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Transport Activities- Have You Done This Before?


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We have a couple of our boys who are really into cars and trains at the moment. We obviously want to follow this interest. We also have children including these boys who love sensory and messy activities. I thought it would be great to let them wash my car with soapy water and sponges, but my staff don't think this is a good idea and feel the children are not learning anything from it!


We are really lucky as we have our own private car park and mine is the only car that is parked their during the morning.


Has anyone else done this and does it work well?


Also any other ideas relating to cars and trains would be great.



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Similarly my car is generally the only one in our car park and regularly gets "washed" by the children. My only worry is that they will pick up grit on the sponges if they drop them and then scrub the car with them, although the car is now 10 years old and I am not that precious about it, I still wouldn't want that to happen, and indeed, they could do it to their parents' cars which would be a shame!


Do you have any sit ons they could wash instead. Ours quite often wash the miniature toy cars. How young are the children, how much of a learning experience could you make it for them? Do they mark make with any sense of meaning to it?


Ours lately have used some of the medium sized cars with good tyre patterns to make tracks on paper having gone through a paint pad first, they liked that. Could yours make their own roadway system from paper stuck to the floor, ours have enjoyed that. Ours have also carried out surveys as we look out onto a busy main road, they are able to tick off what they see, i.e. buses, bikes, cars, lorries, etc. on a tally sheet. We have also a much larger carpark used by a different part of the building and go down and look at the different features on the cars such as their badges, tyres (make rubbings sometimes).

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yes, we have done it, under supervision none of the children dropped anything sponges etc were small enough for the children hands so were easy to manage..

i did a plan to show what learning they were getting from it..


we also did a very successful look under the bonnet, took pictures and they they attempted to make a model of it using the 'junk' box.. they made some very interesting engines, with straws, tubes, boxes paint glue..


and we did tyre rubbings, but this was from the old tyres in the garden


we had cars in the paint... to see the different patterns..


and cars outside using puddles to run them through to see the patterns outside, we made the puddles before they went out as it was a dry day!


then we set a challenge using drainpipes and cars.. how far can the car go from different heights..




have also seen someone use paper on the slide and run the cars down the slide to make a picture.. using paint .. not tried this one ..

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Some of the children in my class love pushing cards down different sized pipes. Last week they made a water slide and had great fun putting cars (and other toys) at the top of an old drain pipe then pouring water down and watching them woosh out!

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Some of the children in my class love pushing cards down different sized pipes. Last week they made a water slide and had great fun putting cars (and other toys) at the top of an old drain pipe then pouring water down and watching them woosh out!


think mine would like to do that too, thanks!

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Are the staff thinking you want a free car wash out of it? Sometimes it takes people a little while to see the value of something new... I'd write up a plan showing what you want to achieve from the car washing activity to show the staff you have thought about this and are looking for best outcomes for the children.


My setting is near enough a Sainsburys with car wash that I could take my children there to safely watch the automatic car wash and compare it to manually washing cars, we also have a Territorial Army site near to us and want to see if we can take the children there to see the big vehicles. As well as several with an interest in cars, I have 1 lad who is very interested in guns and I am hoping this will extend his interests...

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We also have several children who are very interested in cars and trains at the moment. Some of the activities that we have done are also sensory/messy.

cars in shaving foam making marks and tracks

riding cars, bikes and scooters through paint onto large sheets of paper to make tracks

a car/bike wash with lots of bubbles and sponges

painting number plates and attaching them to ride ons

chalking parking spaces onto the playground

drawing around tyres/various sizes, tractors in compost

ramps made from crates and planks of wood/ measuring which car goes the furthest

drawing road maps/train tracks to use with toy vehicles

roleplay train rides/make tickets/line up chairs/make train sounds with instruments

red car traffic jam/using a road mat - every child has a car & when they get to a stop sign if their car is red they have to stop and chose another car/other colours can drive around the traffic jam

making road signs and talking about road safety

pushing toy cars & trains in playdough and looking at the patterns the tyres make

rolling real tyres in the playground

tyre rubbing/patterns

making junk model cars & trains

pushing cars down the slide & drain pipes

building ramps and bridges with large lego bricks and wooden blocks

making large cardboard boxes into cars by drawing wheels and number plates onto the outside


If i could get my car into our playground i'm sure they would love to do a real car wash !!!

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