My 3-year old came upon a Hidden Pictures page the other day and was enthralled with it. She loved looking for the different pictures and pointing them out. This got me thinking…. “I wonder if I could find some free printables and laminate them for her?” Sure enough, I found some online! I got to work and started laminating them and making little flip books out of them. We are going to Disneyland this summer, so I am adding these booklets to their car kits.
There are several reasons why these rock: First, you can keep them in your car and pull them out in desperate moments, and you don't need anything extra to use them. No crayons, no pencils, just a detecting eye and a sense of adventure! You can also use this with a variety of ages. If you have young kids, find simple printables, and if you have older kids, find some more challenging ones. Also, if you keep them bound together with a little binder clip like I do, you can easily swap them out with new ones when your kid gets bored or conquers the current ones.
I laminated them because I want them to last more than one time. Also, lamination is great because if you kids want to also color them, the laminated pages work great with dry erase crayons or dry erase markers. I tend to laminate everything these days 🙂 If you don't already have your own laminator, you can get one really cheap (around $25-30). If you buy one on Amazon, just DON'T buy the Apache. It doesn't do a good job. It made me mad. And then I bought the Scotch and it made me happy. Choose that one.
I was only able to find about 3 sites that have free printables, but it's enough to get you started. If you want a bigger variety, or you have multiple kids and want some in different skill levels, you can buy Hidden Pictures books for very cheap. I ended up getting the one pictured above (and below) for $2.99 and it came with 48 pages, which I think made up for the price just in ink I didn't have to print. If I did this project again, I would probably go that route first. It also came as double-sided half sheets, so even though it was 48 pages, I only had to use 12 laminating sheets.
If you are using these on a road trip, you could offer a new one every “x” amount of miles, or you could offer incentives for whoever finds all the pictures in their booklet, whatever makes it fun! For some other really fun travel ideas, see these posts: Travel Printables & Travel Ideas
We also take these in the diaper bag for church. It makes for a nice little activity that doesn't involve a million crayons on the floor (unless you decide to use dry erase crayons and have them color them too).
Wondering where to get the free printables I used for my first booklet? You can find them here:
Free Hidden Pictures Printables
Dinosaur Hidden Pictures Printable
Other Hidden Pictures from the All Kids Network (they also have other printables like connect the dot and color by number)
The Friend Hidden Pictures. This is a monthly kid's magazine that we get in the mail, but they offer their pages for free as pdf's. Each monthly edition usually has one Hidden Picture printable