Toddlers love cars! Well, they love anything on wheels. But cars seem to be the biggest hit. We’ve done many activities in our classroom involving cars, even painting with them! So, I just knew this toddler race car counting activity was going to be popular.
One of the most important lessons I have learned as a teacher is to pay close attention to what my students are interested in. From there, I build on it through hands-on play and learning. This happens all over our classroom, from the block area, to the art table, in the sensory bin, with books we read, even outdoors.
Before we open the doors to greet our toddlers for the morning, we put a lot of thought into how we will set up our classroom. What centers should they be placed in? How should they be presented? This particular week we had several different transportation activities set up in various centers, so I decided to add some race car fun to the block area.
Toddler Race Car Counting
I set out our new race car rug. It comes with 4 numbered cars, so I knew this would be a playful counting and number recognition activity.
After setting up the activity, I sat back and observed. They were immediately drawn to the numbered spots at the pit stop. They pulled each car into the correct spot, then raced them around the track.
Toddlers love to move activities around, so it shouldn’t have surprised me when they moved our tow truck magnetic puzzle beside the carpet. After all, these were also cars. Cars with numbers, just like the race cars and floor mat.
What I didn’t expect them to do is use the tow trucks with the floor mat! As they lifted the cars from the puzzle tray, they moved them onto the floor mat.
They dropped the magnetic tow trucks right onto the pit stop in numerical order. Talk about hands-on learning!
When it was time to go outside, we continued playing with race cars, but in a new way.
Our toddlers are really into sidewalk chalk, so I thought of a way they could create race tracks on the cement. I set out our race car set and some sidewalk chalk and invited them to make race tracks.
Several skills were being strengthened here:
- Counting: each car is numbered, so we had to place them in numerical order. Then, we had to find the driver with the matching number and place him in the car.
- Colors: we had to match the sidewalk chalk with the same-colored race car.
- Fine motor: we worked our entire arm while creating long roads for the race cars.
And then, it was time to race! This was the most exciting part.
The toddlers crawled on all fours as they pushed the cars on their race tracks. And then, they gave them big pushes and let go, to see whose car would go the farthest.
What is most meaningful to your toddlers? How do you provide activities that connect with their interests?
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