J has always had an obsession with vehicles and can get very ‘one track minded’. This means that I have to get creative if I want to extend his play or his world outside of this. He has a habit of picking a ‘favourite’ vehicle for the day and that will come everywhere…and pity the fool who tries to take it away from him, even if J hasn’t actually touched it for the last 5 minutes. It must be nearby and accessible to him at all times (you can imagine the fun at toddler groups and play dates).
For the last year, Disney Cars has been THE favourite of all vehicle activities. We have to avoid particular aisles in the supermarket unless prepared for a full on meltdown if he can’t play with them or buy them all. I remember the time he had full on screaming and biting fit because he could get all the die cast cars out. It lasted the WHOLE shopping trip (thanks ASDA for moving your display without informing me, haha).
J watches Cars 1 and 2 on a daily basis. He saw Cars 3 as his first film at the cinema. J owns a huge selection of the die cast figures (including Mack to store them in) and has posters in his room, Cars books and clothes. He has more on the way from Father Christmas and his birthday…both in December, joy. We even had a CD in the car with Cars songs but they were a bit too ‘plain’ for J and he prefers to hold the case instead and listen to something else.
J collects the Cars 3 cards and we have almost the full collection (thanks to the Facebook swap and sell page). He spends ages flicking through his folder and telling me everyone’s names.
Recently I’ve been getting him the Cars 3 magazine. It’s been great as it amuses J around the shop so I get to food shop in relative peace once a month (the other weeks are hit and miss depending on his mood that day and if I’ve let him go up and down the lift). I love this magazine because it has decent toys that J actually plays with.
There’s stories, colouring in and games as well as craft bits too (oh, and stickers). I admit I’m guilty of buying J magazines and then they just end up in the magazine pile and forgotten about. This time I was determined that we’d use all of the magazine. Since it’s been rainy weather we used it as one of our ‘indoor activities’ (come back soon for our blog of indoor games).
We coloured in the pictures and stuck the stickers on the sticker pages. These are great activities for fine manipulative skills. These are the fiddly finger skills which lead to pencil control and writing later on. He focuses a lot on position too which is great for hand-eye coordination.
We read the stories and J told me the different characters names. He is starting to use emotion words too so told me if the Cars were happy, sad or being funny. Stories are great all round for literacy. Some children just aren’t into books but will spend ages reading and looking at magazines. End of the day, whatever gets children excited about literature is a win.
Next we did the puzzles. There was a basic version of suduko which J was good at. We did it one line at a time looking for which colour was missing and finding that sticker from the pack. This helped problem solving skills and basic maths (noticing patterns).
Then we cut up the magazine to make the cool winners flag, photo frame and racers card (which J has carried around with him ever since). I got J to help me by holding bits down, push down the cellotape and stick on the stickers. We used these with the amazing free gifts to have a race between Cruz and two of J’s Cars minis.
It’s safe to say that we got the most out of the magazines. The posters are now up in his room and Cruz and the winners cup have integrated with the rest of his Cars toys. I don’t mind paying magazine prices when you genuinely get this much use out of them. It was also a lovely way to spend the afternoon together. There was new language and new experiences to help J develop in his key ‘problem’ areas of communication and play skills.
I have already brought more Cars toys and the blu ray for his birthday and Christmas. I don’t mind buying them this far in advance because I have a feeling his Car obsession isn’t going away anytime soon!
What has your little/ bigger ones favourite things been this month? ⭐️