Sometimes we have to push our kids outside their comfort zones to help them take on new perspectives, face and overcome challenges, and confront their biases.
I have a growing collection of diecast vehicles that I keep in a nice, inviting basket. And do you know who plays with these cars, trucks, and airplanes? Boys who visit us.
Despite my best efforts at diversifying my childrens’ clothes and play things, I have become zen with the fact that I have two tutu + tiara loving girls who do not play with mini cars. If you want to see what I mean, take a look at this post.
It’s nice to have something that appeals to our friends, but I wondered if I could make these cute mini roadsters more appealing to my fairy princesses.
After my kids went to bed I removed the plastic tablecloth from their art table and laid out a series of roads, parking spaces, and dead-ends with orange paper tape. I love this 10-roll set of 1/2″ Colored Masking Tape from Discount School Supply.
I used paper tape because it’s low-tack and easy to remove from the table without harming the surface. You won’t want to leave it on for days on end, but it’ll do the trick for a couple days.
Then I placed a few vehicles, action figures, and road features around the table as an invitation to play.
Did they bite?
You can see them still in their jammies and stages of undress, eager to play a new game. The beauty of it is that this new game came with a $0.00 price tag.
After a few minutes, 4-year old Nutmeg wanted to peel up some of the tape to make new roads and build better parking areas. She insisted that the airplane remain in this spot until her little sister started to have her own strong opinions.
They enjoyed speeding the cars along the roads, crashing into vehicles and stop signs, and being some of the worst drivers I’ve ever seen.
But they seem to still be fairies at heart, and the play ended after about fifteen minutes. Nutmeg wanted me to remove the tape completely, but I convinced her to allow me to leave it up for her sister.
The next day I converted it into a backyard roadway for their dollhouse. You can see it features as a backdrop in yesterday’s post: Dollhouse Games.
Do your kids enjoy playing with cars? What kind of games do they play? Do you have any tips for making them more fun for children who aren’t natural fans of vehicles?
Hands on: As we Grow has a comprehensive list of 35 activities for Things that Go! It’s great, and will keep active vehicle-fans happy for hours.
What fun! We saw this on FB and then did something similar in my toddlers room. He never needs to be encouraged to play with cars, trains, planes, trucks, but it was fun to see him do something new with them.
That’s a great point, Jen. Something like this can add an extra something to an already enjoyable activity.
My girl is pretty girly, but she loves her train set, and every now and then plays with cars (she also loves construction vehicles!). But I’ll bet she would love a road to play with her cars on. Thanks for the idea.
Glad to add some inspiration, Sarah! And thanks for the comment.
That’s great that you encourage your girls to try something outside their “comfort zone”. The teachers for the 3 year olds did this at our school in the spring as part of a transportation unit and it was a hit. On a different note, I love love love your rainbow play dough & cloud dough recipe and so does my 2.5 year old class! Thanks!
Always, Eleanor! And I’m thrilled to hear that the dough recipes have stood the test of a room full of 2.5 year olds. Wow!
I have a little boy and he’s had a couple of big chunky vehicles (Chuck and Friends from Tonka) since about 16 months old. He just wasn’t that interested until about a month ago at age 22 months and suddenly they’ve became his favorite things.
I recently reorganized his toys however and there’s a box full of things with wheels; I think it helped him see the cars differently. He likes his telephone with wheels but now he sees that other things have wheels too.
I love the cars because they aren’t too hard and they are grasped easily. There’s also a wide variety of types, he has a fire truck, a monster truck, a cement mixer; now when we go to the store I make a point of telling him that we are going to look for new cars and he gets all excited. He has smaller matchbox type cars but he doesn’t really play with them.
So I guess my suggestion is to group the cars with something else. Maybe a transportation box with astronaut costumes, vehicles, airplanes, even fairy wings perhaps.
Throw in some black paper, and yellow masking tape and it will really look real!
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