Posted on July 26, 2017

DIY Dollar Store Road Trip Treasure Box

DIY Dollar Store Road Trip Treasure Box

When you are staring a big epic multi-day (week? month?) road trip in the face, a little preparation can go a LONG way. Besides making sure that you pack everyone enough underwear and double checking that you have packed your toddler’s favorite blanket, it’s a great idea to think of some road trip boredom busters. I always pack multiple activities that the kids can enjoy during long stretches of time in the car. They also have their tablets and other electronics to fill in the other time.

One thing that works great for our kiddos is to give them some incentives for good behavior throughout our travels. Incentives almost always work for us when trying to turn around a tired, crabby attitude and buy us a little more pleasant car time. Before our big summer road trip, I took a spin to the dollar store while the kids were at camp. I want to show you how easy it is (cheap, too!) to put together a fun dollar store road trip treasure box!

Dollar Store Prizes

I tried to focus on things that I knew the kids would get excited about while not getting anything SUPER messy.  For example, no paints or glue or anything like that.  I bought some things that they could share and a couple things were age specific (for example, the adult coloring book was something that I knew Lily would enjoy and take her time with).

In addition to those items, I cruised through the food aisle at the dollar store and loaded up on several boxes of the movie theater candy.  I got mostly items that would hold up to hot temperatures in case they were left in the car, minus the M&Ms and Reese’s.  I also bought 2 packs of very small containers so that I could portion the candy into tiny amounts.  I had no interest in sugaring the kids up during hour 5 of a 10 hour drive, but a little itty bitty sweet treat now and then would work great.

Dollar Store Movie Candy

Candy in Containers

For the beads, buttons and string, I wanted to make them easy and accessible for both kids to use at the same time.  I bought a 2-pack of food containers at the dollar store and used them to store little craft stations.  I added a pair of kid scissors to each container so that the kids could cut their own string and make jewelry or keychains or whatev.

Dollar Store Buttons and Beads

The kids were able to earn Adventure Bucks when I caught them being good or sometimes I would say something like, “Whoever falls asleep right away tonight at bedtime will receive FIVE Adventure Bucks in the morning to start off our day!”  You can print your own Adventure Bucks here and use them with your treasure box or however they might fit into your travel plans.

Adventure Bucks Printed

Tell me – what items do your kids go crazy for?  Just when I didn’t think my kids could get more excited about any item more than they had about, oh, Post-It Notes or pipe cleaners, the 3 year old went absolutely BALLISTIC over….   his very own roll of scotch tape.  OMG.  You would have thought I gave him a full sized fire truck.  He went NUTS!  FOR TAPE!  Ha!  Just goes to show you that even the most ordinary items can be fun for kids who aren’t normally allowed to use them.

AND just in case you aren’t sure how long a pack of pipe cleaners could possibly keep a kid occupied and happy?  Well… this was half the pack and kept Landon deliriously happy for almost an hour.  I think it’s some sort of abstract art sculpture.  :D

Pipe Cleaners


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DIY Dollar Store Road Trip Treasure Box

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