Mini Racer: Making Books Active Play

The following post is by contributor Emily Carter.

The season of shorter days and colder temperatures is upon us, which of course means more time playing indoors!

I don’t mind bundling up to get in some fresh air, but when things get really chilly, I’m on the lookout for something new to keep us entertained and warm at the same time.

My three year old, Miles, loves to read with us, and I really love finding ways to tie other activities in with our books.  I love a good art project, but this time I was looking for something more active to get that big energy out.

Tying Active Play in With a Great Book

When I stumbled on the book Mini Racer and this fantastic masking tape race track, I knew they were a match made in three-year-old-boy heaven!

The book is written by Kristy Dempsey and is utterly charming.  A silly group of animals and their crazy cars are on a racing adventure.  The text is rich and fun, and the illustrations brought lots of giggles out of my little guy.

We liked trying to guess the winner and picking our favorite racers.

Mini Racer was tons of fun to read on its own, but we extended it by creating our own track and racing my son’s collection of vehicles.

Even my husband couldn’t resist getting in on the action.

This may just be my new favorite activity. The roll of masking tape cost me 75 cents and it will easily last through several track making adventures this winter, and it only took about 5-10 minutes to set it up.

Miles loved having an adult play with him, but he also spent at least 30 minutes zooming his cars around solo.

I’m guessing that most of the little girls I know would have some fun racing too!

Looking for More Great Books?

I want to let you in on a little secret.

Do you ever walk into the children’s section at a book store or library and feel overwhelmed by all the choices?

Me too! I want my son to enjoy high quality children’s literature, but sometimes it’s hard to find the good stuff.  I found a resource book at my library called, The New York Times Parent’s Guide to the Best Books for Children.

I’m so happy I discovered this little gem.  While I certainly let Miles do some of his own choosing when it comes to books, I try to toss in a few titles from this book.

So far, they have all been winners!

I highly recommend you check it out.

What about you? What kind of activities keep your little ones busy during the winter season?

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  1. Emily, I love this idea! We just happen to have a collection of cars and some masking tape, too 🙂

    I don’t think we’ve read Mini Racers, but I’ll add it to our library list. It sounds like a book Max would really enjoy.

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. We use books to encourage our ideas as well.

    He has a big thing for cars at the moment. So we’re trying to use the cars in many different ways in different environments. Outside, in a sensory tub , with the trains and playhouse and fort etc.

    We also love sensory activities. He’s been really keen on mark making so art and sensory stuff and paper galore.
    Melitsa´s latest post: 31 days to a more Playful Tot {Day Four} Exploring the world

  3. Mini Racer looks like a great book. Hours of fun, right!!

    We’ve used colored duct tape which turns out beautifully and thankfully comes off the carpet. I wonder about painter’s tape?

    Love this!
    Melissa @imaginationsoup´s latest post: Setting Intentions for the New Year

  4. My son (who is almost 21!) loved cars as a child. What am I talking about? He still loves cars, they are just a little more expensive than Hot Wheels!
    He had the rug that he could play on, wish I had thought of masking tape!
    Hubby and I had a great idea YEARS ago to create a Klutz-type book that had different roads and scenes on each page, especially for taking the cars on the go. Never did anything with that idea!
    Successful Woman’s Resource Center´s latest post: 3 reasons why moms are so tired

  5. This is a fabulous idea. My son will love this in a few months!

  6. What a cute idea! If only my husband hadn’t hand-laid a beautiful hardwood floor (that I doubt would fare well with tape)! We’ve got an indoor tent/tunnel and bowling set ready for winter, some physical activity DVDs, and I’m planning on making a beanbag toss.

    That children’s book resource looks fantastic! Another one that is wonderful is Under the Chinaberry Tree.
    Victoria @ Mommy Marginalia´s latest post: Happy New Year (Observed)

  7. Yoga DVDs! The best purchase ever. The Yogakids ones by Marsha Wennig are terrific…my girls love them, and they are being active while also learning healthy ways to calm themselves and relax.
    Stephenie´s latest post: Why we don’t have a DS

  8. Hi, my name is Heather! Please email me when you can, I have a question about your blog!

  9. Great ideas!!! I have been wondering how to expand on my 20 month old’s love of cars and now I have some great ideas! 🙂
    Debbye @ The Baby Sleep Site´s latest post: How Baby Monitors Impact Your Baby’s Sleep

  10. Great idea! I am a huge fan of making books come alive and this activity definitely does that. My boys are currently fascinated by the “Amazing Machines” book series and the story “Cool Cars” would be a perfect addition to “Mini Racer”. Thanks for sharing.

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