Published 4 February 2018 ● Last Updated on 11 August 2020

If your kids are anything like mine, you would know what it is like to go on a long flight with them! After going through the in-flight magazine and watching a few kids’ shows on the flight’s entertainment system all within the first couple of hours, my daughter gets fidgety and claims to be bored!

So, after doing a little research on the internet, we – my 5-year-old and I  – came up with a small portable box of games that she likes. We created play-set in a tiny metal tin. Simply using items from around the house, we created a 3-in-1 box that houses the evergreen tic-tac-toe, a fun fishing game and a novel dancing Ballerina! Wondering if you can recreate this Imaginarium? Just follow our lead!

To begin, you need a small metal or cardboard box. upcycle to create games for flights and travel

(We recycled a small metal tin from a long lost ‘Jake and the Neverland Pirates’ puzzle.) And here’s how you fill it up:


You will need:

  • Buttons in 2 colors
  • A sharpie or other permanent marker
  • Tiny 1mm to 2mm thick magnets (I pulled out some from old fridge magnets; if you need to buy, head to your local stationery shop)

travel tic tac toe Draw the tic tac toe grid with a sharpie on the inside of the box lid and adhere magnets to the buttons with hot glue and your game is ready! I also used tiny alpha stickers to write ‘Tic Tac Toe.’


You will need:

  • 2 pencils to make 2 fishing rods. These should fit inside the box. I used the pencils you get at the IKEA store, I do return them while leaving the store, but somehow a few still land up at home!
  • Thick string or yarn
  • Something to use as the fish. You could cut out fish shapes from paper or felt. I used some fish metal trinkets that I have had with me for almost 10 years!
  • 2 magnets to attach to the 2 fishing rods
  • You would also need a piece of metal to stick to your fish so that they stick to the fishing rods. I attached tiny brads to the trinket-holes in my fish

The Fishing Rod: Tie a knot with the thick string or yarn on the pencil and loop the string. Put the loop around the end of the pencil and bring it close to the knot. Pull the string and tighten, repeat 3-4 times. Tie the two ends together. If these instructions sounded confusing :), just refer to the pics below:

fishing game rod


Cut the string slightly longer than the desired length of the fishing wire. Tie a magnet at the other end of the string. I used donut shaped magnets, don’t ask me where I got them from! Just when I was at my wit’s end as to how to tie a circular disc magnet to a string, I walked up to my fridge and found these donut-shaped magnets stuck on it. I have no idea how they got there. I’m sure my 5-year-old has an explanation, but I’ll just take it as some divine intervention!

But worry not if you cannot find anything like this, just stick a magnet onto a button with hot glue and tie the button to the string.

The Fish: Add metal to your fish shapes so they can be pulled up by the magnetic fishing rod. As I had fish-shaped beads, I stuck tiny metal brads on these trinkets using a glue gun. fishing game trinkets

Though you can also play the fishing game inside the tin itself, since it is metallic the fishing rod magnet tends to stick to the tin’s edges more often than it sticks to the fish, so it best played on the flat surface outside the tin. I traced the shape of the tin on some blue holographic paper and cut it out to make a play surface.

fishing game for travel


You will need:

  • A small toy doll, toys from Kinder Joy Eggs work the best. I used a ballerina Kinder Joy toy and an Elsa Doll from one of my daughter’s old board games.
  • A piece of cardstock to act as the dance floor
  • A strong magnet

This game was also very easy to make. Look for coins that stick to magnets and hot glue them to the bottom of the dolls and your game is ready.

dancing Elsa kids travel gamePlace the doll over the blue cardstock from the fishing game and place a strong magnet below the paper, move the magnet around and watch the doll dance around.

Lastly, decorate the outside and inside of the tin with patterned paper and ribbon.

All the games fit inside the box easily.

We also tested out the games with my daughter and her friend, and they loved it! upcycle to create games for flights and travel

-Juhi Khanna

Juhi is a semiconductor engineer turned entrepreneur. Apart from running her paper crafts business, she designs cards for a few stamp companies, does freelance craft blogging and is a UX designer. She has a 5-years-old daughter who loves paper crafts as much as her; needless to say they have a lot of fun crafting together. Follow her on Instagram for inspiration!



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