Kids of all ages love playing with toy cars. But what are the benefits of toy cars for young children and why should they play with them?
Kids can play with toy cars inside or out and they dream up ways to play with them that adults never even though of!
There’s little doubt that playing with toy cars can provide a child with hours of entertainment. This is often a huge benefit to parents because it gives them time to complete tasks.
However, in addition to being tons of fun to play with, toy cars also have a number of benefits for kids.
Benefits of Toy Cars for Toddlers
When toddlers are first introduced to toy cars, they instantly recognize them as something familiar (ie replicas of their parents vehicles). However, they may not use the cars for the purpose that the cars are intended.
It’s not unusual to see toddlers banging the cars on the floor or banging two cars together. They may throw the toy car, or try and fit them into the holes in shape sorter.
Whatever the child does when first introduced to toy cars, they’re getting benefits from these toys. Here’s a look at some of those benefits for toddlers:
- Development of Motor Skills: Picking up small toy cars requires young children to exercise and further develop their fine motor skills. Banging or throwing these cars also helps to develop their gross motor skills.
- Development of Hand-Eye Coordination: Playing with toy cars can help toddlers develop hand-eye coordination. Picking them up, banging them together, and trying to fit them into holes in other toys all help develop their ability to match their hand movements to what they see.
- Bonding with Parents and Siblings: Often parents, older siblings, and even grandparents will get down on the floor and play cars with the toddlers. This provides bonding time for the child, and an opportunity to play with others. Many times having someone to play with is more important than the toy that is being played with.
Benefits of Toy Cars for Preschoolers
As toddlers grow into preschoolers, they tend to play with cars more the way the toys are intended to be played with.
They push them all over the house, yard, or sandbox as they pretend to be driving them. They often make roads for their cars to drive on and incorporate other objects and toys in their play.
At this stage, preschoolers get the following benefits from playing with cars:
Imaginative Play: At this age, kids begin to use cars to engage in imaginative play.
Often they’ll pretend they are driving down the road, going to the store, and doing other activities that they find fun.
Acting out Daily Occurrences: Children often incorporate real life into their imaginative play.
This gives them a better understanding of the world around them and things that happen in their life.
For example, they may pretend that their car has a flat tire, or that it’s driving through the car wash.
The more understanding the child has of the world around them the more complex their imaginative play becomes.
Exploration and Experimentation: As children get adept at playing with cars, they use them as a mechanism for exploration and experimentation.
For example, a child may build a ramp to make their car go faster. They then will build the ramp higher and higher to see how fast the car will go without falling off the ramp.
Children may also see if they can get their cars to float or create jumps for the cars.
So without even knowing it, kids will be experimenting with scientific principles such as gravity and physics, improving their cognitive skills the entire time they’re playing.
Painting With Cars
Toy cars can also be used to create toddler art. Painting with cars is fun for toddlers and allows their creativity to flow while teaching them about patterns and even about mixing colors.
This is an activity that’s best done outside and here are some tips for engaging your toddler or preschooler in this activity.
- Choose cars with different tire treads so that different vehicles will make different patterns. You may also want to use different size vehicles so you have small treads and large treads
- Choose a large poster board for the art work
- Use the 3 primary colors of red, yellow and blue and place each color into a different paint pan or container that’s large enough to roll the cars wheels through
- Have your child gently dip their toy car’s tires into one of the colors of the paint and drive their vehicle over the poster board. Then choose another vehicle and another color of paint and drive over the poster board
- Allow your child to create whatever pattern they’d like and let their imagination soar
- When you’re all done, allow the poster board to dry and wash the toy cars in warm soapy water
Make sure that your kids are wearing old clothes for this activity because it can get very messy!
However, the mess will be worth it since your kids are sure to enjoy the activity.
They’ll enjoy discovering the different patterns that different tires make, and they’ll be intrigued at how they ‘magically’ create a new color by driving one color though another.
My mom had a stash of toy cars in her basement and every time my nephew came to visit, the first thing he’d do is run downstairs and start hauling up a bunch of toy cars.
He had loads of fun with those toy cars and we all have some great memories of playing cars with him.
Most young kids learn better when they’re having fun.
Toy cars are a great way to provide them with all kinds of opportunities for fun, learning, and adventure.
And it’s awesome that such a simple toy has so many wonderful benefits for kids.