Mini Driver's Ed
Toy cars have provided hours and hours of fun for our kiddos - from the classic drive and crash to elaborate block city scenarios, tiny vehicles have been a mainstay in our toy repetoire. I'm a huge supporter of play for the pure joy of it and believe that play is a child's work. However, if you're looking for some slightly more pointed learning activities for your car-loving kids and the piles of miniature vehicles that make their way into our homes, the following two activities are great for preschool through grade one, depending on the child.
We adore Plan Toys' vehicles for their warm and inviting wooden materials and plant dyes, in case you're still on the market for some fantastic eco-friendly options. EcoParent Magazine also has several toy guides in various issues with great tips on eco-friendly playthings. Wooden toys can be pricey so check your local classified sites like Kijiji, and sales at your local toy stores. You'll do the planet and your pocketbook a favour! We were fortunate to spy a large display airport set, that would retail for over one hundred dollars, at a sidewalk sale at our beloved local toy store for ten dollars!
If you have older kids, you can make an activity out of having them set up these fun activities for their younger siblings. They'll get to use their organzational, art and writing skills while you grab a few sips of your coffee.
Colour Matching Cars
- Sticker labels or slips of paper and tape
- Coloured pencils, crayons, markers, or paint in a variety of colours
- Toy vehicles in a variety of colours
Make your coloured labels or slips of paper and stick them onto a basket or tray so that the cars don't go overboard. Present the activity by placing a basket of cars or vehicles next to the parking area. You can make this an invitation to play and learn by simply setting it out on a coffee table, or you can work on it alongside your child as a shared activity.
- Four baskets or bins
- Toy vehicles of all types - cars, planes, boats, etc.
- 3 pieces of paper or cardstock
- Markers or pencil crayons
In one basket, place all of your toy vehicles, mixed up in no particular order. On each piece of paper write one category of vehicle - land, water, or air. If your child isn't reading, simply add a drawing to help them decode the sign on the basket. Place the signs on or in front of the baskets. Invite your child to classify their vehicles into the appropriate baskets. As with the activity above, this can be left out as an invitation to play or done alongside your child.
I have found that setting these kinds of activities out can lead to hours of play after the initial activity is completed. Add in some wood blocks, or maybe a play mat with roads on it like the handmade one shown below, and your kiddos will be set for an entire morning or afternoon of exploration!