Monday, April 8, 2013

5 DIY Travel Activities Made from Upcycled Materials

When you travel with kids you need to pack things to keep them entertained.  Yes, most airlines have in-seat entertainment and most kids seem to have access to some form of electronic entertainment however there are times when some good old-fashioned games are just what is called for.  Take for instance our last family flight that had us on the plane for an extra 7 hours.  Even the best batteries start losing their juice in situations like this one.

These fabulous activities are all portable and upcycle old items in your home making them environmentally savvy and inexpensive.  They are perfect for throwing into your hand luggage to ensure you have something fun to pull out at any time during your trip.

DVD Case turned Travelling Checkers or Chess:

This fabulous checkers game from Handmade by Stacy Vaughn is adorable.  Made from an old DVD case, felt, buttons, some velcro and glue, this game will be fun to make and even more fun to play.

Photo & Instructions: Handmade by Stacy Vaughn

How about a chess version?  My son recently learned to play chess and this would be a big hit with him.  you can leave it in the car so you always have a quiet game ready to play when there is a wait.

Photo & Instructions: Handmade by Stacy Vaughn

Altoids Tin turned Magnetic Tic-Tac-Toe:

The size of an Altoids tin is perfect for travelling and makes it's own convenient case to keep Tic-Tac-Toe pieces altogether.  The metal case is magnetic so your pieces won't go missing or slip around if you encounter turbulence.

Photo & Instructions: Canadian Family

Altoids Tin turned Magnetic Travelling Tangram Puzzles:

Don't put those Altoids tins away yet!  Delia Creates shares her DIY for a travelling Tangram Puzzles.  If your brain works like my brain then this activity could take up A LOT of time.  Simple to make, this project once again utilizes an old Altoids tin to keep your shapes in order.

Photo & Instructions: Delia Creates

DVD Case turned Colouring Kit:

Also from Handmade by Stacy Vaughn comes this travelling colouring kit made from an old DVD case. Paper clips in on one side and pencils, markers and pens are safely kept on the other.  This would be great for keeping score too!

Photo & Instructions: Handmade by Stacy Vaughn

CD Case tuned Travel Mazes:

I love these mazes from Bloesome Kids because they could be ever changing.  By taking old CD cases and creating mazes using either fimo or wiki-stix the kids have new games to play every time you travel.

Photo & Instructions: Bloesome Kids

Old Containers & Wood turned Dice Games:

There are a million games that can be played with dice but playing them in a moving vehicle can prove challenging. Cardigans and Curriculum's idea to put dice in a tiny container which can be shaken with the dice inside to keep them from getting lost is brilliant.  No more searching under the seats for that illusive die that got away.

Photo & Idea: Cardigans & Curriculum
Sweeter than Sweets had a dice game that incorporated emotions and animals which kids would then act out to help them understand the different emotions.  While this may be a bit rowdy for a plane or public space,  I thought it would be fun to use the same dice but instead use them as story starters.  The whole family could get in on the fun by rolling the dice to create anew story starter each time.  Simply use old cardboard or small pieces of wood to create the dice and write whichever words you want.  Throw them in a container as seen above and you have a great travel game!

Photo and Idea: Sweeter than Sweets

I hope your travels are plenty and your delays are kept to a minimum.  In any case, we've got your fun covered!


  1. This is awesome. Nothing is better than home-made board games. There's no need to buy them if you're crafty and have some wood, cloth, paper, etc, around the house.

    1. Thanks for dropping by. Board games are perfect for all families and if you can make them yourself, all the better! Sunday night- family game night is still one of my fondest memories from growing up.


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