6 Ways to Play with Toy Cars

This post is by regular contributor Kate Fairlie of Picklebums. One or two toy cars quickly became ten, and then twenty, and now we have so many cars we barely have room to store them! Over the years our ever expanding collection of toy cars has been enjoyed with by all our four children, and currently our youngest, three year old Noah, is totally obsessed with them! 

Cars are a simple, cheap, accessible toy and can be used in so many ways. Here are some of our favourite ways to play.

6 Ways to Play with Toy Cars

6 Ways to Play with Toy Cars

In the Sand Pit / Sand Tray Sand is great for making roads, or for scooping and dumping. Combine cars with sand and some other natural materials (rocks, small leafy branches, seedpods, etc) in the sand pit or a sand tray for fun small world play. 6 Ways to Play with Toy Cars

Race Them All you need is a large piece of cardboard with a starting line and a finishing line. Find somewhere to rest one end of the ramp to make a slope and you are ready to race. Race two, three or six cars at a time! 

Add some extra excitement by building a block wall for them to smash through! Childhood 101 | 6 Ways to Play with Toy Cars

Make a Tunnel Make a simple tunnel by folding the short edges of a piece of A4 (or letter sized) paper over about a centimetre. Tape one of the folded edges to the floor and then gently roll the paper into a tunnel shape and tape the other folded edge to the floor. Childhood 101 | 6 Ways to Play with Toy Cars

Roads Draw your roads on a big piece of paper or simply transform a large cardboard box into a town. If drawing is not your thing, print out these ready-made roads. Childhood 101 | 6 Ways to Play with Toy Cars

Draw With Them Tape some markers to the back of your cars and zoom around to make art! Childhood 101 | 6 Ways to Play with Toy Cars

Make Your Own Car To make your own car, tuck in or remove the top and bottom flaps of a box, add wheels and some shoulder straps and you are ready to go. Or upscale your child’s car play with a child sized cardboard box car.

Do you have a child who loves to play with toy cars? What is their favourite way to play?

Be sure to check out these other fun play ideas from Kate…

Play with Children of Different Ages


Our Favourite Outdoor ‘Un-toys’


Plants That Are Perfect for Play


Using Props to Sing with Children



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  1. Great ideas!!!

  2. Fantastic ideas! Simple but completely fun and engaging.

  3. Love these ideas! Will definitely be highlighting them to my two car crazy boys!

  4. I love how simple yet creative and fun these ideas are. Thank you so much for sharing! In no time my children and I are playing (with minimal supplies) together and having a blast.

  5. Thanks for linking this great post to Tuesday Tots. I have featured it this week :)

  6. Julie Sacchetta says:

    I loved your article about singing with your children! I teach Kindergarten in Arizona, USA. I sing with my students every day. We love to sing along (and dance, do hand movements, play with puppets) with the music of Dr. Jean. She has lots of CDs and they all have songs on them that teach a skill (days of the week, subtraction, letters and sounds). I would guess that you could find her CDs on Amazon. Her name is Jean Feldman but she goes by Dr. Jean.

  7. Absolutely love the ideas as a know a household currently over-run with cars and lorries. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve tripped over a tank engine or nearly broke a helicopter blade. It did teach the children to tidy away afterwards though, so not all bad.
    One other thing you could do with the cardboard boxes is to paint garage designs onto them, or even save the empty cereal boxes and make skyscrapers with a bit of paper mache creativity to place by the side of the ‘roads’

  8. I can only say wow! Wow! Wow!

    You are wonderful mother

  9. Great ideas!
    Another popular activity in our household is the car wash. A few small containers if water, soapy water , different textured cloths, sponges, paintbrushes… Round up “dirty cars” and spend a warm afternoon getting them Squeaky clean.

  10. LOVED IT SOOOO MUCH. Thanks for sharing. I did at home and shared your idea again at

  11. Amie Miles says:

    My son is similar he loves cars and every day he now asks his dad to bring a little car home when he goes shopping, when wee got to 70 I said we needed to store the cars in a better way as storing them in a storage box was chipping them and it was a shame to pour them out like lego everytime just to find one car! So I did some research and soon found a suitable wall installation using some shoe racks – I went onto my local free site and asked around – only when we tried the shoe rack idea the slats weree too close together and too narrow. One day his dad came home from work with what looked like a blue clothes airer – he had made him a car wall with bolts and slats of wood painted blue (his favourite colour) he now has over 200 cars and he handpicks most of them for 20p from charity shops. We tried the masking tape road and tried to make a lego town but the more I tried to engage in this way the more he looked at me like I was forcing the play – it was less natural – so we made tunnels with cardboard tubes and garages out of ceral boxes – this was much more sucessful and he enjoyed playing car parks much more. I live with a woolen cream carpet so the idea of sand horrified me – we substituted sand for some risotto rice because when I moved in with partner he said he hated the stuff so I had it stored int he cupboard for ages with no idea when to use it up. Little man enjoyed using his dumper trucks and emergency vehicles pretending it was a snow storm in a large oven tray – the spillages could be brushed up and put back in – soon some harricot beans aka ‘rocks’ were added and some foil shapes and it just became a sensory tray with foam squares being added at a later stage – he then enjoyed sorting the tray into jars which is interesting play to follow on from diggers and dumper trucks. Our other real sucess story is home made play doh rolled flat snakes to make roads with a line scored in the middle to make it a two way road. I know now the best way to play is to step back and watch rather than force the play – I even tried a science/maths experiment where we used hotwheels loop the loop to see how far the car would jump in relation to how much it weighed – there was a small possitive correlation in the data but it was more fun to just weigh the cars I had no idea how much they weighed.

  12. Very good ideas. I love it when people think outside the box and don’t just stick to the ordinary ways to play with things, but think up new ways to use toys. Well done.


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