7 Road Trip Activities to Keep Your Toddler Busy for Under $10

7 road trip ready toddler activities under 10

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It was important to Cameron and I to do something fun with Cami this summer because it was going to be our last real opportunity for it to be our little family of three.  Now that I am 26 weeks pregnant I can no longer travel by plane, so that limited our choices to places we could go to: 1. a road trip 2. somewhere close enough that we could travel with a toddler in the car together without killing each other! This weekend and throughout the 4th of July week we are headed to South Padre Island and I am thrilled to be spending time with the family on the beach.  What I am not thrilled about is the 6-hour drive that it’s going to take to get there!  A few weeks ago our family traveled to Austin for a wedding which is about 2.5 hours from Houston.  Cami whined, cried, and fussed a good portion of the way there.  This time I am set to be prepared to keep her mind and hands busy with these 7 super easy toddler-friendly DIY road trip activities.

7 Road Trip Activities to Keep Your Toddler Busy for Under $10

7 Road Trip Activities to Keep Your Toddler Busy for Under $10

The #1 most important part of any road trip is to have great snacks!  For our trip to South Padre my snack game is strong! I took a trip to Walmart to stock up on RITZ Crisp&Thins, Sunkist® Soda, and Sour Patch Kids which is sure to satisfy my pregnancy snack cravings and my husband’s “sympathy” cravings.  Having great snacks on your road trip is important because it will cut down on the number of stops you make along the way not to mention, having your favorite snacks makes for a more enjoyable time.  Share your summer road trips and enter the sweepstakes for a chance to win $3,400 in gift card prize packs!

For your toddler-friendly road trip activities, all you need are these 6 things that will cost you less than $10 (most that can be found at a dollar store).

7 Road Trip Activities to Keep Your Toddler Busy for Under $10

  • Pipe Cleaners
  • Colorful Buttons
  • Clothes Pins
  • Colorful Popsicle Sticks
  • Pom Poms
  • Magnetic Tape

1.Pipe Cleaners in a Can Activity

bertuzzi-photography-009-13This is an awesome activity to help your toddler fine tune their fine motor skills.  In order to make this road trip activity:

  1. Get an empty chip can and poke 5 holes in the lid.  I used a leather hole punch that worked like magic to get clean holes.  If you don’t have one, a screw driver will do the trick!
  2. Cut each pipe cleaner in half.  I found that the pipe cleaners were longer than the can, so I cut them in half.
    bertuzzi-photography-010-15With this activity, your child will simply push the pipe cleaner through the holes.  To make it even more of a challenge, you can color around each hole on the lid with colors that match to colors of you pipe cleaner and have your toddler slide the pipe cleaner through the hole of the same color.

2.The Magnet Board Activity


You can take this road trip activity to so many different levels!  With a simple $1 cookie sheet you can have so many activities with out the mess of little pieces every where in your back seat.  For this I purchased a foam puzzle, magnetic circles, and a magnetic alphabet set at the dollar store.

  1. Purchase a puzzle with fewer pieces.  You can use foam pieces like I have here or the standard cardboard puzzles
  2. Use your magnetic tape and cut into small strips
  3. Adhere the sticky part of the magnetic strip to the back side of each puzzle piece
    bertuzzi-photography-016-11 Your child will be able to put together a puzzle on the magnetic board.  Another great thing about the cookie sheet is that it can sit in your toddler’s lap as a hard surface to color or draw on or act as a tray to eat on.

3.Pipe Cleaner Jewelry Activity


For this road trip activity I used pipe cleaners and a foam hair roller set that I found at Walmart.

  1. Remove the plastic clasp out of each roller
  2. Cut each foam roller into different sizes

Your child will then slide the foam pieces onto the pipe cleaners and create jewelry to their heart’s content!  I also thought about doing this with fruit loops to make a snack out of it!

4.Buttons in a Cup Activity


For this road trip activity I purchased these colorful snack cups at the dollar store.  They came in packs of two.  The buttons I purchased at Walmart and came in an assorted pack with all of the same colors as my cups #winning!

  1. Cut slots on the lid of each of the cups.  I enlisted Cameron for this project and it required the use of our power drill.  He drilled several holes in a line and then smoothed out the like with the drill head.  For dollar store containers, these suckers are sturdy!
    bertuzzi-photography-023-9With this matching road trip activity your toddler can use the cookie sheet to spread out the buttons and then match the colored buttons to the same colored container.  I don’t know about your toddler, but Cami loves sorting, so this will be keep her busy for a while!

5.Clothes Pin Number Matching Activity


I found these number cards at the dollar store and was initially attracted to them because Cami loves all things Mickey and Minnie Mouse.

  1. Use a marker and write a number on each clothes pin (you can also do this with alphabet cards)
    bertuzzi-photography-018-10With this road trip activity your child will be able to match the numbered clothes pin to the card of the same number by clipping it to the card.  I love this because not only will it work your toddlers matching skills and number recognition, but it will also incorporate fine motor skills in actually clipping the clothes pin to the card.

6.Pom Pom Counting Activity


With the help of our handy baking sheet and this free counting caterpillar printable this road trip activity is super easy to make.

  1. Cut magnet tape into small strips that will fit on the back side of your pom poms
  2. Adhere the magnetic tape to each pom pom
    bertuzzi-photography-025-8Your toddler will place the magnetic pom pom on each highlighted number to help them with counting.

7.Popsicle Stick Shapes Activity


This activity is made super easy with this free shapes printable and colored popsicle sticks I snagged at Walmart.

  1. Print shapes template
  2. Cut shapes panels out

If you want to amp this project up you can add some of your magnetic tape to the back of your popsicle sticks and your toddler can recreate the shapes on the backing sheet.


With my snacks and activities in tow, I know that we are destined for a pretty amazing road trip with Cami!





  1. I am getting ready to take a 15-hour road trip with my grandkids (ages 5 and 2.5 y.old). These ideas are awesome and I will definitely use some. Thank you.
    1. 15-hours! Wow! We just got back from our 6 hour road trip and I can tell you that the activities work! I can also tell you that the pom noms and pipe cleaners will end up everywhere in your car, but it is totally worth the silence and the enjoyment of the kids playing with them! Safe travels!

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