DIY Memory Game for Toddlers

We are preparing for our summer vacations, which this year, include several long car rides and many stops in between. In order to maintain the sanity of mama (ahem) and of the toddler-man I have been dreaming up new ways to keep those little fingers entertained, all while sticking to my budget of a few dollars, and keeping in the mind minimal space (we drive a very small car...) we will be occupying.

My first new addition to my "Travel Fun Bag," or the "Bag of Magic," as  I like to call it, I have added a mini-memory game. I  painted  some of my son's favorite insects, birds and mammals onto medium-sized wooden disks I bought at Michael's for around $3.

 With two ways to play this game, either with all images facing up to match the pairs; or all images facing down you turn one over at a time trying to find the match, I have a feeling this will be gracing many a restaurant table this summer.

I had so much fun making the first set that I painted a second set as part of a  birthday gift for a little friend who adores the ocean.

I have a feeling several other young children in our life will receive sets of this little game personalized to their taste in their Christmas stockings this year.

How do you entertain your kids on long car trips? Have you come up with any great frugal games for your kids recently? 


  1. Emory is a bit young for this one, but it kept Caleb going on many a long car ride or hike or while waiting in restaurants:

    Make up the never-ending story. One person starts a story and says just one or two sentences. Then it passes on to the next person, etc. It is fun to see where each person takes the story and how they use the twists and turns that are dealt to them. And you can keep one story going for an entire trip. I can still remember stories from some of our travels.

    Good restaurant game: draw a squiggle and pass it to the next person to "finish."

    Have a safe and happy vacation!

    1. Those are fantastic ideas! I think you are right, E is still a little young for those games but it won't be long!

  2. i love how simple and cute this is!!

    1. Thanks Amy! It's been a a hit in our house.

  3. This is so cute! I'm going to make this for my nephew when he gets a little older (only 13 months right now).

    When I was a kid my mom gave us little lap desks so we could color and draw. They were my absolute favorite thing about road trips. She got ours at a toy store, but I think you could DIY one really easily if you wanted to skip the plastic.

  4. The items are hidden from you by either placing cards face down or turn the cards away from you as is done on the computer. You can actually just shuffle a deck of cards and then place these cards face down. Then attempt to find pairs of numbers rather than worrying about the suits.



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