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October 08, 2019

Realistic Model Cars - A Few Choices and How to Use Them

When it comes to toy vehicles there are so many choices out there that it can be completely overwhelming. Recently, Gus has been super into playing with our toy cars and trucks. Henry and Nora never were super into them, so it's been an interesting change of pace to have a child with a different interest. While they would play with their toy animals all day, everyday, Gus seems to gravitate towards cars. 

We have one basket of vehicles that sit on our shelves for Gus to use when he chooses. A few things I look for when it comes to vehicles include:
  • Realistic - avoids things like faces, unrealistic shapes (I think you find this most with wooden cars), characters 
  • Relevant (where possible) - I like to make choices that are the most relevant cars that he will see in real life (instead of all fancy sports cars, for example) 
  • Quiet - I prefer passive toys where my children need to make the noise, so lights and sound are avoided 
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I worry less about size of the cars, but I do find the slightly bigger cars have been more attractive to our children than the smaller matchbox sized cars. 

Montessori friendly model car examples - what to look for, and how to use them.

Pictured: School Bus | Honda | Sports Car | UPS Truck |  Ambulance 

Other Examples include: Yellow Truck | Police Car | VW Bug | Mercedes | Hotwheels | USPS Truck | Tractor | Skid Loader | City Bus  

The thing about cars that I super love is that there are lots of opportunities for working with them, that is sort of the beauty of realistic models - like animal models - they can be used for all sorts of things. Right now, they are most often used for open ended play at our house. I don't feel pressured to make sure I'm "creating work" with them, but let Gus take the lead and play however he chooses. He's at an age where pretend play is starting to really peak his interest, and I go with it. 

However, there are plenty of opportunities to use model cars in more structured work, some of which we have done, including: 

  • sorting them (by type, color, size, etc.) 
  • using them for two and three part language lessons
  • matching them to cards/pictures 
  • using them in stereognostic (mystery) bags 
  •  using them like language objects for sound games 
  • counting them (or using like counters with cards) 
I'm sure there are a ton of other Montessori inspired creative ways to use model cars! And if your child is interested in them they can be a great compliment to a Montessori home. 

Do you have a recommended car brand you like? How do you use them in your home? 


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Rebecca Brown
Rebecca Brown said…
We primarily have Hotwheels, and hundreds of them (eep!). They're one of our most used toys, and it's fascinating to see the work that my son creates with them all on his own.