May 142012

Something that’s always hard for my kids when we’re in the car for a long period of time is having a flat spot on their laps to eat snacks, play with toys or especially color or write on. You can buy special travel trays or lap boards for use with car seats and booster seats, but I figured I could make something serviceable for a lot less money, and I was right.

I picked up two quarter-sheet sized baking sheets (so half the size of a standard home baking pan) from the dollar store for, you guessed it, one dollar each. These trays would probably not work all that well for baking since they’re quite thin (although unhelpfully labeled as “heavyweight”) but the fact that they’re light makes them more useful here, and they’re still stiffer than a disposable aluminum pan.

Next I bought two sheets of felt from the craft store (for a whopping .29 cents each), and glued one sheet to each pan – I did have to trim the long side of the felt so that it would fit a bit better, but I really didn’t even have to do that.

So for $2.58 + tax I ended up with two kids travel trays, and if I get motivated I could even make some little felt games for the kids, since the back side of the trays could double as a felt board. Tic Tac Toe would be a fun and easy one.

  6 Responses to “Travel Trays”

  1. darn clever of you. i think i might just do the same.

  2. How would you strap these down to the car seats though? I need to make two of these as we have a 24 hour road trip coming up in 10 days and my two toddlers are bound to knock these over.

    • Sorry I missed this earlier – although you’re done with your trip I thought I’d reply: We don’t strap down the trays. My kids might have been a bit older than toddlers when we started using these but we really didn’t have a problem with them falling down. They just let me know when they were done using them and I took them and put away whatever they were using, and if something fell off that I couldn’t reach from the passenger seat it was gone until the next stop, which would have happened without the trays anyways.

  3. What kind of glue did you use? I picked up two cookie sheets at Target and tried this, but the sheets are nonstick and hot glue didn’t stick!’ Duh.

  4. Thanks for the great idea! I did cut out some felt “funny faces” and I also used some chalkboard paint that I already had for the inside of the cookie sheet! So many uses for so cheap!

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