Developmental Skills While Playing With Cars

Pediatric therapy sessions typically involve a lot of play time! Why? Children learn about their world through play and child playing with car imitation of adults, and play is much more motivating than sitting at a table completing worksheets. When a child plays with a car, here are a few of the skill areas that are targeted:

Cognition while playing with cars:

• Experiencing cause and effect relationships, such as when a car drops down a ramp

• Labeling basic parts of a car

Fine Motor or Hand Skills while playing with cars:

• Strengthing hand-eye coordination skills and improving hand dexterity while building a toy car. Consider building a visual model for your child to copy

• Improving hand coordination and hand dexterity while repairing a car using toy tools. Facilitate this by placing your hand on the child’s and physically moving his hands if necessary

• Practice using both hands simultaneously while turning a steering wheel

Gross Motor or Whole Body Skills while playing with cars:

• Improving strength and coordination while climbing in and out of child-sized car

Speech and Language while playing with cars:

• Vocabulary:

– Parts of a car:

• Wheels

• Buckle

• Steering wheel

• Seat belt

• Door

Early Learning Concepts while playing with cars:

– go/stop

– fast/slow

– on/off

– up/down

– smooth/bumpy

Have fun playing with cars with your child, and know that they are really learning in the process!

2 replies
  1. Marissa Edwards
    Marissa Edwards says:

    Rachel, I love your task analysis for playing with cars, as this is such a fond past time for so many kids, and there is so much that they can learn that is inherent to the activity. I also find that when kids crawl across the floor while pushing a car, they are also developing their arm strength and stability, their shoulder strength and stability, trunk control, and developing the muscles in their wrists and hands in preparation for higher level tasks as they get older. I see a lot of creative play, and ideation that comes out of playing with cars, too. I have also used different toy cars to work on matching colors and identifying colors. Kids can be so motivated by toy cars or trains that they are very willing to engage in new skills or challenging tasks when their favorite car is involved in the process!

  2. Maggie
    Maggie says:

    Wow, I had no idea that playing with toy cars could be so beneficial for the child! It is really important for children to learn about opposites (like on/off), and what they actually mean, so it’s good that cars can help with that. Maybe I’ll consider getting some toy cars for my daughter. She will play with absolutely anything I give her, and I am sure that cars won’t be an exception.


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