Summer Road Trip #2: DIY Travel Games

Hi again from Washington!

We’re loving the site seeing and family visits, but that trip home is just around the corner. And come Saturday, we’ll be breaking out our el cheapo Thrive-friendly travel games to keep those kids entertained all 14 hours.

But instead of spending money on travel games at the store, I cheated (and you can too!)

Want to make your own?

For these travel games you’ll need:

And a quick copy/paste from google of your favorite board games. I printed mine out back to back and then lamenated them for good messure.

This is so stinkin’ easy.

You can use any magnets you have on hand–circles, magnetic tape or even the cheapie magnets that come with the phone book–to both hold the game boards in place and make the game pieces.


Chutes and ladders + magnetic tape game pieces + regular dice instead of a spinner. The lip of the cookie sheet keeps the dice from rolling away.

Yahtzee is easy with laminated sheets, markers and dice.

Connect Four + circle magnets.

Monopoly with magnet tape used for markers …

… and houses and hotels.

Money is recorded on paper and real estate / community chest cards are kept in check with little pig tail rubber bands.

And everything stays neet and tidy in a little coupon organizer or zip lock bag.

And the best part (besides being practically free) is how quick clean up is: boards and games pieces store easily on the cookie sheet …

… and everything fits easily in the back of the seat.

Done and done.

So have fun making your own travel games for road trips or just around time.

Wish us fun on the drive home!

39 thoughts on “Summer Road Trip #2: DIY Travel Games”

  1. How awesome! Monopoly could kill some serious time :). As always, your post has sent my mind a-spinning (in a good way 🙂 ) with other magnet/cookie sheet ideas. Good job!

  2. What a great idea! How fun for your kids to have those games in the car. There's no way you could play those games in the car if you didn't make them the way you did!
    Why to rock what you got!

  3. i just found your blog and i have to say, i'm SO inspired. rock-what-ya-got is going to be my new motto! i've really felt the need lately to focus more on our savings and be a little wiser with our money. just reading through your blog has helped me to see there's a lot of fun to be had for very little. thanks for sharing!

  4. Awesome idea. Most of our friends have now got portable dvd players for long trips but I am absolutely resisting … this will give another great option when I Spy runs its course.

  5. I so needed this a couple of weeks ago when we went on vacation. Great idea. 🙂 Would love to have you link this up to my {wow me} wednesday link party going on right now over on my blog.. if you haven‘t already. Hope to see you there. {I'm a new follower.} 🙂


  6. Brilliant! I love how it is magnetic on a flat surface…the cookies sheet is perfect! Connect 4 is a favourite with my kids! This is far more economical than buying the travel size games in the store! Terrific idea! Angie xo

  7. What a great ideal; I have a special needs son who needs lots to keep him occupied when traveling and this will be a perfect answer to having to me looking at car magazines with him for 4 or 5 hours at a time, thanks for sharing.

  8. Monopoly should be pretty fun. For extra interest, you can modify the rules a little bit to freshen things up. Furthermore, when you consider the number of spin-offs they made you can probably find a monopoly board that could be road trip themed! (Or make one of your own; to add a family-touch to it.)

  9. I would love to know what website too! Not finding any luck printing them like yours (mine are small and blurry). Help! 🙂

  10. This is such a great idea. I am going to be taking 3 kids on a 12 hour car trip next year and am going to try and make these. I looked up the images but am having trouble finding a decent size. They are all too small and if I enlarge they become blurry. Can you share the links that you used and what sizes yours are because yours look great. Thank you.

  11. I love love love this idea! I have only one child, who is 5. Any ideas on how to make this work for her? I can't sit next to her, and it'd be a tough reach from the front passenger side of the truck to do this with her on the road. There must be a way though….

  12. you could simply adapt to different games that don't require two players. You could call out bingo from the front seat until she gets a winning card. You could use her favorite things on the bingo cards. If it was candyland, she could move your piece for you and you could have your own die in the front. Maybe you have your own board in front and copy each other's moves, like when people in different cities used to set up 2 chess boards and send their moves through the mail. You could also make magnetic paper dolls or a scene like the old colorforms sets, she could do that alone.

  13. Anyone ever find out where to print these from? Would love to make some as we are leaving for a LONG trip on the 20th!!!! Such cool ideas, but I cant find anything that I can print them from. THX for any help!

  14. I love these ideas but would not use a cookie sheet or anything metal. In an accident or sudden stop, this can become a dangerous projectile due to the force. Better to use a plastic tray with 1 or 2 full page magnet sticker sheet attached. (Just check polarity so they don't repel the magnetic game pieces.) Also you could copy your own game boards from home using a scanner.

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