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!
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?
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?
Try adding your own construction tools to the game. Bring over other trucks to help the construction truck move the oatmeal 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 and any other building materials you have.
What are they learning?
- Fine motor control and hand-eye coordination: these are crucial life skills, gained by pinching pieces of oatmeal, driving a truck around, emptying the back of the truck to get the oatmeal to empty into a pile.
- Problem-solving: When the oatmeal overflows the truck bed, or when they try to build something real, children 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!”
- Science materials properties: comparing dry oatmeal to wet. It behaves very differently and it feels very different too! Talk to your child about how it feels now versus when it was dry.
1. Take the pieces of art paper and cut each into 3 long strips, 2 inches wide. This is great scissor practice! If needed, draw the lines before cutting so there’s something to trace.
2. On each strip, mark a line down the middle, like a road. You can make a double yellow line, or just mark a dashed line.
3. Make 3 different roads by lining up the road pieces you made in straight lines, and place one color of sorting paper at the right end of each road.
4. On the left end of the road pieces, place all the pompoms together in one pile.
5. Now it’s time to sort! Load a pompom into the construction truck and drive the truck down the road to the correct color of sorting paper, and empty the pompom out there. Return the truck and keep going until all the pompoms are sorted! You can load up multiple pompoms at a time if you’d like.
6. Now change the road, so some of the pieces angle up and down, rather than having them all go straight. Now sort the pompoms again!
7. What else can you find to sort? Do you have other toys that can fit inside the dumbstruck and match the sorting paper?
What are they learning?
- Pre-literacy skills: moving from left to right. This is a simple but crucial skill! Having your child move the pompoms from left to right prepares them for reading words that go from left to right.
- Pre-literacy skills: straight lines, vertical and horizontal lines. When you change the road pieces to make a road that has angles, you’re modeling all sort of fun lines for kids, which are foundational for letters and writing.
- Classification (foundational math skills): 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! They continue to do this when they find other toys that match the sorting colors.
- Fine motor control: driving the truck and following a road takes fine motor control, hand-eye coordination, impulse control- a lot of skills come from a simple task!
- Primary colors: the pompoms and sorting paper were intentionally chosen to be primary colors. Knowing blue, red and yellow and talking about them as primary colors is an important concept.
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). This material is called “oobleck” and is a very bizarre material! Notice how it behaves as both a liquid and a solid: when you squish it, it’s hard, but then it oozes out of your hand when it’s not under pressure!
4. Fill another bowl with water to have as a car wash station for rinsing the car. A mixing bowl works well for this so you can submerge the car under water. If desired, add a squirt of soap for a bubbly 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!
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 oobleck and water, 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 oobleck mud than the water- they are problem-solving, hypothesizing and observing.
- Observation: They are making observations when they notice the oobleck mud gets thinner over time, as more liquid is added from the water. 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).
1. Take one foam piece and fold it in half the long way, overlapping the corners so that the inside edge of one corner overlaps the outside edge the other corner. Use a glue dot to secure the foam corners together, and repeat with the corners on the other edge.
2. You now have a boat! Repeat with the other foam piece to create another boat. (Alternately, come up with your own creative way of making a boat shape out of the foam pieces!)
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 oatmeal to the boats? Do they move slower or faster now? How much oatmeal can your boat hold before it tips over?
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.
- Science concepts: As children add oatmeal to 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.
- Check out these other transportation-related Messy Play products! The Construction Sensory Bin is a great complement to the Vroom Vroom Kit, as is the Cars Sensory Bin and the Transportation Messy Play Kit!
- 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!
- 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....).
- Sing "The Wheels on the Bus" with your kids, and then change it to "The Plane in the Sky" or the "Boat in the Water!" What other types of vehicles or modes of transportation can you think of that fit this song?
- Use chalk and draw Hopscotch on your driveway or sidewalk, and encourage your children to move their bodies in different ways as they play! You can also turn this into a sort of obstacle course: have them fly like a plane (arms out as wings) in one section, drive like a school bus (big, slow, cautiously) for another part, row a canoe for another, and so on.
If you liked this Messy Play Kit...
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