Road Trip Activity Binders


If you had seen yesterday’s post, you might have read that our little family decided to drive halfway across the country. With so many hours riding in a van, I wanted to give the boys access to some things to do that weren’t electronic. I put together two types of binders-one is suitable for a toddler, while the other type works well for prek-early elementary.

The Toddler Activity Binder


As most people know, a two year old’s attention span is about as long as a 30 second commercial. I knew I had to have a variety of activities, and be prepared at a moments notice to quickly switch them out. I also didn’t want to give the binder directly to the toddler, because they tend to dump everything in two seconds.


The pouches I used were large plastic mesh bags found on Amazon. They originally didn’t have holes, so I used a simple grommet kit to install three on each pouch. This way, I could keep them all together in a binder!

Here’s what was in the binder:

-A magnet book
-A doodle pad and crayons
A magnetic bead maze
A turtle shell shapes game
-Look-and-Find Books
Lacing Shapes


The activities went over well, but like I expected, had to be rotated quickly. Squish was happiest when he was being fed snacks, and watching Team Umizoomi. By the way, his “table” is a baking sheet. The baking sheet was hard to keep on the seat, so my husband had the ingenious idea to screw in some ottoman feet into the bottom of the tray, and the feet sat snugly into the car seat cup holders. GREAT idea!

Early Elementary Travel Binders


I could get a little more creative with the older two boys, but I have one reader and one pre-reader, and activities still had to be self-lead without adult help. I used the zip around binders so that things were less likely to fall out. I found pencil pouches at the local dollar store, and added labels to each one so the boys knew what went where.

Here’s what was in their binders!

-Dry Erase Activity Book
-Magnet Playset
-Doodle Pad and Crayons
-Playdoh (I had cut a small plastic cutting board to make a playmat)
-Travel Spirograph
-Small Toys-“Wooly Willy”, Calculator, Small Mazes and Pinball (party favor aisle)
-Cardboard Castle with Cardboard Figurines
-A Small Puzzle
-and for my Paw Patrol lover, I made him a special Paw Patrol playset

My boys also love to look at maps and follow along with our trips, so I made them maps of our routes, laminated them, and they could follow along with a dry erase marker!


The activities went over well with the boys, and they enjoyed trying everything. Here’s a tip though. I went over the binders BEFORE we left, and had the boys practice taking things out and putting things away, since I would not be able to help them in the car. Once the boys had them in the car, they knew how everything “worked” and were excited to get to it!


I’m so glad I took the time to prepare these binders for the kids. The activities were great distractions when the trip was getting long, and I was able to tailor it to each child’s specific likes. Binders like these are easy to keep in the car, or even grab a pouch or two out and take them into a restaurant or doctor’s office to keep the kids busy during long waits!

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