Toddler Vehicle Play #2: Montessori-inspired Toy Car Wash


I thought I’d post this one next, as its a fun way to clear up after your messy tyre track printing activity :-). It’s really easy, you could all set it up in around 10 -20 mins with things you have around the house, and there is lots of learning potential and fun to be had!

What You Will Need:

Toy Cars or other vehicles
2 water trays/washing up bowls/tubs of similar size
Baby bubble bath
Sponges cut into smaller pieces
Cut up towel/flannel (I used some old Cheeky Wipes which are essentially flannels)
Apron if it’s cold outside but the water is not dirty so if it’s warm, they’ll enjoy getting wet and dry out quickly!


1. Fill one tray with bubbly water, and one with plain water.
2. Provide your toddler with cars and sponges and get washing! I got involved too, so that I could model how to rub the cars with the sponges, or scrub them with a nailbrush to clean them.
3. Show her how to dip the cars into the second tray to rinse them, then place on the side ready for drying (I didn’t manage to get a good photo of our rinse tray but it was just a tray full of non-soapy water.
4. Once they are all washed and rinsed, get out the towels and rub them dry!

T absolutely loved this and I actually found it quite cute how attentive he was with his tiny little sponges and towels, and how serious he looked :-).

After drying the cars, we had a chat about floating and sinking and tried to get the cars to float by putting them in the plastic tub!

What Your Child is Learning:

fine motor skills (rubbing and scrubbing the cars)
understanding of properties of water (watching drips from cars, noticing which cars sink and float)
practical life skill (washing/cleaning and drying)
vocabulary (as you describe and talk about what you are doing together)
self-esteem and confidence (from learning how to do something new by themselves)

A Little Word About Montessori

I’ve called this activity Montessori-inspired for 3 reasons:

  • it encourages an understanding of the order of things (wash, rinse, dry)
  • it gives the child the chance to learn a Practical Life skill
  • it teaches the child to do things from left to right (this is something that all Montessori activities reinforces as this is the direction we read in).

I am not a trained Montessori practitioner, but I did work in a nursery with a Montessori-based curriculum, and picked up a lot while I was there. Our nursery followed the national curriculum but also provided daily free-play Montessori activities.  If you are interested in the Montessori method of teaching, check out this amazing, inspiring website and just have a good old browse. It’s not for everyone, but I personally like the way there is always a purpose to a Montessori activity as I think children are more motivated to complete something if there is a goal to achieve.

If you found this post useful, please do pin, tweet, share or comment below.

Thanks for reading everyone! Look out for my next vehicle-themed post.  It will be up in the next day or so, as long as I am on top of the housework :-/. Haha yeah right.


2 thoughts on “Toddler Vehicle Play #2: Montessori-inspired Toy Car Wash

  1. I love this activity. My daughter loves the water play. Recently it has been alphabet soup in our house. ABC magnets scoopers and water. I was meaning to post on that this week, but kept forgetting. Lol. My daughter would love this though. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks for your comments PP :-). I am loving it because its so easy to get out and I am 33 weeks preggo at the mo…so need easy prep/clear-up activities! Alphabet magnets and scoops also great idea, thanks. Would love to see a post on that.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s