reading until the end of First Grade when she started reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in class.  That book started to turn a corner for her as she was really excited for reading time each day and would rush home to tell me what happened to Charlie.  In the summer between 1st and 2nd grade we took a trip to Universal Studios, Florida and started reading the Harry Potter series.  That has really made a profound difference for her as she absolutely loves the books!  We are on book 4 now and she looks forward to reading time every single night.  She is still excited about the stories and although I do the majority of the reading to her, I am thrilled to see she is  discovering how magical books can be.

So if you have an advanced reader, hopefully many of these suggestions will appeal to them and if you have a struggling reader don’t give up!  I can’t even begin to say how frustrated I felt (and still do) but I think the key is to just keep trying different things until you find the book that finally clicks for your child and opens up the magical world of reading for them.

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End of Year Signs for Kids

End of Year Signs for Kids

Hard to believe that summer is almost here!  I know some parts of the country are already getting out of school- we still have about 4 weeks left until summer vacation.

If you have little ones that are finishing up with school, here are a few free printable signs you might like for last day of school photos.  You can simply print these or they are very cute framed with your child holding them up.

Here are my little cuties holding their first day of school signs– it is so fun to look back and see how much the kids have changed over the school year.

1st day of school FL rice krispies 212

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Children’s Fingerprint Painted Pots – Perfect Gift Idea

children's painted pot

A few weeks ago my 5 year was grabbing her normal mile high stack of books at the library and one of the books she popped into the cart was this darling Fingerprint Book from Ed Emberley.

ed emberley

All the ideas in the book about how to draw a monkey, caterpillar, tree etc.. with children’s fingerprints were so adorable I really wanted to do some sort of keepsake craft with my girls.

So finally I came up with an idea to do a spring potted plant as a little gift idea for the Grandparents. This was so easy and so inexpensive- it would be a really fun idea for a Spring party or class project or Girl Scouts activity.

Painted pot

To start I bought an inexpensive pot from the home improvement store- just a plain terra cotta pot and I believe this was about $1.00 or less.

Next I took some yellow spray paint I had on hand and painted it a cheerful yellow. Any color would work perfectly though- green, blue, white or you might even leave the pot unpainted.  For older children it would be fun to do an ombre pot with maybe really light blue at the bottom and darker blue at the top.

I only painted the outside of the pot but it is probably best to paint the inside and outside.  I read recently that moisture can go through a terra cotta pot painted on the outside only and cause the paint to bubble.  I haven’t had that experience with pots I have painted in the past but just a little tip to consider.

painting our pot

After two coats of spray paint and a day for dry time, we just sat outside with several dabs of paint and the Ed Emberley book and my 7 year old chose what to paint. I put a bunch of color options on a paper plate for her to choose from and then we used a second paper plate to practice the design and after the practice round she dipped her thumb in and added the color to the pot. The trick is to get just enough paint on the thumb so it isn’t a smeary blob on your pot. You also want to take care to completely wipe off fingers in between color choices so there isn’t any blending.

We used assorted acrylic craft paints I had on hand. If you are off to buy new paint for your project, look for patio/deck/outdoor paints.  Those will have lasting power on your pot.  The price at the craft stores is usually $.50-1.00 for paint so not an expensive investment at all.

painting a pot

It looks kind of strange because you will just have dots all over the place but once you have finished all the artwork, set the pot aside to completely dry. I had mine outside on a sunny day so it was dry within about an hour.

thumbprint pot

I sat down after it dried completely with a fine point sharpie marker and added in all the lines to create the actual drawing. We did little birds, butterflies, flowers a tree, a snail, sunshine… so many cute little things for the pot. I am definately not an artist but anyone can draw two little straight lines for feet and a beak or little swirls to make a snail shell. It really is so simple and the book will actually show you step by step how to draw in the lines.

On the backside she wrote her name and the year. Oh and that is a little frog you see below.  So cute right?

painted pot

And you are done!  You can put a little plant inside- I went back and forth between an herb for my kitchen and a succulent and decided on a succulent.  For potted herbs it would be cute to have the child write the name of the plant on the front (i.e. Rosemary) and then decorate around that.

Please note if you plan to keep this outside where it will be wet you will want to spray the pots with a clear poly coat or a terra cotta pottery seal spray  to be sure the paint stays on and doesn’t wash off or fade.

You can find those types of sprays at craft stores or home improvement stores.

And if you try this project please come back and let me know how it goes for you!  I’d love to see your masterpiece :)

Here are a few other fun projects to consider:

How to make colored rice

How to Make colored rice- fun alternative to sand!

how to make bouncy balls for kids

Homemade Bouncy Balls 

homemade puffy paint

How to Make Puffy Paint 


Quick and Easy Rainbow Treats for Kids

Rainbow treat bags

Have you seen these adorable little rainbow treat bags for children? There are lots of variations on these and they tend to be super popular around St Patrick’s Day.

I didn’t intend to post these- I actually happened to be in charge of a treat for my Kindergartner’s class today and we went through lots of lots of fun ideas and this was the one she was most excited about.  They turned out so cute I couldn’t help snapping a few photos this morning and thought I’d post them for you as well.

These are so easy to do and would be perfect for Girl Scout meetings, party favors, soccer treats, class parties…. and best of all these are easy for the kids to help assemble.

I love things like this for little people because it is easy for them to take home (unlike cupcakes or doughnuts) and it is pretty much mess free for the teachers.

Originally this idea came from Disney’s Spoonful- they always have adorable ideas.  I saw the image and pinned it ages ago and now I can’t seem to find it again to give you a direct link.


But I figured it out pretty easily without exact instructions.  Here is what you need:

  • Twizzlers Rainbow Candy – I found Family Size bags at Target for $2.00
  • Mini Marshamallows
  • Party Favor Bags- 25 for $1.99 at Joann’s
  • Ribbon
  • Gold Coins or Rolos (optional)

So the bags of Twizzlers come with equal numbers of colors inside so you can make several complete rainbows.  I meant to count the number of rainbows inside and then completely forgot but I can say we got 25 rainbow bags out of 4 bags of Twizzlers and had ample Twizzlers left.  I would say you can probably get about 7 rainbows from each bag as my best guess.

To make 25 bags of rainbows I used one full bag of Jet Puff mini marshmallows plus about 25% of a second bag.  I was generous with the clouds though so you could probably get away with just one bag.

  • Start by separating the candy into a rainbow with red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple.
  • Make sure the ends of the licorice line up and gently fold into a rainbow shape.  It is hard to shape the candy and keep all the colors showing- I thought the purple was the least pretty so I sort of shoved that toward the back as I was bending.
  • Next stuff it into your bag where it should fan out into a U shape.
  • Pop a few marshmallows into one corner of the bag and then the opposite corner.
  • And you are all done!

I tied the top with yellow ribbon we had on hand although green might be more festive for St Patrick’s Day.  Yellow is my daughter’s favorite color so I went with what would make her happy.

Rainbow Treats for Kids

As I was stuffing these I did the licorice in the center first in the hopes that would sort of help keep the marshmallow clouds separate on each end of the rainbow.  They will likely get mixed up together at the bottom but don’t worry because they still look adorable.

I think these would be even cuter with one Rolo or one chocolate coin tucked into a corner for the pot of gold but I didn’t think about that until I was halfway into assembly.  Next time for sure 😉

And then you will have darling little treats for the kiddos and I bet they love these bright, happy little treats!

I know for sure I’ll make these again- probably as soccer snacks.  I do have to say the Twizzlers weren’t very good to me.

And I happen to love Rainbows, if you do too- here is more Rainbow inspiration:

rainbow fruit cups

Rainbow Fruit Cups

How to Make Rainbow Brownie Bites- perfect for parties!

Rainbow Brownie Bites (perfect for a bake sale!)

how to color tennis shoes

Rainbow Tie Dye Tennis Shoes