If your little one is anything like mine, they love toy cars! But did you know that you can use their favourite toy vehicle as an educational activity as well? Try out some of my ideas below.
Firstly a bit about toy vehicles. Your child may already have their own favourites, there are lots of brands and franchises out there. If they don't, consider the classics like police cars, fire engines and buses. Other good options include accurate replicas like dinky trucks and build your own kits available from Lego. Whichever one you pick, make sure that they are suitable for your child’s age.
Once you have a nice selection of vehicles, what do you do with them? Well, first of all, how about some a simple track games? Of course, you’ll need somewhere for all those cars to drive. Making your child a track or buying a playmat, is always a great investment. Another educational activity I like to do with car tracks is to teach shapes and letters too.
You can sort by any factor like colour, number of wheels, type of vehicle, but make sure that you explain it clearly to your child before they start. I’d keep it to one factor, when they first begin. Then you could try combining two or more to make it more challenging as they get the hang of it. Get your little one to put each vehicle in the right group. You can also get them to describe the groups or tell you what each vehicle is used for as an extension activity.
A really simple, but valuable aspect that is often overlooked, when playing with toys cars, is motor skills. Picking up, moving and manipulating the vehicles if good for you child's development. If they need some practice on fine motor skill work, how about using play doh? You can get a recipe here for a non toxic version, and stamping the vehicle shapes into it to create a scene? The kids can then use sculpting tools to add building and scenery!
Warning! This require getting messy, but then that means your kids will probably love it. Check out the advice here, in keeping messy play activities limited to one area with a tuff tray!
Texture play is a great way for your little ones to explore different sensations. There are lots of different textures you can choose to use and I would recommend that you change them up, making it interesting. If you would like something ready to go, use sand or pebbles, which can be bought from garden centres. If you would like to make something for your child's sensory play, try water beads, cloud dough or this gross slime.
Using toy cars with these different mediums, allows your child an opportunity to experiment. It also allows a jumping off point for their imaginations to run free. Imagine the stories you could create with a dump truck and some slime!
Simple as it seems, the real strength is using the vehicles as motivation, for the activities. By using your child's favourite toy, you make the activity relevant and engaging for them. They enjoy the experience of learning, so they learn more and continued to be motivated throughout the process.