by Kirby Cooperman and Taniqua Russ
Tire painting: dip wheels in paint and then roll the car over paper. The more cars and colors, the more fun.
Put bubble wrap on the floor and drive some vehicles over it to hear the “pop.”
Put together an ice investigation to see if salt or sand makes the ice less slippery for vehicles driving on it. (Freeze water on a cookie sheet, and roll the cars on the ice to see how slippery it is. Cover half the ice with salt and half with sand. Use a blow dryer to create heat from the sun. Investigate which method – salt or sand – clears icy roads better.)
Make a ramp from a cardboard box and test out how the cars and trucks make it down.
Use painter's tape to create a maze on your floor or driveway. Push the toy car through the maze.
Draw a race track on paper and have the cars go round and round. Race with friends; each kid picks their favorite car.
Drive them through a sensory tray. Strange as it may seem, a tray of unused rice and a few cars can keep a kid happily occupied.
Explore geometry and form a grid with them.
Tape a marker to the front or back and then push the car around on some paper to make a drawing.
Make a road and habitat out of poster board.
Create a board game out of poster board, get a dice or spinner, and have the cars be your playing pieces.
Create a numbered parking lot on a piece of construction paper. Call out a number, and have your kid park his car in that spot. Great way to practice numbers, and works with letters as well.
Print out various road signs and traffic lights from the Internet. Place them on the floor and have your child drive around following the road sign rules. It’s a good way to learn road signs.
Use old recycled bottles and objects to create buildings. Use black foam paper to create the road. Drive your cars through this recycled city.
Make a car puppet! Fold an index card in half and cut 1/3 inch-long slits into the four corners of the cards. Then tie black thread to the wheels of the car and through the slits in the index card.
Use an old tissue box and a straw to create an imaginary gas pump. Cover the box with construction paper and insert a straw through the box. Create a price for your gas and fill up your cars.
Use paper towel tubes to create tunnels for toy cars. Attach them to boxes, doors or walls and see how many fun paths a car can take.
Sources: handsonaswegrow.com/activities-vehicles-cars-trucks-trains; whatdowedoallday.com/2012/09/10-ways-to-play-with-toys-cars.html; toddlertoddler.com; littlefamilyfun.com/2010/02/parking-lot-numbers.html; littlefamilyfun.com/2011/02/car-race-game.html; funathomewithkids.com/2013/04/recycled-car-city-our-little-guy-is.html; kidsactivitiesblog.com/5789/car-marionette-puppet; alittlelearningfortwo.blogspot.com/2010/09/racing-tubes.html