If you’re planning a road trip or flying with young or elementary age children, you are probably thinking about ways to keep them busy during the long hours.
A DIY kids’ travel binder is a great way to provide fun activities and free printable travel games that will keep your children occupied for hours. You don’t have to be crafty or special supplies; a travel activity binder for children is easy to make!
I have four children and we’ll be heading out on a long road trip to North Carolina to visit Grandma and Grandpa soon. It’s over 800 miles away from our home in New Hampshire and we’ll be on the road for a good 15 hours or more.
This is far from our first long road trip with the kids before – we’ve had some great trips and others that were honestly terrible, so I have a few tricks up my sleeve.
The Kids’ Travel Binder
This year, I made a kids’ travel binder for each of my children. It’s simple, yet cool and filled with fun road trip activities and printables that will keep them busy and happy.
A DIY kids’ travel binder is easy to make (no “craftiness” required) and the best part is you can add whatever activities you’d like.
Plus can reuse it again and again for future trips!
I’ll show you how to add an attached marker and holder so your kids won’t lose their markers in the dark crevices of your vehicle!
You’ll also find a huge list of free printable road trip games and activities from more awesome bloggers and sites below.
What You’ll Need for a Travel Binder
- 1/2″ binder with a clear pocket in the front (I found 6 at BJ’s for $8)
- heavyweight sheet protectors
- 1 dry erase marker per kit *dark colors work best
- craft cord (I found a shoelace-type craft cord at Walmart that works great)
- hot glue gun & glue sticks
- decorative mini duct tape
- map of the route you’re traveling through Google Maps or other software
- free printable travel activities
How to Make a Kids’ Travel Kit Binder:
I made a free printable cover for your kids’ travel binder.
Click here, then save.
If you choose, you can upload it to a photo editing site, like PicMonkey, and add your child’s name to make it fancier. Or you can just hand write it.
Insert this cover into the front of the binder.
Now we’ll make the simple holder for your child’s marker.
Cut off a 2-3 inch section of the decorated duct tape. Cut a small 3/4-1″ section of tape and add to the middle of the long piece’s sticky side.
Do this again for a second piece.
Using the dry erase marker as a guide, attach the tape to the middle top of your child’s travel kit binder.
Add two pieces of tape to the sides – this adds extra strength to the marker holder.
Now, cut off about 2.5 feet of craft cord (you’ll need enough cord to comfortably reach around any pages in the travel kit binder.)
Tie one piece to the top of the dry erase marker. Hot glue this in place.
Tape the other end of craft cord to the marker holder.
And you’re done with the attached marker and holder for your travel kit!
Free Printable Road Trip Map Activity
The free printable map activity is my favorite part of this kids’ travel kit binder. It’s perfect for elementary-aged kids on up because they can follow along as you travel.
It’s a great way to teach kids how to read maps in this age of GPS too! Plus you’ll hear far less “Are we there yet?” with this simple addition.
I plan on including destination maps in my younger children’s binders too (Joshua (age 6) and Luke (4)) because I know they’ll still enjoy it.
Kids can trace the route with the attached dry erase marker and they’ll love seeing the progress you’re making.
I recommend going a step farther and plan out your route including stops so your kids can see exactly how far between stops.
Go to Google Maps or some other map program and map out your route and stops. Then save and print out pages, depending on how long your trip.
Our trip has 5 pages for each way – 5 for traveling to Grandma and Grandpa’s house and 5 for traveling home. I uploaded each page to PicMonkey and added stars to mark where our stops with a big star for our destination.
This simple activity alone will make your trip easier!
Last, but not least, print out activities for each of your children, depending on their ages.
There are tons of free printable activities for kids out there. Here’s just a few that we found and will be using.
Free Printable Travel Games & Activities for Kids:
- Travel iSpy for Kids (Free Printable game)
- 50+ Travel Games and Printables – a HUGE selection of activities, including fun facts for each state, bingo games, drawing tutorials, mazes, matching games and more.
- Travel Scavenger Hunt
- 7 Printable Travel Games – travel battleship, travel car search, connect-the-dots, hangman, license plate game, tic tac toe, and a scavenger hunt
- 2 Road Trip Printables – word search, mazes, tic tac toe, and a great “All About My Trip” printable to fill out on the way home!
- 5 Free Games to Play in the Car – these printables are beautifully illustrated – car bingo, alphabet game, consequence, car search, traffic jam and more
- Road Trip Scavenger Hunt – for preschoolers on up
- 13+ Free Printable Car Games & Activities – bingo, lines and dots, tic tac toe, scavenger hunt, battleship, sing along songs, string game instructions, license plate games, travel tickets (for good behavior), a “how much farther” idea, and more!
- 25+ Free Printable Car & Travel Games – Word searches, crosswords, coloring, scavenger hunts, hangman, bingo, connect the dots, and more
- Printable Mad Libs
- 5 Vacation Activity Travel Pack- (scroll down the page) – beautiful license plate game printable, bingo, alphabet eye spy, US map to color, memories)
- 4 Free Mazes
- Summer Vacation I Spy Game
- 4 Free Printable Drawing Prompts – these are so cute and great for kids of any age!
- 5 Travel Games – Construction Equipment graph, Things that Go, Slug Bug, & License Plate Printables
- Dr Seuss Cootie Catcher
- Restaurant I Spy
- Disney printables – coloring pages, printable memory games, activity pages, and more
- Printable Pinwheels
- 3+ Summer Writing Prompts & practice
- 7 Road Trip Activity Pack – scavenger hunt, story starters, I Spy, bingo, great number race, how many do you see?
Your kids might also love this super easy-to-make DIY Travel Coloring Kit!
This handy travel binder can’t make the miles disappear, but it can help make the trip go faster and smoother for the whole family!
More Road Trip Tips:
- How to Take a Road Trip with Kids & Not Go Insane
- 11 Tips for Traveling with Baby
- 49+ Brilliant Ideas for Enjoying a Road Trip with Kids