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Vroom! Rolling Out Our Best Toy Cars of 2021

2021-11-16 by Melissa & Doug
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If it rolls on wheels, flies through the air, floats on water, or rides on tracks, kids can be obsessed with all things relating to vehicles—both in real life, and with their toys.

Child playing with Melissa & Doug Car Carrier Truck

The Car Toys and Vehicle Toys Your Little Driver Will Love!

If you’ve got a car-crazed kiddo at home, you’re in luck when it comes to gifting, because we’re showcasing our best toy cars of 2021—not to mention our other vehicle toys—in this special toy cars edition of our blog.

Buckle up, buttercups, let’s go for a drive! Just make sure you go the speed limit while you cruise past our best toy cars of 2021, so you don’t miss a single sweet ride for your mini-motorist.

 Best Toy Cars & Vehicles

Mega Race Car Carrier

 

Girl playing with Melissa & Doug Mega Race Car CarrierAges: 3+
Why it’s great: This giant hauler comes stocked with six unique cars and unlimited play possibilities! Lower the upper deck to let the fleet of race cars roll off of the truck and race around. Comes with variety of colors, designs, and numbers on the sides of the race cars.
Sweet detail: Ask any kid what’s so great about this big truck full of race cars, and they’ll give you an even better answer: It’s huge—2.5 feet when extended—and super-cool!
Skills: Fine motor, gross motor, counting, color recognition, narrative thinking
Countless Ways to Play: DIY RACETRACK—Encourage kids to set up a race course with a starting line, finish line, and obstacles. Then, have fun racing the cars! Optional: have kids draw a driving course on extra-large construction paper or make one on the floor with blocks or masking tape.

Car Carrier Truck & Cars Wooden Toy Set

Melissa & Doug Car Carrier toy truck vehicleAges: 3+
Why it’s great: This cool wooden truck has a big job: delivering four colorful cars to their new homes! Its upper level lowers to let the cars drive on, then lifts smoothly to hold two of the cars when it’s time to roll out.
Sweet detail: These cars are also compatible with all standard wooden train tracks, which means your kid gets more mileage from the fun!
Skills: Gross motor, fine motor, imaginative play
Countless Ways to Play: RAMP IT UP—Make a match game for your little truck driver: Arrange the cars in different variations on the ramps, then have your kids play concentration and match what you did.

Emergency Vehicle Carrier

Boy playing with Melissa & Doug Emergency Vehicle CarrierAges: 3+
Why it’s great: This giant two-level tractor-trailer comes stocked with four wooden emergency vehicles, and delivers unlimited play possibilities! Lower the upper deck to extend the truck to nearly two feet long and to allow the vehicles to roll off and race to the rescue. There’s a helicopter with rotating blade, a fire engine, police car, and ambulance, so kids can respond to any imaginative emergency.
Sweet detail: Classic design and sturdy construction is sure to last through years of hands-on play.
Skills: Fine motor, hand-eye coordination
Countless Ways to Play: RESCUE ADVENTURE—Have your kiddo relay an awesome adventure story, using the Emergency Vehicle Carrier to spring into action to save other toys, like figures, plushies, and dolls.

Wooden Train Cars

Child playing with Melissa & Doug Wooden Train CarsAges: 3+
Why it’s great: All aboard for some railroad adventures! Eight wooden train cars, each approximately 3 inches long, link together with magnetic couplers in endless combinations. Brightly painted and beautifully crafted train cars include a steam engine, caboose, coal car, passenger car, and more. Pieces all store neatly in the compartmentalized wooden tray.
Sweet detail: This set is sized to play perfectly with Melissa & Doug activity rugs or on its own.
Skills: Fine motor, imaginative play, sequencing, sorting, hand-eye coordination
Countless Ways to Play: TRAIN TALES—Encourage your child to tell a story using the train cars for inspiration. Have them connect all of the train cars, and then tell you where the train is going, what stops it’s making, who’s getting on and off, and what they see along the countryside as the train chugs along!

Magnetic Car Loader

Melissa & Doug Magnetic Car Loader Truck Vehicle ToyAges: 3+
Why it’s great: Car- and truck-loving kids will love discovering endless play possibilities as they roll this wooden truck toy all around the house and to the ends of their imaginations. It’s one terrific wooden vehicle set with so much to offer: Link up the trailer to the car carrier to take the four magnet-topped cars for a drive, then unload each one at its destination. Then load the cars again and roll out!
Sweet detail: This big red rig has a magnetic arm that can reach every car on its trailer!
Skills: Fine motor, hand-eye coordination, imaginative play, sorting, sequencing
Countless Ways to Play: RACE ANNOUNCER—Have your child pretend to be the race day announcer, and narrate the action as the four cars race around your homemade track or one of Melissa & Doug’s amazing activity rugs.

Animal Rescue Wooden Play Set

Melissa & Doug Safari Shape Sorter Truck ToyAges: 2+
Why it’s great: Animal rescue rangers to the rescue! With this rugged safari truck, two cheerful naturalists are ready to zoom across the savanna to help their animal friends. The alligator, zebra, rhinoceros, elephant, giraffe, hippopotamus, and lion fit into the sides of the wooden truck through die-cut slots. Lift and remove the cargo door to unload the colorful animals, then count and stack the solid-wood pieces before loading the truck and securing the door in its track.
Sweet detail: Vibrant patterns add a “wild” touch that animal-loving kids will adore!
Skills: Shape recognition, fine motor, hand-eye coordination, imaginative play, sorting
Countless Ways to Play: ANIMAL HOSPITAL— Set up an “animal hospital” using blocks or an empty box. Have kids be one of the rescue rangers who picks up sick animals, nurses them to health in the hospital, and returns them to the wild.

Service Station Parking Garage

Boy playing with Melissa & Doug Service Station Parking Garage Toy Ages: 3+
Why it’s great: This all-in-one service station is truly full service! Park the two included wooden cars in the parking garage with movable elevator or pull them through the car wash. Don’t forget to fill up at the gas pump before getting the cars serviced at the garage with sliding doors.
Sweet detail: Includes built-in handle that makes it the perfect take-along toy.
Skills: Fine motor, hand-eye coordination, problem solving, and imaginative play
Countless Ways to Play: CAR CONCENTRATION—Drive one car through the entire garage, then ask your child to memorize the route you took. Challenge them to complete the same route from memory. You can even add a timed trial to increase the difficulty!

Dump Truck

Melissa & Doug Shape Sorting Wooden Dump Truck Vehicle ToyAges: 2+
Why it’s great: “Drive” home the building blocks of basic math skills with this multi-faceted shape sorter and wooden truck in one! Wheels roll smoothly to deliver the blocks anywhere. Lift the back door and tilt the container to dump the blocks and start again! Two included play figures fit snuggly into the cab of this superbly crafted toy.
Sweet detail: The nine brightly-colored shaped wooden blocks fit into cut-outs on three sides of the dump truck, making a satisfying “clunk” as they land in the hardwood truck bed!
Skills: Color and shape recognition, sorting, creative play, imaginative play
Countless Ways to Play: DUMP TRUCK DETECTIVE—Ask the child to identify the name and color of each shape. Then, dump out all the shapes, and challenge them to sort them back into the truck as quickly as possible. Increase the difficulty by adding a timed trial, or challenging them to sort shapes in a particular order of your choosing.

Wooden Town Vehicles Set

Melissa & Doug 9-Piece Wooden Town Vehicles SetAges: 3+
Why it’s great: Get the good times rolling all over town with these sturdy wooden vehicles! The nine-piece set includes a recycling truck, mail truck, school bus, tow truck, fire engine, ice cream truck, city bus, ambulance, and delivery truck, each approximately 4 inches long. All are brightly colored, easy to identify, and fun for kids to grasp and maneuver.
Sweet detail: Designed to play perfectly with Melissa & Doug Activity Rugs!
Skills: Fine motor, imaginative play, sorting
Countless Ways to Play: PLAY TOWN NARRATOR—Encourage the child to tell a story using the vehicles. Ask them to give names to the imaginary drivers and passengers, and talk about where they are going and why.

Wooden Construction Site Vehicles

Melissa & Doug 8-Piece Wooden Construction Vehicle Toy SetAges: 3+
Why it’s great: It’s time to get constructive fun rolling with these sturdy wooden vehicles! The eight-piece set includes a steam roller, cement mixer, forklift, dump truck, front loader, crane, and backhoe, each approximately 4 inches long, and a construction piece to lift and load. All are brightly colored with lots of moving parts that are fun for kids to grasp and maneuver, and the construction vehicles store conveniently or can be displayed in the compartmentalized wooden tray.
Sweet detail: Designed to play perfectly with Melissa & Doug Activity Rugs!
Skills: Fine motor, hand-eye coordination, imaginative play, sorting
Countless Ways to Play: FUN FOREMAN—Talk to kids about what each of the vehicles is called—bulldozer, forklift, crane, excavator, steamroller, dump truck, cement truck—and how the moving parts on the vehicles help each of them to do something different.

Nesting & Sorting Building & Vehicles

Melissa & Doug Nesting & Sorting Building and Vehicles ToyAges: 3+
Why it’s great: This action-packed play set lets kids build towers or a town scene filled with buildings like a hospital, fire station, or school, with a wooden vehicle for every building. On their front panels, the blocks feature doors so the vehicles have a place to park. Kids can also pair numbers on the buildings and vehicles or match by color to put together the correct pairs, reinforcing early-learning concepts as they play.
Sweet detail: The buildings nest together for neat and easy storage!
Skills: Sorting, stacking, numbers, matching, fine motor, imaginative play
Countless Ways to Play: VEHICLE GOLF—Have kids line up all the buildings with the doors facing the same direction. Mark a “tee” about three feet away and challenge kids to push a vehicle so it rolls into its matching building! Increase difficulty by moving the starting line farther away. Make it a contest by dividing the vehicles and seeing who can roll all of theirs into the matching buildings first!

Horse Carrier Wooden Vehicles Play Set

Melissa & Doug Horse Carrier Truck Vehicle ToyAges: 3+
Why it’s great: Load the two flocked horses into the trailer of this wooden big rig vehicle and you’re ready to hit the road! The horse carrier comes with a pull-down ramp so that the horses can be loaded and unloaded with ease.
Sweet detail: The horse figures come flocked, which means they have a fuzzy exterior coating so it feels like a real horse coat!
Skills: Fine motor, language development, imaginative play, creative expression
Countless Ways to Play: SHOW PONIES—Ask your child to put on a pretend exhibition to showcase the two ponies—dress them up, parade them around a track, create obstacles for them to jump, and hand out medals!

Keys & Cars Rescue Garage

Melissa & Doug Keys & Cars Rescue Garage Vehicle ToyAges: 3+
Why it’s great: Behind the three doors of this take-along garage are three rescue vehicles ready to roll into action! Match the colored keys to unlock the doors, slide the door to open the garage, press the buttons to release the ramp, and send the vehicles racing to the rescue.
Sweet detail: Sturdy handle on top makes this a perfect on-the-go toy!
Skills: Gross motor, fine motor, imaginative play, matching
Countless Ways to Play: RESCUE DISPATCHER—Come up with different emergencies, and challenge your child to choose which rescue vehicle is appropriate for your adventure. Flip the script and ask THEM to come up with adventures!

Wooden Classic School Bus

Melissa & Doug Wooden Classic School Bus Vehicle ToyAges: 3+
Why it’s great: The school bus is here! There’s a friendly driver at the wheel and room for six happy passengers in this eight-piece wooden play set. With easy-rolling wheels and a door that opens and closes, this exciting set stars a timeless-favorite vehicle and includes all the solid-wood play figures kids need to fill the seats.
Sweet detail: Durable wooden construction means the fun will go on through countless pickups and drop-offs!
Skills: Fine motor, sorting, matching, counting, imaginative play
Countless Ways to Play: BUS FRIENDS—Ask your child to name each of the figures and tell a story for each one: what they’re going to do at school that day, where they get picked up and dropped off, how their day went at school, who their friends are, and more.

PAW Patrol Wooden ABC Block Truck

Melissa & Doug PAW Patrol Wooden ABC Block Truck Vehicle ToyAges: 3+
Why it’s great: PAW Patrol™ is on a roll! Arrange wooden blocks on attached dowels on this sturdy wooden hauler vehicle or stack them in countless combinations. Blocks include letters, numbers, shapes, scenes to piece together (borders are color-coded), and PAW Patrol™ characters. PAW Patrol™ is always ready to help, inspiring preschoolers with a blend of teamwork, adventure, and humor as they develop social, emotional, and developmental skills through play.
Sweet detail: Three wooden play figures add lots of pretend play opportunities!
Skills: Fine motor, letter and number recognition, problem-solving, storytelling
Countless Ways to Play: STACK THE BLOCKS—Get out a stop watch, and challenge your little builder to stack the blocks as fast as possible. Make it more challenging by giving them different configurations and character combos, too!

Best Vehicle Play Tents & Car Play Sets

Food Truck Play Tent

Melissa & Doug Food Truck Play Tent Vehicle ToyAges: 3+
Why it’s great: There’s plenty of room to get playtime cooking and to satisfy hungry imaginations in this roomy two-in-one food truck play tent! With service windows on both sides, the large, sturdy fabric playhouse lets kids pretend to serve barbecue from one side and ice cream from the other. It stands more than three feet tall and nearly four feet long, giving plenty of space for multiple kids to play. The trucks exterior is covered with vibrant, incredibly detailed, realistic full-color artwork.
Sweet detail: This unique play space comes packed with playful details, such as door and window flaps that roll up, a roof flap that opens, mesh fabric in the front window, durable floor material, and it includes a double-sided reusable menu to make ordering extra fun!
Skills: Imaginative play, social-emotional development
Countless Ways to Play: SPECIAL OF THE DAY—Ask your little food truck owner to help come up with a new menu every time they play, and practice writing it down on the reusable menu for a little preschool practice boost!

Fire Truck Play Tent

Melissa & Doug Fire Truck Play Tent Vehicle ToyAges: 3+
Why it’s great: There’s plenty of room to get playtime adventures rolling and let imaginations race to the rescue in this roomy and exciting fire truck play tent! The large, sturdy fabric playhouse stands nearly four feet long and more than three feet tall, giving plenty of space for multiple kids to play. The fire truck exterior is covered with vibrant, full-color artwork showing hoses, dials, lights, and firefighting equipment.
Sweet detail: This unique play space comes packed with playful details: a back door flap that rolls up, a roof flap that opens, gas cap that flips up, mesh fabric in the windows, and durable floor material. A reusable checklist attaches to the outside of the fire truck, too!
Skills: Imaginative play, social-emotional development
Countless Ways to Play: RESCUE RACE—If your child is big enough, have them stand inside the play tent, pick it up, and challenge them to a timed trial race course around your house or outside if weather permits. 

PAW Patrol Rescue Mission Wooden Dashboard

Melissa & Doug PAW Patrol Rescue Mission Wooden Dashboard Vehicle ToyAges: 3+
Why it’s great: Rev up playtime and have hours of imaginative adventures in the driver’s seat with the PAW Patrol™ pups! Press buttons to choose the pups for the mission and hear multiple phrases for each, then press the paw print “mission start” button to hear Ryder give mission instructions based on the pups chosen for the job—there are hundreds of possible combinations, and kids can choose to hear him in English, French, or Spanish! Other features include a horn that beeps, a siren button, blinkers that click, and a microphone for voice recording and playback!
Sweet detail: Turn the removable key to hear the engine rev and shift the gear to “D” to start the scrolling GPS—turn the steering wheel to keep the vehicle on the GPS track!
Skills: Fine motor, imaginative play, language
Countless Ways to Play: ADVENTURE BAY TOUR GUIDE—Ask your child to take you on a “driving” tour of Adventure Bay, home of the PAW Patrol pups, and have them play tour guide, describing everything there is to see and do there!

Best Car Rugs & Toys

Deluxe Road Rug Play Set

Melissa & Doug Deluxe Road Rug Play SetAges: 3+
Why it’s great: Create a world of adventures, from a bustling town to a busy barnyard! This deluxe play set includes a soft and durable machine-washable activity rug, and 49 wooden play pieces to bring it to life. Pieces include construction vehicles, cars and trucks, play people, buildings, farm equipment and structures, animals, traffic signs, and more!
Sweet detail: The soft 39-inch by 36-inch (100 cm by 91 cm) rug with skid-proof backing and reinforced border binding has room for multiple kids to play.
Skills: Imaginative play, social-emotional development, creative expression, fine motor
Countless Ways to Play: MAYOR FOR A DAY—Ask your child to name all the people who live and work in the town; have them name all the streets and business; have them tell you who does what, and make up stories about what happens there each day.

Round the Town Road Rug & Car Set

Melissa & Doug Road Rug with two children playing on itAges: 3+
Why it’s great: This colorful road rug comes with four cars to drive on looping streets and lanes—and its varied terrain makes it ideal for trains, chunky play figures, and vehicles of all kinds! Durably made to look great for countless playtimes to come, the woven rug features a handsome farm surrounded by a circular road system, which connects a school, parking lot, grocery store, lakeshore, and more, all in a convenient arrangement that makes it easy for kids to play.
Sweet detail: Skid-proof backing is safe on all floor surfaces, and durable material is machine-washable.
Skills: Fine motor, imaginative play, counting, numbers & sequences
Countless Ways to Play: PRETZEL PLAY—Place the cars around the rug and have kids stand in the center circle. Challenge them to move the cars with their hands and feet according to your instructions. For instance, you could say, “Move the red car to the school,” or, “Make the purple car and the yellow car switch places” or “touch the sailboat with your left foot” and make a twisty game of it!

Round the Speedway Race Track Rug & Car Set

Melissa & Doug Round the Speedway Rug Play SetAges: 3+
Why it’s great: Race the cars around the track, to the pit stop, past the cheering crowds, and all the way to the winner’s circle! With this rug, there are lots of ways to learn and play. Includes four wooden race cars to speed around the tracks! The extra-large format is big enough for multiple kids and lots of cars. Numbered cars and parking spaces add counting and sequencing fun.
Sweet detail: Skid-proof backing is safe on all floor surfaces, and durable material is machine-washable.
Skills: Fine motor skills, imaginative play, counting, numbers & sequences, co-op play
Countless Ways to Play: POLE POSITION—Choose a pace car and designate a route around the rug. Ask the child to watch your car and then to follow the same route from memory. Take turns being the leader and the follower as you change the race route around the rug!

Deluxe Multi-Vehicle Activity Rug

Melissa & Doug Deluxe Multi-Vehicle Activity RugAges: 3+
Why it’s great: Create a world of endless adventures! Use the four train cars, 13 on-road road vehicles, helicopter, and boat to visit the train station, firehouse, school, market, hospital, recycling center, lake, and more on the illustrated play rug. Arrange and rearrange 12 included wooden traffic signs. The set includes an oval, wooden train track with a three-piece train bridge/tunnel and working railroad crossing gates! The over-sized (39.5″ x 36.5″) durable rug is stain resistant and machine washable with skid-proof backing and a reinforced border binding for years of imaginative, hands-on play!
Sweet detail: The helicopter blades turn, the cement mixer and dump truck spin and tilt, and the wheeled trains attach with magnetic couplers.
Skills: Fine motor skills, imaginative play, narrative play, sorting, co-op play
Countless Ways to Play: STREET SIGN CONCENTRATION—Arrange the 12 included wooden traffic signs into different patterns; show your child, then challenge them to recreate what you showed them. Up the difficulty by adding a timed trial, and quiz them on what each sign means.

PAW Patrol Activity Rug – Adventure Bay

Melissa & Doug PAW Patrol Activity Rug - Adventure BayAges: 3+
Why it’s great: PAW Patrol™ is on a roll and ready for adventure with this soft and sturdy activity rug! Kids can set up their own Adventure Bay and create countless missions with 21 wooden play figures, buildings, a bridge, and vehicles. The extra-large format is big enough for multiple kids and lots of vehicles and play pieces for storytelling fun!
Sweet detail: The 44-inch by 26-inch rug is made from durable material that’s machine washable, and features a skid-proof backing that’s safe on all floor surfaces, and a reinforced border binding that prevents fraying.
Skills: Fine motor, sorting, imaginative play, narrative play, social-emotional development, sorting
Countless Ways to Play: PUP HIDE & SEEK—Hide the various character figures and play pieces around your actual home, then challenge your kids to find them! Give them clues to track each piece down, or play the classic “hot or cold” game to help them locate the fun.

Don’t miss these other great blog posts on toy vehicles, wooden toys & more:

Playtime with Toy Vehicles

Tips for Selection Wooden Vehicles for Girls and Boys

Play It Safe! Teaching Kids About Safety Through Play

 

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Melissa & Doug

Our team of play experts occasionally enjoys sharing news about our company, new product launches, and some of the #CountlessWaysToPlay with our toys, crafts, and games. At Melissa & Doug, we’re on a mission to inspire the innovators of tomorrow through kid-powered play!

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