Skip to Content

Road Trip with Kids – DIY Busy Tray

Sharing is caring!

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #GetPackin #CollectiveBias

“Are we there yet?” As a parent, you expect to hear this question a million times when you embark on a family road trip. If you manage to keep it under a million, you pat yourself on the back and mark the trip as a success. This is what I was hoping for last year, during our first road trip as a family of four. I armed myself with a busy box filled with great  travel games and toys, I wrote down a detailed travel plan and guess what? It worked. We reached the destination with no meltdown, which is a real achievement, when travelling with a 2-year old and a 3-year old.

Road trip with kids - DIY busy tray. Use it as a snack tray, drawing tray, magnetic tray and chalk board. | at Non Toy Gifts

If you haven’t any family road trips planned for this summer yet, let me help. Enter below Mondelez Road Trip #GetPackinSweepstakes  for a chance to win road trip weekly prizes and a grand prize! (Sweepstakes is from 6/27 to 7/24). I’ll also assist you with tips and tricks for a successful road trip.

Because our first road trip to Chicago was a hit last summer, the kids asked to go back this year and we couldn’t say no. Chicago is one of my family’s favorite cities and a 6-hour drive isn’t that long, when you know how to properly plan ahead.

The busy box I used last time will be the first on my packing list. All the travel games and toys have been waiting quietly in the storage area for a new road trip and I know the boys will get excited to see them again. This time around I’ll also add a new element: a multi-functional DIY busy tray that is inexpensive and really easy to make.

Road trip with kids - DIY busy tray. Use it as a snack tray, drawing tray, magnetic tray and chalk board. | at Non Toy Gifts

Materials: old cookie sheet, paint, chalk paint

Road trip with kids - DIY busy tray. Use it as a snack tray, drawing tray, magnetic tray and chalk board. | at Non Toy Gifts

Step 1: If you don’t have any baking sheet that you can use, start with a trip to a thrifty store. Make sure to get a rimmed baking sheet. I found a tray with handles that was just perfect for this project.

Road trip with kids - DIY busy tray. Use it as a snack tray, drawing tray, magnetic tray and chalk board. | at Non Toy Gifts

Step 2: Paint the front and sides. It will take several coats of color.

Road trip with kids - DIY busy tray. Use it as a snack tray, drawing tray, magnetic tray and chalk board. | at Non Toy Gifts

Step 3: Use chalk paint for the back.

This may look like a simple tray but it serves so many purposes. You can turn it into a drawing tray. Use fridge door magnets to keep the coloring pages in place. Because the tray comes with a rim the crayons and markers won’t fall on the floor.

Make sure to check out this link for free printable road trip games for kids, like road trip bingo, scavenger hunt and more.

Road trip with kids - DIY busy tray. Use it as a snack tray, drawing tray, magnetic tray and chalk board. | at Non Toy Gifts

Use it with magnetic games or magnetic letters and numbers.

Road trip with kids - DIY busy tray. Use it as a snack tray, drawing tray, magnetic tray and chalk board. | at Non Toy Gifts

Use the back of the tray as a chalk board. I know what you’re thinking: chalk is messy and you don’t want this in your car but have you tried liquid chalk markers? (The chalk in the photo below is just regular chalk, while the chalk markers come in dustless rich colors)

Road trip with kids - DIY busy tray. Use it as a snack tray, drawing tray, magnetic tray and chalk board. | at Non Toy Gifts

Last but not least, this DIY busy tray makes a good snack tray.

Road trip with kids - DIY busy tray. Use it as a snack tray, drawing tray, magnetic tray and chalk board. | at Non Toy Gifts

Because yummy snacks are on both kids and parents’ road trip lists, here are a few great choices: HONEY MAID TEDDY GRAHAMS Graham Snacks, OREO Mini Cookies, BELVITA Chocolate Sandwich Breakfast Biscuits and SWEDISH FISH Soft & Chewy Candy.

Road trip with kids - DIY busy tray. Use it as a snack tray, drawing tray, magnetic tray and chalk board. | at Non Toy Gifts

Another trick to our successful first road trip was frequent stops. It took us longer to reach the destination but it made it more bearable for both the boys and us. Every two hours or so we would stop at a playground or mall for about 20-30 minutes so we can stretch and kids play for a bit. This time around we won’t stop as often but for lunch time I’ll still make sure to choose a restaurant that has or is close to a play area.

What else would you take along on a road trip with kids, besides good travel games, toys and yummy snacks? I’d really like to hear what tricks you have up your sleeve.

Before your next road trip go to Walmart to get those delicious snacks I mentioned above as well as many more. Make sure you look for the coupon booklets (They include coupons for RITZ Cracker Sandwiches, BELVITA Sandwich Breakfast Biscuits, SWEDISH FISH Soft & Chewy Candy 1.9 lb. bags and TRIDENT Unwrapped Gum). You can also shop online for great product variety packs.

walmart

PIN IT:

If you're planning a road trip with kids, make sure to make this DIY busy tray. Use an old backing sheet and paint it in bright colors. Turn the back into a chalk board. Use the busy tray as a magnet tray for magnetic games, letter and numbers, drawing tray as well as snack tray. | at Non Toy Gifts

Sharing is caring!

Sharon

Tuesday 30th of August 2016

You can tell that the chalkboard paint was applied with a brush. No matter how steady your hand is or how easy you are with loading the brush, the effect will be a bumpy writing surface. Instead, try flat black spray paint. Evenly cover the bottom of the pan. Then tape of the bottom and brush paint the rest with a glossy paint. The gloss will stick better, and the chalkboard will have a nice, smooth surface for drawing.

Amber

Wednesday 10th of August 2016

I make something called Busy Bags. I use those pencil and pen pouches for binders and I make one bag for each hour to 2 hours depending on the age of the child. I either put the bags together with binder metal clips or zip ties. Then I usually make snacks that are healthy just because my daughter likes fruit and veggies and greek yogurt for snacks. She also gets to watch a PBS or Sprout TV show every couple hours as a treat. I love this tray idea. Thank you for the idea.

Stef

Wednesday 10th of August 2016

Amber, what a good idea to use binder pouches and turn them into busy bags. I'll have to use it on our next road trip.

Samantha K

Thursday 30th of June 2016

We are going on a road trip in a few weeks with 3 kids. This is a great idea! (client)

Comments are closed.