- A small space (-trust me, our outdoor area is extremely limited, and hardly any room is required at all for the activity to still be a great success!)
- A tub of water
- A soap dispenser – with soap (or dish wash liquid, or vinegar and bicarbonate of soda…)
- Something (or a few options) to wash with: eg. a sponge, cloth, scrubber brush, metallic scrubber …)
- Various ‘pourers’ (we used a couple of little water cans, a little jug, and a bucket)
- One or more vehicles needing some toddler car wash love and attention!
- A drink and snack for the hard working car washer
- Some cool car wash music
- Gumboots or bare feet to enjoy the water underfoot
- Invite a mate or two over for a car wash play date!
- A sense of responsibility, independence and pride in being helpful – cleaning is a great life skill to practise early on!
- Fresh air from being outdoors
- Learning about water (the value of water play cannot be underestimated)
- Hand skill development (grasping, strength, bilateral coordination – filling, pouring, scrubbing, wiping, squeezing, manipulating…)
- Imaginative play
- as well as a whole bunch of sensory experiences–>
Tactile sensory fun
- Getting hands, fingers, arms and feet immersed in the water (cold, warm, bubbly…)
- Watching and feeling the soft bubbles move and disintegrate
- Mixing the smooth soap into the water
- Squishing and squelching the different sponge textures (soft, metallic, bristles, spongy…)
- Lifting and pushing the trucks and cars around and into position
- Squeezing all the water really tightly out of the sponges
- Scrubbing the dirt off the trucks with a bit of force and effort
- Stomping in the puddles created!
Kinesthetic sensory fun
- Lots of moving about during the activity! This is not a lazy, sit back and passively watch the trucks wash themselves by some wizz-bang-battery-operated toy… car washing involves loads of active movement – busily going to and fro gathering required bits, squatting, getting out of the way of the water (or in amongst it?!), balancing, stabilising, and positioning, swirling the soap into the water vigorously…
- What is in the soap dispenser? Maybe some lemon, lime or orange peel? Some essential oil? or just an interesting scent from the soap itself? (We’ve got onto this cheap, awesome, peppermint dish wash liquid which smells fantastic!)
Auditory sensory fun
- Crash! Tip! Roll – bump – bump… !
- Splash! Spill! Swirl! Drip!
- “BEEP BEEP”!!
- Singing and bopping along to the work site music!
.. and taste…
Well, that’s where the outdoor snack or picnic comes in!!
Young B has got into the car washing spirit many times – and it remains one of his favourite kids’ play spaces! I’m always really impressed with his care and attention to detail! Sometimes he likes to get the job done quickly, and move onto playing something else, and other times, he can be happily car washing for 30-60minutes or so!
I just love sitting back (or quietly getting about my own chores in the background), and watching the scene unfold! The trucks all need to be lined up to wait their turn (this kiddo runs one super organised car wash!!) Some of the vehicles have the best personalities and sometimes, all the washing and cleaning carry on makes them pretty tired, in which case, the activity wraps up with the trucks having a little sleep… “shhhh!”
Have you set up a kids’ car wash?