Use a dollar store cookie sheet, magnetic tape and a puzzle and you've instantly got an activity to keep your kids busy in the car!

Driving in the car.  We’ve all been there.  Screaming, crying kids in the car.  I think it’s pretty safe to say we’ve all been there too.  I remember growing up and driving to every. single. vacation. we went on.  I grew up in Utah and we drove to California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Colorado, Wyoming, Arizona and Texas.  (It wasn’t until I was a senior in high school that we finally took our first plane ride to Florida.)

Me and my two younger sisters shared the backseat, so inevitably we started arguing or fighting about something or other.  “Mom, she’s touching me!”  “I need to go to the bathroom!”  “Stop looking at me!”  “You’re breathing on me!”  “I’m bored!”  “Can we get out yet?”  We got tired of our books and games within an hour or two of the drive and the rest of the time was spent asking the ever-popular: “Are we there yet?”
Fast forward to today.  There are seemingly endless options for staying busy in the car on long trips, from portable DVD players to handheld games to iPads.  But what about the times when you want your child to do something with their time that doesn’t include electronics?

I was talking to a friend the other day and she mentioned that when they took their most recent roadtrip to California, she bought a dollar store cookie sheet for each of her kids, a roll of magnetic tape and let her imagination (and Pinterest) take it from there.  It got me thinking about some ideas for my own kids and what I could do with a cookie sheet and a roll of magnetic tape.

Which leads me to today’s project: magnetic puzzles.

I was at the dollar store over by all the Disney/Marvel stuff and saw a couple of 24-piece puzzles in a metal tin.  The metal reminded me of magnets so I grabbed on for each of my kids, along with a couple of cookie sheets.  When I was at Walmart later that week, I bought a 10-ft roll of magnetic tape for $3.50.

Use a dollar store cookie sheet, magnetic tape and a puzzle and you've instantly got an activity to keep your kids busy in the car!

Making the puzzle was super simple.  First, I built the puzzle to make sure all the pieces were there (sometimes you never know with the dollar store).

Then I took the first piece and held it up to the magnetic tape to see what size it needed to be.  I cut the magnet, peeled off the tape and stuck it on the back.  Most of the tape didn’t need to be cut down, which made it pretty quick to make.  I got both puzzles done in about 15 minutes.

Use a dollar store cookie sheet, magnetic tape and a puzzle and you've instantly got an activity to keep your kids busy in the car!

Use a dollar store cookie sheet, magnetic tape and a puzzle and you've instantly got an activity to keep your kids busy in the car!

And there you have it!  The pieces can be stored in the original metal tin they came in and the cookie sheets are small enough that they won’t take up too much space in the car should you choose to store them in there.

*Caution: the cookie sheets can get pretty hot if left in the car so be careful.

Share your travel hacks for kids in the comments!

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