Toy Cars and Vehicles Buying Guide
Vehicles are a part of our daily lives, so whether your family takes the bus, drives a personal car or lives on a busy street, kids recognize the important role that vehicles play in getting people from here to there. Toy cars and trucks fascinate children with their motion and pretend play possibilities.
Playing with toy cars offers kids the chance to make driving sounds, crash cars, and drive too fast around the corners, among other fun things. There are realistic toy trucks, simple wooden cars, crazy remote control rides, cars to build, trucks for toddlers and so much more!
There are so many ways to play!
Features to Consider
Toy cars can be as simple or complex as you want. Cars without sounds, lights and motors are great introductory items, and they also give kids a greater chance to engage their imaginations. But lights, sounds, and extras can be just as fun for young minds, while still allowing for pretend play opportunities – the added effects don’t force play in one direction, but can help open it up to even more options.
Another classic item, remote control cars are not only fascinating for growing children, but they help kids develop spatial awareness and coordination through play. And, some of our highly detailed construction or work trucks include lots of details and moving parts that allow kids to engage in realistic pretend play!
Open-ended, unguided play
- If you’re looking for toys with open-ended dramatic play benefits, the simpler the better!
- Look for wooden, kid-powered cars and trucks without batteries, sounds, or lights
- Open-ended car play goes great when coupled with wooden building blocks
- While some vehicles are quite imaginative, most toy trucks and cars are based on the vehicles kids see every day
- Many of these items are scaled like the real thing or include all of the details and added features that make for dramatic play based on what children actually see
- Remote control toys teach kids fine motor control and spatial reasoning skills – and they are fun!
- Toy vehicles with batteries can do a lot more on their own, challenging children to play and interact with them in a different way
Some Age Group Suggestions
12 months to 3 years
- Chunky and colorful cars with rounded edges and no small parts
- Simple cars that allow kids to use their imaginations and are great introductions to vehicle play
4 to 6 year olds
- Kits and sets that challenge kids to build their own finished products, combining creative building and the fun of playing with cars
- Realistic construction trucks or service vehicles make for pretend play based on the things children see in their daily lives
- Vehicle play sets provide an added dimension to the singular vehicle by including accessories that help to enhance pretend play
7 year olds and up
- Car building and craft kits are a fun way to let kids design their own toy vehicles
- Outdoor airplane kits and remote control airplanes
- More advanced remote control car play
- Circuit kits and electric cars teach kids about the science behind the motion
It goes without saying that if you are providing children with an exciting vehicle, then you have to give them lots of space to build roads and cities so that their cars can drive freely. Most times, these supplies are not provided, but rather built by children on their own. Many look to wooden blocks to get the job done! Help improve the experience by coming up with unique way to incorporate familiar car activities, like car washes and gas stations made out of cardboard or paper.
When you have an expanding collection of toy cars, many of which are not small but large and full of details, you risk a floor covered in pedestrian traps and a lack of storage space. You can think of cool ways to categorize and store your cars. Try a toy box with differently sized dividers for all of the cars or low shelves that kids can access. You can show kids how to keep their cars neat and in order and even turn clean up into a game!
Top Developmental Benefits
Not all toy cars are meant to have logical benefits. But as children grow, there are many ways that they can turn car play into an experience that develops their logical thinking. Whether kids have to think about how to turn a less realistic car into a vehicle that is more true-to-life or they have to consider how a vehicle really works, they spend time pretending, recreating, and dreaming. As children grow, they can develop logical skills by building model cars or playing with moving parts.
Kids are engaged in spatial learning when they move cars around their play environment, understanding how the vehicles relate to their surroundings. This concept is especially true with remote control cars, since cars can speed around the house or the outdoors. As kids learn to control the movements of an object using a handheld controller, they learn about the distances and spatial relationships between objects.
Toy cars and vehicles lend themselves to very fulfilling intrapersonal play. Kids can be engaged for in their own little worlds when they’re surrounded by cars and vehicles.
Types of Play
Toy cars are perfect manipulative play toys! When kids push them around along the floor, drive them over banisters and into the sandbox, they’re working muscles and practicing coordination. Model-building toys take the manipulative play to the next level!
These toys make excellent dramatic play companions. As kids motor around, dig and build with toy vehicles, they’re learning about the real world as they imagine their own stories! And, when you add play sets and accessories to the mix, there really is no end to the scenarios that kids can play out.