Keep kids and tweens off their screens and occupied on long summer road trips with these DIY travel games for kids. Make a patriotic travel tic tac toe game, plus check out other boredom busters you can make for long car and plane rides.
I love a summer road trip, but keeping my kid entertained within letting him binge on electronics can be a challenge.
I’m so bored…
To keep boredom at bay and to help keep the peace in the backseat on those long car rides, I’ve rounded up some DIY travel games for kids from other bloggers. Plus, I’m including instructions for a portable magnet tic tac toe game that I first shared last year as part of the Today’s Creative Life Celebrate Summer series. Kim has some fabulous ideas to make this summer the best ever!
This DIY Tic Tac Toe Travel Game will keep them occupied for a little while. Plus, it’s magnetic, so the pieces won’t spill all over the backseat of your car. That’s a must when it comes to travel games for kids!
Because it’s portable and self-contained, this game is great to take along anywhere you might have to wait, like the doctor’s office.
My son and I have an ongoing tic tac toe tournament this summer. and so far he’s beating me big time. (I think I’m in third place, behind our “cat” tie games!)
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To make your own travel tic tac toe game, you’ll need:
- a small, magnetic metal box
- scrapbook paper
- double-stick tape
- wooden stars
- flat-backed marbles
- white craft paint
- decoupage glue
- miniature magnets
- E-6000 glue
- adhesive vinyl (optional)
- washi tape (optional)
Any kind of small metal box will work, as long as it’s magnetic. Check the craft store or the hardware store or yard sales. Or better yet, repurpose something you already have. The box I used once held computer thumb drives.
Cut a piece of blue cardstock to fit inside your box to serve as your tic tac toe board.
Draw on the tic tac toe grid with a white paint marker. Or use thin washi tape, full-sheet sticker labels or adhesive vinyl, cut to size, to mark your playing area. Use double-stick tape to secure the cardstock into the metal box.
To make your playing pieces, paint six wooden stars with white craft paint. (You’ll use five stars for playing and one to keep score.)
To make the other playing pieces, apply a thin layer of decoupage glue to the backs of six flat marbles. Glue onto patterned scrapbook paper. I used a red-and-white striped paper to fit with the July 4th theme of my game.
Allow the decoupage glue to dry and then trim away the excess scrapbook paper. Apply another layer of decoupage glue to the flat side of the marbles, on top of the paper, to seal.
Once the paint has dried on the stars and the decoupage glue has dried completely on the marbles, glue miniature magnets on the back of each playing piece.
During this step, make sure you space the magnets and playing pieces an inch or so away from one another. Though the magnets are small, they’re powerful. If you get two magnets too close together, they’ll attract one another and pop right off the playing pieces.
For this reason, you must use a strong glue, like E-6000, to ensure that the magnets stick to the playing pieces .(If you use hot glue, the magnets may pull off the playing pieces, even after the glue has dried.) Be sure to let the glue dry completely before playing the tic tac toe game.
If you like, decorate the outside of the metal box with washi tape. For my patriotic game, I used red, white and blue patterned washi tape.
The star washi provides a great way to keep track of how many games each player has won. You could also put number stickers on top of the box for scorekeeping.
If you have small children, please supervise them when they’re playing with the travel tic tac toe game. Magnets and marbles can present a choking hazard, and magnets can be dangerous if swallowed.
Here are some other DIY travel games for kids to get you ready for your summer road trips:
Travel Coloring Case from Fresh Family Meals
Printable Road Trip Bingo from Meander Coast
DIY Travel Dice Game from Making Nice in the Midwest
Road Trip “Would You Rather” Game from Landeelu
Road Trip Lego Building Tray from Mama in the Now
Road Trip Travel Binder from Carla Schauer Studio
I’d love for you to check out these other fun kids’ summer activities. (We’re kinda nuts for tic tac toe and patriotic crafts!)