Kids never run out of energy. They are always learning and exploring and getting into things. We parents, on the other hand, often need time to rest and recover or just get things done around the house without constant interruptions. Set up your own educational Cars-themed activity table for kids and you can have them busy and learning for hours!
We’re excited to have partnered with SpinMaster to share this educational Cars 3 board game and activity set up. This post includes affiliate links; by using these links, you help support Arts & Crackers.
Before I go any further, I do want to point out that these activities should be supervised for young ages (at least by a responsible older sibling). Some activities may not be appropriate for younger ages or children who place everything in their mouthes, so use your judgement and “parent intuition” when setting up your cars-themed activity table. I will share some alternatives where applicable.
The other day I was battling a very bad cold. Since we homeschool, I felt very guilty just skipping school, so I came up with something that was more child-led, but would work on various concepts we have been working on together. This allowed me to save my voice and get some rest from the couch nearby.
My boys were busy for literally hours trying out the various activities and I was able to get some much-needed “me time” to relax. I did give some simple instructions on a few items before I let them have at it, but they were simple then the kids were able to play together without my help.
This Car-Themed Activity Table is so easy to set up. If you want every station available, you may need a large table for it. You can also use a buffet to have everything set up next to a small children’s table.
I started by brainstorming activities that my boys enjoy…board games, coloring, building bricks…then worked on labels for each section. The labels were very simple; all I did was write down what the activity was on a folded index card. This way E, who can read, could see what they were supposed to do in each section. If you have older children, you can give further instruction on the back to make things more advanced if you wish.
Set Up Your Own Educational Cars-Themed Activity Table for Kids
Find the Car
Magic trick or skill? Place the toy car under one of the cones then mix them up and see if your sibling can figure out which cone it is under! This is a great activity for kids to do together and it’s easy and inexpensive to set up. I just used a toy Lightning McQueen and some sports cones.
Read a Book
I have been really trying to encourage my boys to read more. S doesn’t know how to read yet, but he loves to pick up books and try. E does know how to read, but doesn’t often just pick up books to read them, so I set them out knowing he would find Cars books an interesting read and spend some quiet time reading them to himself or out loud to his little brother.
To go with the books, I also set out some easy-to-make Cars 3 bookmarks for the kids to cut and glue together. The color of the actual bookmarks is much more vibrant than you can see here, but we did not get much color with the printer setting we used. Print on high-quality to enjoy the full color. You can print them here.
Play a Game
My boys and I are obsessed with Disney Cars 3 the movie. It has such a great storyline and fun characters. We decided to theme everything around the massive amount of Cars items we own.
I highly recommend the SpinMaster Cars 3 Risky Raceway board game for kids! The instructions were simple enough that the kids figured it out after a couple quick trial rounds. The board game is an activity in itself to set up, piecing together a puzzle (totally S’s thing) and building hills and bridges (totally E’s thing).
Race around the track and watch out for hazards! Cars 3 Risky Raceway game is great for children of various ages because it has a lot of learning opportunities. I am huge on board games (ask anyone that knows me…they are kind of my thing and I may or may not have over 100…). Board games can be such an incredible teaching tool while creating special family memories. We especially love finding fun games that can be enjoyed by the whole family, even the younger ones.
You’ll love our Vehicle-themed kids’ room makeover !
My boys can play Cars 3 Risky Raceway all on their own without my help, and it’s a wonderful brother activity. Even without me instructing them, these are some of the concepts they learn or tools they gain while playing:
- Fine motor skills: not only do they have to place the cars on the game board squares, but they also have to place them on raised pieces to keep them on the bridges or drive them underneath the bridges and flick the spinner during their turn and pick up flat game pieces from the table. They also can build the bridges, fitting the plastic pieces into specific holes on the cardboard pieces.
- Counting: spin to see how many spaces you have to move, then count out that number of spaces. This is a great activity for S who is working on his numbers. The numbers on the spinner also have dots underneath the numbers that coordinate with the number…one dot, two dots, three dots, four dots. This is a great visual for kids to understand what each number means for them (i.e. move the car three spaces like there are three dots on the spinner.).
- Simple addition and subtraction: count up your tokens then subtract to find out how many you have left after using them on hazard spaces!
- Consequences, critical thinking, and wise decision making: the game offers two options…a “fork in the road” where kids can choose if they will take the fast route where they may run into a hazard or the training route where they can earn a token that will prevent a lost turn if they run into a hazard space.
- Taking turns: as with most board games, the kids have to wait until their turn to go. This is a great way to teach patience and respect.
- They can’t always win: again, part of playing games is to learn that we don’t always win. My boys struggle with this concept, but games help them get past that as we discuss that we don’t win every time and should be happy for the winner. Often we will play the game multiple times so each kid has a chance to win and they each feel what it’s like to win themselves and to be happy for their sibling who won.
- Matching letters: when setting up the board game, the bridges and hills go in specific spots on the game board. The spots and the bridge pieces are labeled with letters. The kids have to match up the letters on each to make sure the game board is set up correctly. correctly.
- Following directional arrows: since the game gives the boys multiple routes they can choose to take, it is also labeled with arrows. These arrows show the kids which way they need to keep moving so they learn how to follow where arrows are pointing.
- Sight words (and a little French!): If you look closely at the board game, the two most important spots are labeled…”Start” and “Finish.” Under the English spelling is the French word for “Start” or “Finish.” While they won’t understand the inflection, it will help them to recognize the words and what they mean, as “Start” and “Finish” are already familiar words when talking about racing.
- Sharpening memory: kids have to remember which car they chose as their game piece as well as if they have any tokens left to avoid hazards.
The Cars 3 Risky Raceway game is meant for ages 5+, but my 4-year-old enjoyed playing it as well and was able to understand the concepts to play with his big brother. This game does have some small pieces (mainly the characters and a couple pieces that hold up the arch at the end of the game board), so I recommend not leaving this one unattended with younger children as well.
You may also love their Thunder Hollow game–we played this one on vacation!
Color a Picture
You probably already know that we are big on coloring pages in this house. While I didn’t make these, they were so fun for the kids to color. E took a little more liberty with his, coloring from memory. S sat and looked at his Cruz toy and tried to copy the colors onto his coloring pages. I left the kids with coloring crayons as those are easiest to clean up.
You’ll love this parent-child coloring activity too!
Build a Race Track
Kids will need to be able to use scissors and glue or tape for this if you use the printable. Again, it usually prints with much brighter colors, but we were saving ink. You can set out your own designs for building a track using construction paper or pre-made track pieces and plastic toys cones, but we just used one you can print free here.
Build a Car
This was another favorite of all the activities, because my boys love building things. S got a Cars 3 building bricks toy for his birthday, so I set that out for them as well. It is a junior version, so they were able to figure it out easily. I also included some other toys they could use to build cars. Play dough would work well too or you might like this unique car building idea we’ve used.
I included enough pieces that the boys could each make a couple cars, because I knew they wouldn’t want to take them back apart so the other could build it. If you have younger kids and are concerned with the small brick pieces, you can include large bricks or some other easy building tools. You could also include something like pattern blocks that the kids can use to make car shapes. The cars don’t have to be movable.
Spell a Word
Since we were using this as a semi-school activity while I wasn’t well, I was sure to include more that worked on things I am currently teaching for E’s schooling. This Spell a Word activity combines a sensory activity with words and reading and phonics.
On a piece of paper, I quickly wrote some different Cars-related words: “drive,” “go,” “race,” “Doc,” “cars,” and “tire.” You can include other words as well if you with.
I then put some shredded paper in a clean bucket and mixed in some large toy tires, a couple rocks, and some wooden letters. They had to dig through the different textures and shapes until they found letters they could use to make words. Once they made a word, they’d have to put the pieces back in as I only included enough to make each word individually and not all at once.
After E made all the words, I had him go back through and read them, marking the vowels and circling special sounds. For instance, “drive” would have the “dr” circled, the “i” would have a straight line over the top to show that it’s a long vowel, and the “e” would be crossed out to show that it’s silent.
Note: if you don’t have wooden letters, letter magnets or puzzle pieces work as well. You can also use things other than paper, like poly stuffing or dry beans or pebbles. You can even use something edible like cereal if you use clean letters and toy tires (I recommend keeping the rocks out if you do this.). Younger kids should be supervised with this sensory bin as with any sensory bin.
What are some other easy set-up activity ideas you have?
The morning after I set up the Cars-themed activity table, I was feeling worse than before. I hadn’t slept all night long until my husband left for work very early. I missed my alarm and ended up sleeping in for quite a while. Partially from laziness (because I’m honest) and partially because I assumed the boys would enjoy it again, I left the activities set up on the table overnight.
Once I woke up (I slept in very long), I realized the boys had been quietly working on the activities together for hours, letting me get rest because they knew I needed it! Wow, I was so thankful. Of course my boys are awesome to start with, but having the activities set up already definitely helped keep things orderly and entertaining for them.
In case you are wondering, my oldest is very good at making sure his brother is doing what he is supposed to (i.e. not putting things in his mouth that don’t belong there), and if there are any issues he comes straight to me, so I was not too concerned about the particular items I’d left out for them (marbles are another story…). I did put away the scissors and glue, so they were unable to use that part of the activity set up without me present.
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