Tag Archives: cars

DIY Felt Road Mat

When I bought a train set for Buddy’s 2nd birthday, I knew I wanted keep it set up. If we had to set it up every time we wanted to play, it wouldn’t be played with often. We don’t have the space for a train table, so we decided to use our coffee table. We hardly ever use our living room, so it wasn’t hard for us to dedicate it to the trains.

Originally, we had cardboard under the train tracks to keep them from scratching the table. It wasn’t the most attractive solution, but it worked fine for us. The end of the school year was really busy, so upgrading the cardboard had to wait until summer break.

I bought green felt for the background and gray felt for some roads. I also used blue felt scraps from my quiet book. (Read about my quiet book here.) My original plan was to just have the green felt, but I eventually decided to add roads as well. Buddy’s train set came with many cars. When the cars and the trains are on the tracks, they are really full. It’s hard to push everything around. I hoped that roads would give the cars more places to drive and spread out. Plus, our set has a road crossing that would be much more fun with a road to drive on.

I put the felt on the table and traced the edge of the table with tailor’s chalk (affiliate link). Then I cut out the felt and ironed it.

After that, I put it on the table and put the tracks on top of it. I cut some gray and blue felt scraps and put them where I wanted them on the table. Then I used the chalk to sketch outlines of the road and water. Since we have a little bridge, it made sense to me to have that go over water. I also did some water on another part of the mat to add a little color. When I did the road, I made it the same width as the one on the road crossing.

Once everything was cut out, I used fabric glue to glue it to the green felt. Then I used puffy fabric paint to make the dashed line in the road. The hardest part of the whole process was keeping Buddy away from it while it dried! I’m really happy with the final product. Buddy loves his train table more than ever, and he plays with it every day.

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DIY Portable Road Strips

Buddy and I started our summer break with a road trip to see my family. Before our trip, I looked for new toys to keep Buddy occupied at his Granddad’s house. I wanted to find or make things that were small enough to travel with us. Since Buddy loves cars and trains, I decided to make portable road strips.

To make the road strips, I cut strips of black felt that were 2.5 inches wide. I decided to make them this width in order to be wide enough for Buddy’s Smart Wheels Cars (affiliate link). Some of them are straight, and some have corners. I wanted a variety of road strips so Buddy could set up the road in many different ways. I used white puffy fabric paint to make a dashed line in the middle of each road strip. 

We played with the portable road strips several times on our trip. Every time, Buddy was really excited to see the road and help set it up. He figured out quickly how to fix it by patting it flat when it got scrunched up a little. 

Buddy also really enjoyed mixing up the layout of the road. He needed a little help to get everything put together, but he could do a lot of it himself. Buddy tried his road strips on both the floor and the couch. 

After awhile, Buddy wanted to put other things on the road besides his cars. He walked his stuffed bunny up and down the road. He also put some of his Melissa and Doug Alphabet Train Lacing Beads (affiliate link) on the road. 

This was such an easy DIY project. It took me less than 20 minutes to put together, and it kept Buddy entertained for a long time. I will definitely bring these road strips with us on future trips. I’m sure we’ll also play with them often at home.

Construction Site Sensory Bin

I first saw the idea of doing a sensory bin with construction trucks and shredded paper on Busy Toddler’s blog. I immediately loved the idea because it’s easy to set up and includes Buddy’s love of vehicles! We haven’t done a sensory bin with shredded paper since our Open the Barn Door activity in August. Back then, Buddy wasn’t interested in the paper at all. I was curious to see how his reaction would be different now.

To set up the activity, I put some paper from our shredder in a large bin and put it on the floor of the kitchen. Then, I placed some construction trucks in the paper. These were purchased at the dollar section of Target years ago, and are used more as a decoration in Buddy’s room as a toy. As a result, Buddy was especially interested in playing with these “new toys”.

Buddy first started driving the trucks around in the paper. I showed him how to use the digger to push paper around, and he tried to do it too. Then, Buddy discovered how to fill and dump the paper in the back of the dump truck. This was a lot of fun for him.

Buddy was just as interested in driving the trucks around on the kitchen floor as he was in the paper. The cars made a noise on the floor, which Buddy thought was very entertaining.

The last time we did a shredded paper sensory bin, Buddy wasn’t very interested in the paper. That wasn’t the case this time! Buddy thought the paper was a lot of fun! Once he tired of playing with the trucks, Buddy decided to play with the paper. I was expecting things to get messy, and boy, was I right!

Buddy threw paper everywhere and made a huge mess! Then, in typical toddler style, he decided to run around the house and leave a trail of paper in his wake. Once Buddy was “all done”, I threw him in his crib and swept the floor. It didn’t take too long to pick up the mess once Buddy was contained. Even though it was a messy activity, it was worth it to see Buddy have so much fun.

I’d love to try some new sensory bins this spring. If you have any great ideas for sensory bins, please let me know!

Drawing with Cars

Recently, Buddy has become more interested in drawing pictures. Most of the time, we just use Crayola washable crayons (affiliate link) and sometimes stickers too. However, I’ve been looking for other easy art projects to do with Buddy. I first saw the idea of drawing with cars on Housing a Forest’s blog. We actually tried and failed with this activity last summer, but I thought Buddy was ready to try again.

While Buddy napped, I set up two marker cars and taped down a “road” with some painters tape and white drawing paper. I used packaging tape to tape a Crayola washable marker (affiliate link) to the back of each car. The cars were purchased at the dollar store for craft purposes, so I wasn’t worried about the tape wrecking them. It also made it extra fun for Buddy because these were new cars to him.

Buddy loved both the cars and the markers. We drew with one color for awhile and then we colored with the other one. For the most part, Buddy did a good job of coloring on the paper. There were a few times though that the markers went on the floor. Fortunately, they wiped off easily with a wet paper towel.

We did have some problems with cars getting untaped. Buddy didn’t help, because once he realized the markers came off, he was very interested in playing with the cars and markers separately. I was able to retape the cars and get Buddy to draw with them again.

Once we were done, Buddy helped clean up our activity.  He used a wet paper towel to wipe up the marker. Then, he picked up the painter’s tape.  He actually enjoyed these activities almost as much as the drawing with cars activity!

Buddy is really interested in cars and trains right now. If you have any activity ideas for us, please leave a comment!

Washing Toy Cars

On Water Wednesday, I wanted to do a new water play activity. I saw the idea of doing a car wash on Things to Share and Remember. Buddy loves playing with water and cars, so a toy car wash seemed like a good thing to try.

To create the car wash, I put dish soap and water in a glass baking pan. I did this so I could easily pour out the soapy water at the end. The washing tools we used were a sponge cut in half and a microfiber towel. Since Buddy still crawls everywhere,  I put everything on a towel to make it a little more comfortable. I set up our water table as well, because I figured Buddy would eventually want more water to play with.

Car wash set up

Buddy was very interested in the bin of cars, but he wasn’t sure what to do with the water at first. After I showed him how to wash the cars, he was interested in trying.

washing cars

I was glad I cut the sponge in half, because the smaller sponges were easy for Buddy to hold. Playing with the sponges was Buddy’s favorite part. He’d never held a sponge before, and he spent a lot of time just squeezing the water on his leg.

washing cars 3

It was great to have a sitting water activity, because it allowed us to play for much longer than if we’d done it in the water table. When Buddy got antsy, we stood up and played in the water table. When his legs got tired, we sat back down with the car wash. Between the two activities, we played for more than an hour.

water table play

We love our water table (affiliate link), and the rain cups from the making rain activity continue to be one of his favorite water toys. These cups moved from the water table to the car wash, and Buddy loved making it rain on the cars.

Overall, it was a successful Water Wednesday, and I hope to do a car wash again soon. We might even try washing some animals or other plastic toys. If you have any fun water activities, I’d love to hear them.