Make an easy and playful car driving activity using craft foam road-way pieces stuck to the window or bath tub! So much fun and a great activity for strengthening shoulder and arm muscles, developing gross motor co-ordination and learning to work on a vertical plane. And simply a great fun activity for toddlers with lots of open-ended possibilities!
You can see from these photos that I am quite behind on writing up some of our play ideas! We had fun with this back in the Spring time and just this week we’ve re-visited it and added a fun, additional learning twist to the play (which will be up on the blog soon!)
My girls LOVE playing with cars, diggers and trains (much to the surprise of some people) and we often try new ways to extend or change up the play. We also love playing on the window, using a new surface for playing in different ways and creating large scale art on. Craft foam sticks beautifully to windows and bath tubs using just water, and we have made modern art masterpieces, seasonal themed murals and mathematical pattern pieces in the past.
This time I simply cut pieces of black craft foam into equal widths, changing the length and shape to become curved roads, bends, turnings or roundabouts (rotaries.) I painted white lines down the middle of each one using everyday kid’s paint and it dried really fast, ready for play time.Then the girls painted water onto the back with brushes and sponges, and stuck the roadway pieces on our large window door. They connected them to make a little city-scape to drive along.
We pulled out the toy cars and trucks and they took it in turns to drive them all over the roads, bending them around curves and making them turn corners. The motions were great for strengthening their arms and shoulders, and practising gross motor skills without even realising it! Those are my favourite ways to work on fine and motor skills, in playful and meaningful ways. Standing to work on a vertical plane like this, and also at an easel for painting, is fantastic for their development and actually a much easier way for them to work than sitting down at a table.
Because of the range of pieces, they were able to create a completely different set up with the road pieces each time, encouraging creativity and on-going, developing play. Baby Bean got fully involved and stood for a long time at the window, maintaining good balance and posture (this was not long after she had started walking!) They made up little stories about what the cars were doing and where the people were going, and added more to the scene themselves.
When the activity was finished we simply took the piece off, let them dry fully then stored them in a box for another day. The window wasn’t stained in any way, it simply had some watermarks where they had played.
See our other ideas for using craft foam on the window and in the bath here!
What they are learning as they play:
motor skills: gross motor development, strengthening arms and shoulders, posture, hand:eye co-ordination
creativity: joining 2D shapes to create a variety of shapes and connections, creating stories and scenarios with small world manipulatives
literacy: making noises to represent sounds and movement e.g. “brrrmmm”, “beep” etc, inventing stories, developing and sustaining a storyline throughout play
Bean: 17 mos
See also our window art ideas here!