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.
To extend this further you could cut out simple buildings, trees and other familiar features to build up a city around the roads.
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!
Donna Burge says
I am the grandmother of an 11 month old with a background in education, mostly English, although I have taught Sunday School and VBS multitudes of times. What do you suggest for a great educational, expandable first birthday gift for my granddaughter???
Also I work in Haiti with kids in a feeding program. We do a Bible Story daily with them and a craft with Bible themes would be great. (can’t use colored rice though, too much hunger/malnutrtition!)
Meredith @ Homegrown Friends says
I do this with black contact paper on our floors, but never thought to do it on windows. Such a fantastic idea! Thanks for sharing!
I love this idea of creating a race car track on the window. When my boy was a toddler, I did something similiar. He loved cars, actually he still does. Great activity for a boy or a girl.
imperfectly natural mama says
Love this idea, I remember you used craft foam to create Mattise smail and I thought then what a good idea it was. (That was you wasn’t it?) Anyway, this is another good idea with craft foam, and good to see Bean having a go, she is the same age as my little boy.
Something as simple as putting it on the window instead of the floor can really change the activity – excellent idea! We will definately try this one. My little monsters love making ‘car’ noises. Many thanks.