My kids are mesmerized by the car wash – half terrified of being trapped in the car while entering the unknown and half ecstatic about the sensory overload they are about to encounter. Kids might feel a little safer being on the other side of the car wash by actually being the car wash themselves! So let’s get started. Your little ones can get on the job training with this fine motor strength, coordination, and sensory activity.
**HINT** Laminating your mat will make it reusable, but if you don’t have access to a laminator, try one of these ideas: Cover your car mat with packaging tape, trace your car onto a vinyl tablecloth or onto a piece of vinyl from the fabric store, or simply use thicker poster board for this activity so it will hold up a little longer.
WHAT TO DO: Print out car wash mat 1 and/or car wash mat 2 to laminate or draw a simple car on large red construction paper and laminate it. Have your child place his toy car on the mat. Allow him to use all his fine motor strength to push the button on the top of the shaving cream can to cover his car in “soap”! Next, have him move his car over a couple inches to the “rinse station.” Here, he will use the spray bottle and those muscles again to first squirt his car with water, and then wring out a wet sponge over his car for the final rinse. Repeat! When your child tires of the car wash play, let him simply run his cars and hands over the mat for some fun shaving cream play!
HOW TO CHANGE IT UP:
-To make this activity easier, have a pile of shaving cream ready for the car to drive into and a bowl of water next to it ready for a rinse. Focus on grasping skills and remove the fine motor strength component.
-To make this activity more difficult, have your child do several cars at once, having to continuously use his hand strength without a break.
-Use the mat with finger paint to color in wheels, windows, passengers, etc. for continued play!
SKILL AREAS ADDRESSED: Bilateral coordination, endurance, fine motor skills, grasp, sensory integration, strength
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