Sunday, April 28, 2013

Toy Cars at Home and in the Classroom

This week the kids and I have been playing with our ever growing collection of Hot Wheels and MatchBox cars. 
It has been a ton of fun!  We have made a car show, a parade, a car wash in the tub, and had races on a ramp.  One afternoon we decided to sort our cars by color.  Madalyn is working on patterns in school so I had her use the cars to make various patterns (AB, AAB, ABC, AABB, etc.).  It got me thinking about how much fun it would be to use toy cars in the classroom.  Here are some of the ideas I came up with.  The mats I made were just quick drafts for pictures and to let Madalyn play with.  I plan on making some mats on the computer that I can use in the classroom. 
Sorting cars by color.  You could also use blank sorting mats and have your students come up with other ways to sort (by type of vehicle, number of doors, newer or older models, etc).
Using the cars to make patterns.
Sight word mats that students can use to trace, or drive the letters of the word.

 Letter or number mats that students can use to "drive" the shape of the letter or number.
This is a sight word parking lot.  I made it last summer to help Madalyn learn her sight words.  It's an idea I saw on Pinterest.  I wrote a sight word on each parking space and had index cards with the sight words on them.  I would pick a card and read the word aloud.  Madalyn would then "drive" one of her cars to that word and "park" in that space.  It was a lot of fun! 
I think students would really enjoy using toy cars as manipulatives.  Most of our cars were less than a dollar each.  Sometimes you can find them on clearance at Target, or even find sets of cars that would be cheaper than buying them individually.  I'm going to start picking up a few for my classroom every time I go to Target or Walmart.  I should have a good amount by fall when I'm back in the classroom.  I hope you can use some of my ideas in your classroom!
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Notes to the teacher