Looking for some car hacks and tips to keep your family van or car organized and clean? These car hacks are perfect for any family car that needs a little help staying organized and can save you money, time and irritation. <–couldn’t we all use less irritation? Keep reading for the best car hacks…

tips and tricks for cars with kids - 3 images of different car hacks including water bottle with pencils, car folder and bucket
Let’s try these car hacks for more fun in the car, minivan and SUV!

Car Hacks To Make Life Easier

As a mom of many, we spend a ton of time in the car going to the various events. Spending so much time in the van, we need to make travel time worthwhile.

Related: Like these car hacks? Try garage organization ideas

With these easy car hacks you can make the time spent in your vehicle more organized, more efficient, and less stressful with some of these car tricks.

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Genius Family Car Hacks

1. DIY Travel Book Hack

Help entertain your kids with a DIY travel book in the car. You can create pages of activities for your kids to do independently in their carseats. via Mamma Papa Bubba

2. Write Yourself Notes Travel Entertainment

Send yourself a message in a bottle to remind yourself of all the fun you are having on an outing together. via Sarah Maker

3. Bucket Pulley System – Extreme Car Hack

Create a bucket pulley system. This is great to get things to the back of the car without stopping on long trips. Be sure to secure or remove the bucket between hauls. via Kids Activities Blog

4. Condiment Sauce Container Hack

Keep the baby binkie clean. Carry spares in condiment sauce containers. When one gets dirty, just open another container. via Amazon

5. Temporary Tattoo To Keep Your Child Safe with Travel

Create a temporary tattoo of your phone number. Put it on your child’s hand when you are traveling or at a busy event. If they get lost they can tell someone how to reach you.

6. Keep Your Child Calm In The Car

Have you tried everything and still can’t get the kids to calm down in the car? Let them play on your phone, but give them an app they can learn from! via ABCmouse

car tips and tricks for families 1

Nifty Car Hacks: Tips & Tricks

7. Silicone Cupcake Liner Cup Holder Hack

No more trying to dig coins out of a cup holder (not even to mention trying to clean the little bits of lint and crumbs that get stuck in the crevices). Use silicone cupcake liners as inserts for your cup holders. When they get grubby, wipe them out. via Amazon

8. Trunk Organizer Hack

Trunks can become the car’s catch-all. This trunk organizer can help limit the chaos. It has sections for groceries and a middle cooler. via Amazon 

9. Back Seat Organizer Tip

Another option is to add an organizer to the back of the back seat, leaving floor space open. via Amazon

10. Car Tableware Hack

Have a single serving tableware ready for an unexpected meal on-the-road. Stephanie keeps a couple sets in her glove box. via Modern Parents Messy Kids

11. Easter Egg Snack Packs Trick

Use Easter Eggs as snack packs. They are easy to pass out in the car and perfect for portion control of snacks while you drive. via Amazon

more car hacks and tips

Protect Your Car with these Car TRicks

12. DIY Dog Blanket For The Car

DIY Dog blanket. Bring your dog with you – and keep the car clean. This is a hammock style one that attaches to both seats. BUT, if you have a still dog, consider using a tablecloth. (Note: the original link to this post no longer exists, but here’s a similar alternative). via DIY Network

13. Seat Cover Hack

Cover the seats with a fitted crib mattress sheet. You will protect the seats. Scotchguard it for extra protection from spills and crumbs. via Kids Activities Blog

14. Grocery Hack For Your Car

I am not the only one who bought milk and then worried the whole way home wondering if it toppled over… worry no more with this nifty “stay hold” – it keeps groceries upright in the trunk.  If it does spill – here are some genius car cleaning tricks that can help. via Kids Activities Blog

SAve Money with These DIY Car Hacks

15. Video: Life Hack- Make Any Mug Into A Travel Mug

Is your favorite travel mug dirty? This is a genius trick to transform any mug into a splashproof travel mug! All you need is some cling wrap! More Genius tips on One Crazy House including how to make a car smell better & how to fix car scratches.

16. Trip Bottle To Save Money Hack

Saving the funds for a vacation does not have to hurt the budget. Save up for your trip painlessly – with a vacation money jar trip-bottle.

17. Bag of Blessings Tip

Collect Bags of Blessings to keep in your car. If you come across a person in need you can “be a blessing”.  via Joy’s Hope

car tips for emergencies

Car Hacks for Emergencies 

18. Customized Emergency Kit

Create a kit for all the little things that you might need – ideas of things to add include antacids, nail clippers, extra cash, band-aids, Advil, etc. Organized Junkie has a terrific tutorial on how to customize your emergency kit. via Organized Junkie

19. Pre-Packaged First Aid Kit

You can also purchase pre-packaged first aid kits that can help in the time of need. via Amazon

20. Jumper Cables

We have jumper cables in our car, but the times my battery has been dead, I have been lost as to how to connect the jumper cables. via Amazon

21. How To Jump A Car Hacks

Even if you don’t have a set of jumpers in your car, print this nifty tag just in case you need to jump another vehicle. via Kids Activities Blog 

car hacks for families

DIY Car Accessories You Need

22. Reusable Tote Hack For Your Car

If you use reusable tote grocery bags, you will love this idea. Fill a bin with the totes and keep it in the trunk. You have one place to go for all those bags. via Orgjunkie .

23. Inflatable Bed For Your Car

If you have a lot of driving, this might be super helpful. I know there are days when my older kids have had back-to-back games, during nap-time!! This inflatable bed would have made resting easier on my tyke while the kids played/practiced. via Amazon 

24. DIY Sippy Cup To Keep Messes Out Of Your Car

Poke a hole into the lid of a water bottle and add a straw for an instant “sippy cup” for an older child. Perk: Throw it out when you reach your destination. For more ideas like this one, check out our meals-on-the-go post we love to think of as picnic ideas to the EXTREME!

25. Tension Rod Hack For Your Car

Don’t let all the bags and jackets pile on the floor. Use a tension rod – the kind designed for closets. You can hang all the kids things. Thanks Amee for the idea! via Madame Deals 

car tips and tricks for moms and kids

Ways to Organize Your Car

26. DIY Car Seat Belt Cover

For those kids who figured out how to unbuckle their seats, but do it at all the wrong times, this trick is invaluable! Make a car seat belt “cover” using a small plastic cup. Genius! via Frugal Freebies

27. Magazine Rack Hack

Organize the car, and all the kids towels, and other items that come with activities – using a magazine rack. No more digging through stacks of things in the trunk.

28. Pool Noodle Car Hack

Put a pool noodle along the bed of a child when you are traveling, in place of a bed rail. Your kids will hopefully stay in the “new” bed. via Amazon

29. Emergency Ice Pack

Use a sponge as a back-up ice pack with this ice packs for lunch box hack. No more drips from ice! Don’t have a sponge or have a larger thing to keep cool? Try a dish towel.

Pssst…looking for some fun? Try these easy magic tricks for kids (and adults too)!

Collage of tips for trips in the car with kids

More Car Organization Hacks From Kids Activities Blog

Leave a comment: What are some of your favorite car hacks, tricks, and tips?

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  1. Rachel, your car hacks are a game-changer for family road trips! The silicone cupcake liner hacks in my cup holders make it much easier to keep them clean now. The DIY travel book idea is also brilliant for keeping the kids entertained on long drives. These practical tips save time and make car journeys with the family more enjoyable and less stressful. Thanks for sharing these clever and useful hacks!

  2. Careful- some of these are not safe! As a longtime trained passenger safety advocate, I can tell you that people are often injured by projectiles in crashes. A police officer once told about an accident scene he’d been called to where a baby had been killed by a flying spoon! Always remember that any loose items in the car can do this. I keep Crayola twist up crayons in the car instead of pencils. They won’t melt like regular crayons and won’t impale anyone as they have a large rounded end. I can’t say this is ‘safe’ to do- there still is some risk- but less than pencils by far. I would never consider the ‘bucket pulley’. Maybe a ‘cloth bag’ version? And two of my own- for those little misc. items I always seem to keep in the car, I use a small soft-sided cooler. It contains the items and cushions them as well. I also keep Kleenex in a vinyl zipper pouch- safer than a box, keeps the tissues clean and won’t get crushed- win-win.