Whether they’re our own kids, or those of friends and family, many of us don’t pause to consider the role of play in children’s lives. We just take it for granted that they spend spare moments pushing toy trucks around or pretending to be dragons (or sometimes both) and while it’s fun (definitely for them, and sometimes for us) don’t assign it much significance beyond that.

It’s the perfect moment to introduce play with cars, dump trucks and other vehicles. Not that they’ll probably need much encouragement: boys, particularly, seem drawn to anything with wheels even before their first birthday (research with male monkeys showed even they preferred wheeled toys to dolls). But girls may benefit from some gentle encouragement as there are loads of educational benefits, as well as fun, to be gained from vehicle play.

Benefits of Toy Cars in Toddlers for Child Development

It can improve a child’s ‘gross motor skills’ – these are the big physical movements like reaching, bending, pushing, pulling, as well as balance and co-ordination. By forcing children to exercise gross and fine motor skills.

Playing with cars may aid your child’s emotional, social and physical development.
CREDIT: MARKUS SPISKE / UNSPLASH

In the simplest sense, kids learn to move things around. They see how quickly or slowly the toys roll and learn about what they can do depending on how much pressure they apply. It’s an early lesson in knowing one’s own strength. Read on for the 3 top benefits of toy cars for toddlers’ development.

Exposure to STEM Learning

If you’re a parent, in the last couple of years you have been bombarded with messages about STEM education. From curriculum changes to toys that are STEM-based, this acronym is popping up everywhere.

If you haven’t heard, STEM learning is about education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Yet, instead of treating these disciplines as separate, the STEM approach focuses on real-world applications of all four as one cohesive learning model.

Playing with cars may aid your child’s emotional, social and physical development.
CREDIT: KELLY SIKKEMA / UNSPLASH

But before you go out and buy a dozen toys with a STEM sticker on them, have a look at how toy cars are already fulfilling that type of learning. Toy cars teach kids about trajectory as they launch their mini cars off a loop-de-loop. They learn about velocity, distance, gravity, weight and so much more.

STEM-based education is all about doing rather than watching. And toy cars and trucks allow children that opportunity even before they walk into a classroom. Whatever you do, don’t feel that you need to do more as a mom to give your child more access to STEM learning. Trust us, they are learning by playing.

Focus on Fine Motor Skills

Playing with small toy cars build a child’s fine motor skills. They develop hand-eye coordination and dexterity in both their hands as kids pick up, carry, throw, push and pull small toy cars around.

Fine motor skills are vital. These skills are built upon each other. So grasping and moving toy cars makes it possible for a child to later hold a pencil, cut with scissors and bead a necklace. Once they progress to remote control cars, they enhance their understanding of dexterity and hand-eye coordination.

Cognitive Development

Children learn through playing. And it’s that play-based learning that builds their understanding (or cognition). They begin to learn about the world and their role in it. They know they get in a car to drive to places.

Playing with cars and trucks puts them in the driver’s seat for once. Kids love to be in control of their environment. And while they are years away from getting behind the wheel, they can begin to exert their free will as they play with small cars.

They learn about cause and effect when they play with small cars. They learn that it’s possible for a whole to be comprised of individual parts. They learn the word car first. Soon they know about tires, doors, windows and so on.

Don’t forget to follow A Matter Of Style on Instagram for more great decorating ideas for kids and babies and take a look at our new selection of vehicle play toys that are a fantastic gateway to learning.

Information you can trust from A Matter Of Style

When it comes to content, our aim is simple: every parent should have access to information they can trust. All of our articles have been thoroughly researched and are based on the latest evidence from reputable and robust sources. Read more about our editorial review process.

Development, 3., Development, 3., Know, W., The Stoners Are Dead, L. and Safer?, D., 2021. 3 Benefits Of Toy Cars In Toddlers For Child Development. [online] Gossip and Gab. Available at: <https://gossipandgab.com/139385/3-benefits-of-toy-cars-in-toddlers-for-child-development> [Accessed 9 January 2021].

The Telegraph. 2021. How Playing With Toy Cars Can Fuel Your Child’S Development And Imagination. [online] Available at: <https://www.telegraph.co.uk/cars/priceless-motorsport/playing-with-toy-cars/> [Accessed 9 January 2021].

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