This post has been sponsored by The Coca-Cola Company. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Travel is something my family does a lot of, and with summer here, we are about to hit the road full speed ahead! The next few weeks are chock full of trips, and since we will be traveling with kids, it requires careful planning to avoid boredom and frustration when the kids don’t know what to do with themselves. If you have kids, then you know how easily they can get bored, even when they are in the middle of something amazing. To help solve this problem, I’ve come up with our very own “any occasion” busy box packed with activities that are perfect for car rides, camping trips, or any time you want to give the kids a little fun! After testing it out on our most recent trip, I can safely say it has saved my sanity, and that is no small feat. Read on for a how-to, plus a find a fun yogurt dipped granola bar recipe that will leave your littles happy and hunger free!
Before we get to building our busy box, let’s talk about these granola bars. They are great for taking with you, they don’t need to be kept cool, and with plenty of fruits and nuts, they are a much better option than the sugary snacks that lead to an inevitable crash and burn. I used a variety of dried fruits in these, but you can fill them with whatever you might be feeling at the moment – fruit, nuts, chocolate chips, sprinkles, peanut butter, and more.
Here is what you need:
- 2.5 cups rolled oats
- 1 cup chopped Member’s Mark pecans
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup real maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup butter
- Around 1 cup mix-ins (I used dried apricots, pineapple, chia seeds, and raisins)
The first thing you will do is chop your nuts, spread them out along with your oats on a large baking sheet, and heat for 10 minutes at 350 degrees to get slightly toasted. I am a huge nut fan, and pecans are my absolute favorite! I picked up almost all of my ingredients at my local Sam’s Club, but my #1 score was a big bag of Member’s Mark Pecans. I use pecans in a lot of my recipes, and they are great to have around when you are hiking or need to keep your energy up, so these were perfect.
While your oats are in the oven, melt butter, honey, brown sugar, and vanilla on the stove at medium heat, stirring occasionally until fully liquid. Once both of these are finished, combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix thoroughly.
Once blended, press mixture into a small baking pan lined with wax paper. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, and then you can take it out and cut into rectangles.
If you want to add the yogurt icing, mix together 1/4 vanilla Greek yogurt, 1 cup powdered sugar, and 1 tsp milk until smooth. Dip one side of each granola bar in, and set on a wire rack to harden.
Don’t they look great? Now that our granola bars are finished, let’s put together our busy box! I really wanted to make sure each activity brought something educational to the table, so I chose categories like fine motor skills, sensory stimulation, and creativity. These activities are things that your child can do together with you, or alone, depending on what your needs are. You can print out my labels here to make one for yourself!
The first activity is a “Make your own monster” kit that is great for creative expression. It has four blank monster pictures that I printed on cardstock along with a glue stick, crayons, pipe cleaners, plastic eyes, puff balls, and a few other decorative items. Kids can use their box top as a surface to decorate their own monsters, and cleanup is a breeze with everything fitting neatly in a sealable sandwich bag. My kids LOVE this activity!
Our next activity is something that just about every kid loves, and that is building blocks. If you go this route, I would advise that you get the miniature blocks and that they make a specific thing. Whether it be a car, a house, a boat, whatever – having instructions to follow and an end product helps them stay on task and spend more time with the activity than it would with random blocks.
I also packed a small tub of fun dough with some different tools they can use to play with it. The box comes in handy here as the other activities can be taken out for it to be used as a basin for the fun dough. Cute, right? I think so!
These are just a few activity ideas, but here are a few more just in case those aren’t for you:
- velcro or magnetic tic tac toe
- scenic bingo
- nature identification cards
- activity pages
- paper dolls
- counting games
I included a granola bar in my box, along with a POWERADE®, which is a go-to for our family in the outdoors. I always make sure to pick up a pack of them when I am at Sam’s Club, so I am always stocked for anything that might come up. Want the chance to win something? Head over here to enter the Coca-Cola 100 Ways To Summer sweepstakes!