Road Trip Game: Search and Find Jar for Kids

“Oh, I love these!” my daughter said, when she saw me assembling this DIY “Hidden Objects” game. We love a summer road trip, and I like to embrace a few low-tech options that’ll keep the family busy during the drive. This year, we're bringing finger knitting projects, coloring books, travel board games, and DIY gadgets like this one, a toy that encourages kids to find all of the items disguised in a container.

Simple materials are combined to make a Hidden Object toy for kids.

Make a DIY Hidden Object Game for Kids

Make this easy travel-friendly game to entertain your kids this summer.

Photo by: Emily Fazio

Emily Fazio

We like the idea of creating multiples so that that a few kids can play simultaneously and see who can find all of the items first. Friendly competition, kids!

Here's what you're going to need:

  • recycled containers
  • rice (small pasta, like macaroni or orzo works too)
  • assorted small items found around the house - ideally, all containers will contain identical contents so choose things that are found in duplicate
  • tape
  • spray paint
  • superglue

Before you begin assembling the toy, take a picture of all of your items, and print out a few copies so that your kids know exactly what’s inside. I made my picture into a simple checklist, and dropped it into a Plexiglas picture frame so that the crew can use it over and over again. Here’s a quick list of things I included in our containers:

Simple materials are combined to make a Hidden Object toy for kids.

Make a DIY Hidden Object Game for Kids

Make this easy travel-friendly game to entertain your kids this summer.

Photo by: Emily Fazio

Emily Fazio

My Suggestions:

  • magnet letters
  • green crayon
  • white piece of chalk
  • cotton swab
  • building block pieces
  • guitar pick
  • dice
  • pony beads - red, yellow, sparkly green and blue
  • pennies
  • marbles (white, orange and green)
  • piece of sea glass
  • red star
  • rubber band
  • screws or nails (consider washers and bolts and nuts, if your kids like to build things and can easily identity)
  • black plastic spider
  • tiny shell
  • paperclip
  • red safety pin
  • dog figurine
  • acorn
  • jacks

For young kids, you may want to keep this activity simplified without spray paint, but older kids will value a good challenge. Tape off a square around the center of the container, and spray paint the rest. 

Spray paint a translucent container to make a Hidden Object toy for kids.

Make a DIY Hidden Object Game for Kids

Make this easy travel-friendly game to entertain your kids this summer.

Photo by: Emily Fazio

Emily Fazio

Once the paint dries, remove the underlying tape to reveal a window into the container. 

Create a small window in the Hidden Object toy for kids.

Make a DIY Hidden Object Game for Kids

Make this easy travel-friendly game to entertain your kids this summer.

Photo by: Emily Fazio

Emily Fazio

Fill the container with rice/pasta, and all of the secret objects you’ve scrounged up.

Funnel rice and materials to make a Hidden Object toy for kids.

Make a DIY Hidden Object Game for Kids

Make this easy travel-friendly game to entertain your kids this summer.

Photo by: Emily Fazio

Emily Fazio

Seal the container. Apply a bit of strong glue around the threads on the lid before tightening it down, and rest assured that the kids aren’t easily going to spill the rice everywhere in the backseat. Supply them with a picture of the objects within, and let them get busy!

Simple materials are combined to make a Hidden Object toy for kids.

Make a DIY Hidden Object Game for Kids

Make this easy travel-friendly game to entertain your kids this summer.

Photo by: Emily Fazio

Emily Fazio

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