How to Make a Toddler Lap Board for the Car

Planning a long road trip? Have a toddler that likes to play with cars? Or need a toddler sized lap board for coloring or lap play while riding in the car?

How to Make a Toddler Lap Board for the Car for under $5

Here’s an easy way for less than $5 to make a toddler lap board to use while in a car seat.

Lap Board Supplies

You can score all of these supplies between a Dollar Tree or dollar store and your local big box store.

What you’ll need:

I purchased the clip board, rice and shower cap at the Dollar Tree.

The shower cap was fabric and not too chintzy. I wanted fabric that can handle both the heat in the car and being tossed off of a lap without losing its strength.

How to Make a Toddler Lap Board for the Car

We already had the gorilla tape on hand. You might be able to use another kind of tape but I didn’t want to risk rice everywhere in the car.

With all that, the price for this project can well be under $5 for out of pocket expenses.

How to make a Toddler Lap Board

1. Start by stretching the shower cap onto the four corners of the clipboard. Think of it as if you’re putting a fitted sheet on a mattress. The last corner is always the toughest.

2. Once the shower cap is in place, turn the entire thing upright.  The opposite end of the clipboard should rest firmly against the table.

3. Pull the shower cap away from a long edge to create an opening to pour the rice into.

How to make a Toddler Lap Board

4. Slowly pour the rice – filling the shower cap backing. You can test how much to put in by seeing how it feels.

If you overstuff it, there won’t be enough flexibility to sit snuggly on your toddler’s lap. If you are stingy on the rice, it may not be as comfortable.

You can also decide how much to put on based on how heavy or light you want it to be.

I went on the heavy side since I wanted it to stay put until my little man decides to push it off intentionally (when he’s ready for a new activity).

Because – with toddlers – you know… that happens.

How to Make a Toddler Lap Board for the Car

5. Pull the shower cap back up to close the opening you made.

6. Tuck the edge of the shower cap (mine was rather frilly) underneath with just a little lip remaining on top of the clipboard. The lip will help keep cars from rolling off too quickly… Or that’s the idea anyway.

7. Tape each of the edges securely so there’s no chance of a single grain of rice escaping.

Be sure to attach the gorilla tape to both the clipboard top surface, the lip of the fabric and some of the fabric on the bottom.

It should cover the edges completely to ensure solid construction.

How to Make a Toddler Lap Board for the Car

I decided to leave the clip side up so we could eventually clip in different road maps, printable scenes, etc. in plastic sleeves. You could always flip it so the clip is underneath buried in the rice.

How to make a Toddler Lap Board for in the car
Great for little laps! Uses it as 18 month old.

It fits perfectly on my little guy’s lap (at around 18 months) and is easy for him to use. I imagine it will last us a long time and come in handy on many more road trips.

You’ll have to use your own best judgement when it comes to using something like this in a moving vehicle. As always, choose safety first.

How to Make a Toddler Lap Board for the Car
I left the plastic cover on but would take that off next time before adding tape. You can see it tore away in two areas.

This lap board has been so successful that my son, now a preschooler still uses it regularly.

We call it his playmat and he asks for it often.

I keep it stashed in his basket of books next to his seat.

How to Make a Toddler Lap Board for the Car

It has held up for over a year and only once needed a touch up with tape since I didn’t do a great job on one edge the first time around.

How to Make a Toddler Lap Board for the Car

I’ve also made a second smaller one using a little black chalkboard that was also $1.

This time around I picked a $1 plastic shower cap since it didn’t have to stretch (to fit a regular sized clipboard) and I thought it would hold up just fine.

How to Make a Toddler Lap Board for the Car
The plastic design has rubbed off a little but the construction has held up

It works nicely to throw in my purse or baby bag for in the shopping cart since it’s lighter.

How to Make a Toddler Lap Board for the Car

Though, my little man does prefer the bigger playmat.

What I didn’t realize is that the toddler lap board is good for more than just playing with cars. {wink}

This toddler lap board works for reading books and having a meal or snack in the car too.

How to Make a Toddler Lap Board for the Car
Good for a bit bigger laps too! Now uses it as a 3 year old.

There you have my steps for making your own toddler lap board for at home or perhaps even in the car.

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How to Make a Toddler Lap Board for the Car
Leslie Simpson

Leslie is the teacher-mom behind KindergartenWorks. She believes in teaching kindergarten students how to be pretty incredible along with teaching them to read, write and think for themselves. She enjoys graphic design, learning new things and sharing with teachers.