Fun for a Buck : Painter’s Tape Roadways

Fun for a Buck 

Looking for some frugal entertainment for your little one(s)? We’re always looking for creative ways to play without breaking the bank. We like to pass those ideas onto you through our Fun for a Buck Series.

A new activity that has been a hit with our four boys is Painter’s Tape Roadways.  The idea is simple, cheap, and fabulous! (Especially for transportation loving boys!) All you need is a roll of painter’s tape and some matchbox sized vehicles.  Tape the painter’s tape into a big enough road to navigate around the room. We made stops along the way with our Fisher-Price Airport, Barn, and School. Add some cars and let the traffic games begin!

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Do you need more Fun for a Buck ideas?  Check out this one and this one.

Have an idea to share or think you’ll try this one out?  Leave us a comment and tell us about it!


22 thoughts on "Fun for a Buck : Painter’s Tape Roadways"

  1. What a GREAT idea! TFS!!!!

  2. That is an awesome idea! And my 5yr old could put the tape down himself (saving this old momma's knees). I will be trying this out this afternoon.

  3. Mamma Sol says:

    I just read it and immediately copied this marvellous idea! Thank you so much for the inspiration 😀 It was truly easy, and cheap, and the kids took to it at once! We don't have much in the way of fire stations and the like, but we'll sure enjoy it anyways! You can go check it out in my blog; I'll post a video there asap. But unless you have hidden talents in decrypting Scandinavian, there will be no need for sound 😉

    Thank you again!

  4. Stacey says:

    Emma said "I want to play cars with those boys!"

  5. so, this isn't fun for a buck, but if you haven't yet discovered the 'mighty machines' dvds for your boys yet, you have to check them out!! my 3.5 year old twin boys are also 'transportation loving' and these movies are great! i think your boys would get a kick out of them, and i did find them for pretty cheap on ebay! 'diggers and dozers' is the fav at our house!

    i love the fun for a buck ideas, jen! thanks for sharing them. they have foam swords in the dollar section at target right now. actually, they have a bunch of fun stuff, including pool and sandbox toys. check it out!

  6. Elizabeth says:

    Here are a few ideas that we've tried and you should too:

    Sponge Printing


    Soak a sponge in water and squeeze to release the excess.
    Use a piece of chalk to draw on the wet sponge.
    Press the wet sponge onto a piece of white or colored construction paper to create a print.
    If you like, use chalk in various colors and a variety of sponges in different shapes and sizes.

    Hope you like the idea!

  7. Elizabeth says:

    Use masking tape or colorful tape to make several different shapes on the floor.
    Call out different movements, such as "Crawl to the square," "Hop to the circle," or "Run to the triangle."
    If you like, make a Shape Cube with the same shapes on it as you have taped on the floor.
    Throw the Shape Cube into the air and when it lands, have your child move to the same shape as is displayed on the top of the cube.

  8. Sarah says:

    Wow! That's one of those "Why didn't-I-think-of-that?" ideas.

  9. naomimarcus says:

    Looks like a lot of fun!
    I used to work in a daycare and one of the things the kids always loved was this:
    get some different size and shape plastic containers (we used ice cream tubs, ice cub trays, tupperware, muffin trays etc) and fill with water, then put in some plastic toys (animals, Lego men, cars etc) and put the tubs in the freezer.
    When they are frozen, take them outside and remove from the container. Then let the boys use cutlery, plastic spades, warm water, anything really, to get to the toys. Once it starts to melt the real fun begins!
    A good way to add to the fun is to add food colouring to the water, or else use part paint/part water.

    Ice cube trays are excellent because you can pop out the cubes; larger containers can be harder to remove from the ice blocks, but if you use flimsy ice cream tubs you can cut away the sides.

  10. MH in OH says:

    Tape is such a big hit around here (twin 4.5 yr old boys) that we ask for it for Christmas and Easter – makes a great stocking stuffer and I don't feel so bad about the huge lengths of tape they want to use.

    Big Machine DVD's by Fred Levine are a HUGE hit with my boys. (Road construction ahead, Farm country ahead, House construction ahead). We get them from the library. Also the "All About John Deere for kids" video series. And there's a CAT machines book (in the children's nonfiction section) that includes a DVD. At our library we can check movies out for a week, so each week we get a different selection. The library is one of our favorite places for free entertainment!

    My boys also have always loved watching real construction sites. Just today we walked along a street where they are replacing all the water pipes, digging up the street with excavators to do so. When they were smaller I would take them out in the stroller to watch new homes being built in a neighborhood near us. They were mesmerized.

    They also like things like making an elevator out of a shoe box and a string or a bucket on a rope to lift things up.

    One year we had a pile of mulch delivered and we didn't get it all spread in the yard. The boys had such fun digging on that pile that it became a permanent fixture in our yard.

    And the idea about frozen cubes of ice above is a great one, especially on hot summer days.

  11. Lacey says:

    Love those pictures!!!

    When we were younger, my brother used to set up toy car races all over the house. He had probably at least 50 cars, so they were big races. He was a bit older than your guys, so he would draw out a map of the course and then crawl around moving them car by car to the finish. A race could easily take all day! He eventually even had a binder full of all the courses he'd designed and drawn for the racing circuit. Anyway I can relate to transportation loving boys….my brother would've loved the idea of tape to make the track!

  12. Elizabeth says:

    Great idea 🙂

  13. Outside my 5yr old draws race tracks with chalk on the driveway & deck.

    For transportation themed books check out the Trucktown series by Jon Scieszka. They are totally awesome! My son loves the books. There is a website too…

  14. Gail says:

    What a great idea…wish I would have known about this 20 years ago! Your boys look so cute playing together. I always enjoy reading your updates, thank you for sharing.

  15. Anonymous says:

    I"ve been saying you should write a book…but maybe you should open a photog studio. Your eye is great and your editing really is fab!
    Love you!
    Miss you…hate that my life is so busy I don't get to see you.

  16. very fun! my boys would LOVE that, too! (even our lil guy!) This reminds me of when I was a lil kid…my dad let my brothers use permanent marker on the floor of his workshop so we could all play with the matchbox cars. the 3 of us had an entire city drawn on the floor down there! I'm sure the faded lines are still there to some degree 😉

  17. teresa says:

    the pictures of your boys driving all over town demonstrate what a great idea your tape town is.

  18. Ellen says:

    Genius!!! I feel so pathetic in comparison to creativity like this. I guess I have other talents that benefit my kids. You know, like, my microwaving skills.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Great Idea! I am going to try this out with my little one he loves cars,trains,tractors,etc.

  20. Honey says:

    I love this idea. I will have to try this one out with my boys.


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