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Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Dinosaur Grid Game with Safari Ltd Good Luck Minis

This is a sponsored post from Safari Ltd.  Party Through the USA received free toys in exchange for this post.  All opinions are my own.

We're getting ready for a Dinosaur-themed road trip this spring, so I've been making lots of fun printables to coordinate.  I'm also on a battleship-like grid game kick- I think I'll end up with one for every theme.  I already have one that uses Oreo cookies, another with mini rubber ducks, one with goldfish crackers, and a few more.

Several years ago, when I first started getting excited about crafting with Altoid Tins, I made a dinosaur small world with felt.  The kids absolutely loved the Good Luck Mini Dinosaurs that I used in this tin.  They're adorable and so detailed, but the irresistible part is that they're squishy!!!  My kids couldn't stop handling them and squishing them between their fingers.

Photo Credit- My other blog: In Our Pond

For my latest printable, I wanted to use the Good Luck Mini Dinosaurs again.  Because the tiny dinosaurs stand up on their own, they're perfect to use as game pieces.  In this grid game, players take turns trying to find their opponents dinosaurs hidden on the coordinates.  Just like the classic battleship game, the players can keep track of their hits and misses on the upright board, while their dinos stay hidden below.

To make the game, download the printable and print the first page twice on cardstock (two pieces).  Or, if you want to color your own board game, you can print the second page twice and have each player design their own dinosaur world.

After the boards are done, I recommend laminating both pages.  To assemble the game, cut away the excess laminate and cut the top and bottom boards apart along the white line (making a 5.5 inch by 8.5 inch shape).  Then, tape them back together with packaging tape, which should allow the boards to fold flat for storage.

Place both opponents game boards back to back and clip the bottom edge of the upright boards together with clothespins to help the game stand up.  Alternatively, you could secure them along the tops with paper clips; although, players might have to take turns holding it up.

Because the game is laminated, right and wrong guesses (hits and misses) can be recorded on the upright board with a dry erase marker.  The game can either be played until all the dinosaurs have been found or until 1 person finds 3-5 of their opponents dinos, depending on how much time the players want to spend at the game.

Oh, and did I mention that all the game pieces fit in an Altoid tin for safekeeping?  You could even build the small world for your dinos to make two travel activities out of one!  The game is free to download, so click the link below to get started!

For Party Through the USA readers, Safari Ltd has given us an exclusive promo code!  If you put "MissyP" in the discount codes box during checkout, you can receive 15% off your entire order!  I'm very excited about this special offer, so click on the link above or below to shop at Safari Ltd's website.  Ge sure to check out their entire Good Luck Mini collection and all their awesome dinosaur toys!

> > > Shop Safari Ltd Now < < <

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More Awesome Dinosaur Toys!

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

DIY Cord Keeper Ideas

I've love spending my time in between road trips crafting and figuring out better ways to organize all the little things that are part of our journeys.  Lately, I've been thinking about our bluetooth radio transmitter (we have one that fits in a cupholder) and charging station in the car and some ways I can make it more functional.

I just ordered longer USB cords which should make it easier for us to manipulate our devices around for use while they charge.  I'm also thinking about ways to secure the cords and keep them out of our way while we're using the cords.  Perhaps I'll buy some cord clips to attach to the dashboard.

When we're not using the cords and want to store them in our car or in my purse, I wanted to DIY a special place to keep them.  I hopped on the internet to check out what other people had done and thus this post was born.  This round-up features lots of recycled containers, which is always wonderful.  I haven't quite decided what I want to make, but I'm leaning toward the round one with the hanging clip.

Related Posts- Organizing Your Road Trip

I don't know about you, but I always need more charge cords!
Find what you need on Amazon!

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Travel Dice Games for Kids

Travel Dice Games for Kids // Party Through the USA // free printable games using dice // great for kids // learning through play

Dice is great for camping and other types of travel, because they're tiny, heavy, and washable.  They don't take up very much room in your luggage and can often be stored in an altoid tin.  Most dice have some weight to them, so you don't have to worry about them blowing away if you're playing outside.  Lastly, plastic dice are washable, in case they end up in the mud or get grimy from being played by lots of people.  As we approach primary travel season, I've rounded up some awesome dice games from around the web.

Dice is good for math practice, too.  As a homeschool family, we're always looking for ways to add fun into our school time.  Many of the games in this post promote number recognition, addition, probability, multiplication, and other math concepts.  I've also simplified many of the games to make them easier for kids to understand and win.

Pig or Jeopardy or Greed
GOAL- Be the First to 100
DICE- 1 total or 1 per person
ADDITIONAL- 100 chart for each player
RULES- What We Do All Day

The game is played with each person taking turns.  The goal is to get as high a score as possible on each round without rolling a one.  If/when you roll a one, you lose your entire amount for that round.  You can quit whenever you want after the first roll, adding the total to your game score.  First to 100 wins!

Although this game can be worked with simple pencil and paper addition, I've also included some 100 box score sheets that are small enough to fit in the Altoid tin.  Print off as many as you want and laminate them to use over and over.  Be sure to pack some white board markers, too.

Going to Town
GOAL- To have the Highest Score
DICE- 3 total
RULES- Grandparents Plus

This game is a very sneaky way to practice adding 3 numbers.  Each player takes turns rolling the dice three times.  On the first roll, the player rolls all three dice.  The highest number from that set gets put aside and the other two dice get rolled again.  The highest of those two numbers gets put with the first dice, then the last dice is rolled one last time.  The player then adds the three dice number together.  The game can either be played one round at a time, where the winner is the player with the highest score or it can be played to a certain number like 50 or 100.

Number Dash
GOAL- Fill up your Board First
DICE- 1 per person
ADDITIONAL- printable board from the blog and counters
RULES- Glue Sticks Blog

Print off the game boards from the Glue Sticks blog, one for each player.  Everyone rolls their dice at the same time and tries to fill up their board with the counters (rocks, snacks, mini erasers, etc).  The winner is the one who covers their entire board first.

Dice Wars
GOAL- To have the Biggest Number or Sum or Product
DICE- 1-3 total
ADDITIONAL- counters (rocks, candy, mini erasers)
RULES- The Many Little Joys

Decide ahead of time if you'll be playing for number recognition, addition practice, or multiplication drills.  If you're doing number recognition, use one dice for the game.  For addition and multiplication, use two or three dice.  This game works best with two players, who each have a pile of 5-10 counters in front of them.

Each player takes turns rolling the dice, and either records their one dice number, their addition quantity, or their multiplication product.  The winner of the round is the person with the highest number, sum, or product.  The loser must give one counter to the other player.  When one person has all the counters, they are the winner.

GOAL- To roll a 6 (ship), 5 (captain), and crew (4)
DICE- 5 total
RULES- Eighty Games

The rules on the Eighty Games blog are much more complicated than the ones I'm going to state now.  Each player will take turns rolling the five dice three times each round.  The goal is to roll a six (ship), a five (captain), and a 4 (crew).  If you fail to roll all three of those on your turn, you take a zero for the round.  If you do get the ship, captain, and crew, then the last two dice values are your pirate booty.  Your total for the round is your amount of booty.  Play each round as it's own game or work toward a certain total.

Travel Dice Games for Kids // Party Through the USA // games in an Altoid Tin // portable and washable games for camping and travel with kids // sneak in learning through play

Roll A Picture
GOAL- To Draw a Picture
DICE- 1 total
ADDITIONAL- paper for drawing
RULES- various blogs online

Decide what you want to draw and what side of the dice each part will be.  For example, if you were going to build a face, then you might say that the 6 is the lips, the 5 is ears,  the 4 is eyes, the 3 is nose, the 2 is hair, and the 1 is an accessory.  Each player rolls the dice one time per round and draws what they roll.  If you roll a number that you've already done, then you pass your turn.  The winner is the first person with a complete drawing.  Make it seasonal with a holiday theme or relate it to your vacation destination.

I like to cover the inside of my Altoid tin with peel and stick felt, which gives it a professional look and helps muffle the dice sound.  Unfortunately, the tin isn't deep enough to be a dice cup, so a different tin might be a better option depending on your needs.

> > > Click Here to Download the Rules and Tin Labels for all the Games > > >

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Travel Dice Game for Kids // Party Through the USA // Dice games are great for travel and camping because they're compact, washable, and can't blow away.  These games will fit in an Altoid tin and need only dice and a few other common things.  Free printable game rules and tin labels for all the games.  Rules are specifically written to be simpler and easier for children to play.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

10 Best Apps for Family Road Trips

Although we say that our road trips are "screen-free," the driver and adult passengers rely on several apps to make our trips better.  To make it even better, all of these apps are free for download!  Several of these apps, we use all year long to enhance our normal driving times and around the house.  Click the colored words to download them for your next trip.

Google Maps
The kids call her "Mrs. Google," and she tells us how to navigate in new places.  Whether we're trying to find a relative's house, our hotel, or a bathroom, we trust Mrs. Google to lead us there.  I'm sure your phone already has Google Maps installed, but if you don't for some reason, get it today (it's free).  (google)  (apple)

My kids love to listen to audiobooks all year long, especially the ones that go along with the Disney movies.  For a set price a month, you get one audiobook credit, which is yours to download and keep.  Even after you cancel your membership, you still own the books and can access them on your phone, tablet, or other device.  We like to play the books through the bluetooth radio transmitter furing out drive times.  If you sign up for an Audible membership through this link, you'll get two free audiobooks!  (google)  (apple)   
On multiple day road trips or destination vacations, there is usually a lot of lodging details to manage.  The hotels dot com app not only lets you book your rooms through their website, it also keeps track of all your reservations so you can relax.  I appreciate that it logs all your previous hotel stays too so you can returns to the ones you loved.  (google)  (apple)

This app tracks where you're driving and tells you what's coming up on the next several exits.  Larger highways are better for this app than smaller ones, but it's helpful for unfamiliar-to-you roads.  The app gives you food options, hotels, and gas stations.  The only thing it doesn't tell you is how long until the next exit with amenities- nothing can replace a physical map for that knowledge.  (google)   (apple)


I've been reading on a Kindle for ten years or so.  It's one of my favorite possessions and one that is rarely very far from me.  The Kindle app can be put on phones and non-Amazon devices to allow for Kindle book reading at any time.  It even keeps track of where you are in your book on different devices.  If you use this link to sign up for Kindle Unlimited, you will have instant access to millions of books and audiobooks for free!  (google)  (apple)

Color Note 
From packing lists to menu ideas to budgeting, Color Note is the place to collect all the lists.  As the name suggests, the app allows you to do different colors for each topic or event.  There might be better list apps on the market, but I love how simple this one is to use.  If I want to write a paragraph, I can.  If I want a list, I can have that as well.  It's a great app for being free, like a pile of sticky notes for anything you want to note.  (google)  (apple)

Amazon Music
We use Amazon Music Unlimited all the time!  You pay a monthly membership fee, and then you have access to thousands of songs and albums from the newest releases to the obscure and old.  As a homeschool mom, I love that I can pull up a CD about a certain subject (for example skip counting) and play it once or one hundred times.  Amazon allows you to download the albums too, so you can access them on the road or wherever you don't have access to internet or cell service.  I love loading up my phone with lots of new music to play through our bluetooth radio transmitter while we drive.  If you sign up through this link, you can try Amazon Music Unlimited for free!  (google)  (apple)

If your library uses Overdrive to provide you with free books and audiobooks, the Libby app allows you to check out content on your phone through your library card.  The entire family can enjoy reading and listening to free audiobooks with this app.  (google)  (apple)

I know I've been talking about a lot of listening options, but we also enjoy Pandora as well.  The app allows you to make up your own custom radio station by using a voting system to chose your favorites.  We have different stations for each time of the year or mood.  You could even make up a special station to go with a themed road trip.  I love that the songs are both in a random order, but also perfectly selected by me.  (google)  (apple)

Amazon Video
Although we don't actually play the videos for everyone to watch, we like to play one through our bluetooth radio transmitter while we're in the car.  It's a very different experience to listen to a movie without seeing it.  The music and sound effects really shine.  Plus, it's fun to listen to the movie and try to guess or describe what's happening.  Of course, in families that allow screen-time in the car, Amazon Video is a perfect forum for free movies and TV shows.  If you sign up for a Prime membership through this link, you can have one month free and thousands of free movies and TV shows.  (google)  (apple)

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My Favorite Apps for Road Trips // Party Through the USA // Even screen-free families can find lots of apps for their phones during the road trips and travel.  These of our 10 favorite apps for families and the ones we use most frequently all year long.