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Vroom Vroom Messy Play Kit Guide

Vroom Vroom Messy Play Kit Guide

Ready to dig into your Vroom Vroom Messy Play Kit? On this page you'll find detailed step-by-step instructions, ideas to extend the learning, and some links to other resources. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions about your kit. Now go get messy!

Jump To:
Scoop and Carry Construction 
Muddy and Clean Car Wash 
Boat Racing 
Additional Resources 
More Messy Play Kits 

Scoop and Carry Construction:

1. Empty the bag of oatmeal onto a large, flat surface (a baking tray works well).

2. Use the construction truck to transport the oatmeal from one pile to another. Can you also scoop it with your hands?

Vroom Vroom Messy Play Kit - Construction

3. Try adding some water to the oatmeal- what happens? Is it easier or harder to move now? Can you build something with it, like a house or a road?

Vroom Vroom Messy Play Kit - Construction Vroom Vroom Messy Play Kit - Construction

4. Empty the bean mix onto the baking tray and use the truck to carry it around as well. You can do this as part of the oatmeal construction or separately.

Vroom Vroom Messy Play Kit - Construction

Can you separate the bean mix by color? By size? By shape? How many of each category are there?

Tip: Try adding your own construction tools to the game. Bring over other trucks to help the dump truck move the beans around. Create traffic and construction signs using paper or foam and markers. With older children, try planning what you’re going to build first -- draw a picture of their plans and then try to replicate it using the oatmeal, bean mix, and any other building materials you have.


What are they learning?

  • Classification: When children have the opportunity to organize materials into categories, such as shape or color, they are learning the basic mathematics skill of classification (sorting). This is an important concept that lays the foundation for other important math concepts!
  • Fine motor control: When they pinch beans and manipulate the small parts on the truck, they are building fine motor control. Simple tasks like these will help them learn to hold a pencil correctly!
  • Problem-solving: When the beans overflow the truck's bed, or when they use the oatmeal to try to build an idea they have, they are problem-solving to find a solution.
  • Vocabulary: You increase their vocabulary as you introduce new words and narrate their play. "It looks like you're laying the foundation for the house- that will help the house stay up!"

Muddy and Clean Car Wash:

1. Empty the cornstarch into a small bowl.

2. Use the scissors to cut off the tip of the pipette and empty it into the cornstarch.

3. Add 1/3 cup of water and mix thoroughly. You can keep this in the bowl or pour it onto a larger, flat surface (a baking tray works well).

Vroom Vroom Messy Play Kit - Toy car wash

4. Break off about 1/4 of the bubble bath bar. Crumble it under running water into the bathtub or sink. Agitate the water with your hands to get more bubbles. If you want, you can catch the bubbles on another flat tray or bowl and take them to another play area.

Vroom Vroom Messy Play Kit - Toy car wash Vroom Vroom Messy Play Kit - Toy car wash

5. It’s time get muddy! Drive the car through the cornstarch “mud” until it’s covered. Then drive it over to the bubble cleaning station and clean it off!

Vroom Vroom Messy Play Kit - Toy car wash Vroom Vroom Messy Play Kit - Toy car wash Vroom Vroom Messy Play Kit - Toy car wash

What other cars and vehicles do you have that could go through the mud and cleaning stations? Be sure they are washable toys! Try using the dump truck too. Can you fill its bed with mud?


What are they learning?

  • Fine motor control: As they mix the cornstarch mud together, and as they drive the car through both materials, they are building their fine motor control.
  • Problem-solving: As they try to understand why the car behaves differently in the two substances- it moves more slowly in the mud than the bubbles- they are problem-solving, hypothesizing and observing.
  • Observation: They are making observations when they notice the cornstarch mud gets thinner over time, as more liquid is added from the bubbles. You can help them tune into this and wonder aloud with them, helping them hypothesize different possibilities for what they see.
  • Counting: As they line up vehicles for the car wash, count with them. Help them learn one-to-one correspondence of numbers (one number per vehicle), and the cardinal principle of counting (the last number you say is the number of items you have). Counting larger sets of items (more than 4) has been shown to benefit children's counting abilities (from Scientific Learning).

Boat Racing:

1. Take one foam piece and fold the corners so the blue triangles touch. Use a glue dot to secure the foam together, and repeat with the red triangles on the opposite end.

Vroom Vroom Messy Play Kit - Boat Racing Vroom Vroom Messy Play Kit - Boat Racing Vroom Vroom Messy Play Kit - Boat Racing Vroom Vroom Messy Play Kit - Boat Racing Vroom Vroom Messy Play Kit - Boat Racing 

2. You now have a boat! Repeat with the other foam piece to create another boat.

Vroom Vroom Messy Play Kit - Boat Racing

3. Place both boats on one side of a tub of water.

4. Each person gets a straw. Blow through the straw to make the boat move.

5. When you’re ready, race the boats from one side of the tub to the other! Who won? Why?

6. Try racing them again without using the straws. Was it harder or easier this time?

7. What if you add some beans to the boats? Do they move slower or faster now? How many beans can your boat hold before it tips over?

Vroom Vroom Messy Play Kit - Boat Racing

8. How else can you make the boat move? Can you use your hands? What else?


What are they learning?

  • Impulse Control: When they have to wait for their partner to be ready to race, they have to stop their impulse to begin.
  • Hand-Eye Coordination: They must aim the straw at the boat in order for the boat to go. This takes a lot of coordination, both fine motor and hand-eye!
  • Cause and Effect: When they see that their breath can make the boat move, they learn about cause and effect.
  • Counting: As they load up the boat with beans, they practice counting to see how many beans it can hold before it sinks.
  • Mass and Volume: As they explore using the different beans and peas from the bean mix in their boats, they explore the concepts of mass and volume, as well as sinking and floating, and density.
  • Vocabulary: You add new words to their vocabulary when you introduce concepts from above (such as mass, volume, density).
  • Validation: They learn the value of their thoughts and ideas when they see you write down their predictions and the results of each race.
  • Planning and Comparing (problem-solving): When they consult the race outcomes you've written down, they can use that information to plan a faster way to race the boats, and then compare their results again.


More Transportation Play!

There are so many ways to continue playing with and learning about cars, boats, planes, and other types of transportation. Here are some of my favorites.

  • Make a kite? Paper airplane? Discuss all the ways people move with vehicles: cars, boats, planes, bikes, scooters, any others? What about without using those? (walking, running, galloping, skipping, hopping, jumping, twirling....). This article from Good Habits for Life has a short video highlighting the importance of motor skills plus skill development broken down by age.
  • Learn more about helping your child learn to count with this Scientific Learning article.
  • Bring cars and trucks into the bath with great activities from Bath Activities for Kids, run by the Growing a Jeweled Rose blog. The actual pages are no longer valid, but you can see photos of the construction bath on Pinterest and get an idea of how much fun that would be! 


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