If you are planning a road trip in the near future or if your children love cars and trucks then get your family all revved up for this Theme Day!

Print out the Family Theme Day Planner and decide which activities you’d like to do and in what order.



There are a lot of great cruising songs.  Try some of these Car related songs and dance around the living room:

“Life is a highway” by Tom Cochrane.

“Little Deuce Coupe” by the Beach Boys.

“Cars” by Gary Numan.

And a family favourite from the original Muppet Movie: “Moving Right Along!”




You can find many free coloring pages online by using your favourite search engine and typing in “coloring pages of cars” or you can print out a copy of my “Hit the Road” Coloring Page.


Write out one or more of the following questions in your Family Theme Day Scrapbook or on a piece of paper to glue in your scrapbook:  What types of cars can you name?  If you could have any car what would it be?  If you could invent or design your own car what would it look like?  If you could go on a road trip somewhere where would you go and what would you pack?


 Choose the level of your child:

¨     Toddler – discuss the answer(s) out loud first and have your child draw a picture of the answer

¨     Preschooler/Kindergartener – discuss the answer(s) out loud first and write the answer down for him/her leaving one word for him/her to write out himself/herself with your help. You could also encourage him/her to draw a picture as well.

¨     Early Grade School – have your child either write out the answer himself/herself (encourage phonetic spelling) without your help, or offer to help with spelling each word out loud one word at a time.

¨     Grade School – have your child write a sentence or two on his/her own and then read over and discuss the response.  (You decide whether to correct the spelling or not)

¨     Older Child – have your child write a longer response (paragraph).

¨     As A Challenge – instead of a question ask your older child to write a story or a poem about cars.



Print out a Cars Word Search: Easy Cars Word Search or Difficult Cars Word Search.


Check here for the answer keys: Easy Cars Word Search Key or Difficult Cars Word Search Key.



Raid your child’s bookshelves to find any books with cards in them.


Go to the library with your child to find some books about cars.


Go to the library on your own to find books about cars from both fiction and nonfiction to have already on hand for your theme day.  Many libraries allow you to go online and search for titles based on subject (search for “cars” under “children’s” books.  You can also look for books about specific cars if your child has a preference for say vintage cars or racing cars).  Reserve them if you can to save time.


Try to find some of these nonfiction/learning titles:

· Car Science : An Under-the-hood, Behind-the-dash look at How Cars Work, by Richard Hammond, DK Publishing, 2008—if you have older kids who are into the science of how things work this is the book for them.

· Cars 100 Years Ago, by Allison Lassieur, amicus readers, 2012—This is an easy reader book with a simple history of the automobile.

· Eyewitness Books: Car, written by Robert Sutton, DK Publishing, 2005—Great for older kids as it has a lot of writing but even when my boys were younger they loved these DK books because of all the photographs.

· Formula One Race Cars on the Move, by Janet Piehl, Lerner Publishing Group, Inc., 2011—Part of the LIghtnig Bolt Books series this one looks at Formula One race cars  with very simple text and photographs.  Good for new readers.


Here are some fun picture books about cars:

· Cars and Trucks and Things that Go, by Richard Scarry , Golden Books, 1998—This is a family favourite.  We love to pour over the fun illustrations and details in this book about the pig family on a road trip.

· If I Built a Car, by Chris Van Dusen, Dutton Children’s Books, 2005—This rhyming book is about a boy named Jack and the wonderous car he wants to invient.

· The Life of a Car, by Susan Steggall, Henry Holt and Company, 2008—With bright illustrations made of collages of torn paper, this easy to read  book was a hit with my new reader who was so proud that he could read the words.

· Mini Racer, by Kristy Dempsey and illustrated by Bridget Strevens-Marzo, Bloomsbury, 2011—In this fun rhyming picture book animals race in all sorts of fun looking cars.

· R is for Race Car: A Stock Car Alphabet, Written by Brad Herzog and illustrated by Jane Gilltrap Bready, Sleeping Bear Pres, 2006—This is a rhyming alphabet book that teaches about stock car racing.  It also has additional historical or factual information on the side of each illustration.

· Rattletrap Car, by Phyllis Root and illustrated by Jill Barton, Candlewick press, 2001—This funny book is about a family trying to get to the lake on a hot day in their old rattletrap car which keeps falling apart.  Wait until you see how they fix it!

· The Scrubbly-Bubbly Car Wash, by Irene O’Garden and illustrated by Cynthia Jabar, HarperCollins Publishers, 2003—This brightly illustrated book has a fun rhyming story about taking the car to the car wash.





                            Materials: A piece of coloured paper, assorted stickers with cars on them, markers and crayons (optional).


                           Step 1: Give your child the paper and stickers and have him/her make a collage with the stickers or make a scene.

Step 2: If your child wishes he/she could use crayons or markers to embellish the picture or scene (like adding roads, buildings or signs).


NOTE: Other use for car stickers: use them to cover a plastic bin that will be used to keep your child’s toy cars in.



Materials: Card stock folded in half, pencil, child safe scissors, markers.


Step 1: Have your child draw a simple car shape on the folded card stock making sure the top of the car is on the fold of the car.  If your kids are too young to do this step you can draw the card yourself.  Use a basic oval shape for an easy car or a square like my eldest son’s red car in the picture on the side.

Step 2: Let your child decorate and colour the car.  Don’t forget to draw a person driving the car.

Step 3: Hold the card so it is closed and then cut around the car shape on both sides of the paper making sure the fold is left uncut.


NOTE: These make great Father’s Day Cards!




Materials: Empty toilet paper roll (or paper towel roll for a stretch limousine), paints, child safe scissors, black paper and yellow paper, we also used black foam paper with sticker backs.


Step 1: Have your child paint the roll the colour he/she wants for the car.

Step 2:Let the roll dry.

Step 3:Cut out tires from the black paper (or use foam sticker paper as we did) and glue or stick to the side of the tube once the paint is dry.

Step 4: (Parent step) Cut a simple square on the top of the roll leaving one side uncut in order to fold it up.  This makes the car seat.  If your child will want to use it for a toy see if the toy will fit in the tube standing (a big toy) or if it is small like a LEGO figure make the hole smaller.

Step 5: Cut out an oval for the steering wheel in black and fold it.  If your child wants to use a small toy for the car this will also help the toy rest on it like a real seat.  Glue the folded part onto the tube so that part of it is sticking up like a steering wheel and the rest is over the cut hole.

Step 6: Cut out two yellow circles with foldable stems.  Fold the stem and glue it into the paper roll so that they from headlights.

Step 7: Have fun with your simple new toy.


              ROAD MAT FOR TOY CARS:


NOTE: This has been an extended project of ours that we have worked on for many days off school.  We used four poster sheets and my eldest took great care to  plan each mat out.   We measure our road size and location so that the roads could be interchangeable to make for unique playing each time but you don’t have to do that.  You can just make one single mat and then it wouldn’t matter where the roads are.


Materials:  Poster paper, pencils, ruler, markers and crayons, a toy car (to use as a model for road size).


Step 1: (Optional) If you want you and your child can plan out the mat in advance drawing a simple model on a sheet of paper.

Step 2: (Optional) If you want you can measure out the width of your roads and location on the paper so that two posters can fit beside each other, but this is not necessary.

Step 3: Using pencils, work together with your child to draw roads and buildings and parks on your poster paper. 

Step 4: Work together to colour the poster using crayons.

Step 5: use markers to outline and write names of stores etc. if you want.

Step 6: (Optional) You could take your poster into an office supply store and have it laminated.  This will make it sturdier and will enable your child to use if for many years.

Step 7: Have fun playing with cars!



Materials: paper (or for a sturdier craft use sheets of coloured foam as we did), foam letter stickers, any other stickers.

Step 1: Work together with your child to come up some clever licence plate ideas.  We used name initials.

Step 2:  Sort through the letter stickers to find the ones you will need and let your child stick them on a rectangular piece of paper (or craft foam).

Step 3: Decorate with other stickers if desired.



NOTE: In car races the checkered flag indicates the race is over and someone has won!


Materials: White paper, piece of craft foam cut into a small square, white glue (if you use craft foam with sticker back you do not need glue), lid from a water or pop bottle, black paint, wax paper, paint brush, newspaper to cover the table, old clothes or art smock to protect clothes.


Step 1: Glue or stick the square of foam onto the flat top of a screw top bottle lid.

Step 2: Put some black glue onto some wax paper (be sure to have the table covered with paper already and have your kids in art smocks or old clothes).

Step 3: Show your child how to apply paint to the foam square using a paint brush and then how if it is gently pressed onto a sheet of paper it makes a black square stamp.  Show your child how to leave a space (to be the white square) and then make another black stamp.  Have your child continue the pattern.

Step 4: Let the paint dry.

Step 5 You could then tape a straw or stick to the paper to make it a flag that your child can wave.



If you have a large cardboard box from a recent purchase get out the paints and paint clothes and work together as a family to create a cardboard box car.  Just paint the tires , the racing stripes, the headlights etc., and let your little one sit in it when it is dry and use his/her imagination.




Stop Light Celery:


Ingredients:  Celery, red, yellow and green pepper, cream cheese.


Step 1: Cut celery to desired size and spread cream cheese in the curved portion of the celery.

Step 2: Cut small squares or red, yellow and green peppers and  gently place on top of the cream cheese to create a stop light of peppers!


3D Cracker and Cheese Cars:


NOTE: My oldest son created this car snack!


Ingredients:  Three rectangular shaped larger crackers, six small square crackers, 1 carrot cut into three circles, cheddar cheese cut into small circles using a small cookie cutter (or just use a knife to cut cheese shapes yourself), two red pepper strips, cream cheese.


Step 1: Pile the rectangular crackers on top of each other as the car’s base.

Step 2: Spread cream cheese on the top cracker and arrange four square crackers flat over the cheese and two standing upright between the four crackers.  These are the seats.

Step 2: Spread cream cheese on the cheese wheels and press into the sides of the cracker base as the tires.

Step 3: Spread cream cheese on the carrots and press into the car as headlights and a steering wheel.

Step 4: Lay a red pepper over the headlights as the front bumper and lay a second red pepper strip as the back bumper (or use cream cheese to press into the cracker car).


NOTE: You could also disregard these steps and just have your child create his/her own car creation.



Drive in Dogs:  We found the idea for this lunch in the October 2010 edition of Family Fun Magazine (you can also find the recipe online here: hot dogs in 4-inch square of pizza dough or pigs in blanket dough, seam down on a lightly sprayed baking sheet.  Use black olives as wheels pressed into the dough then bake.  Toothpicks and small pickles as people (draw faces with mustard and toothpicks), and use a pickle slice as a steering wheel.


Wheel shaped pasta  is perfect for this Theme Day; just boil up some and add your child’s favourite sauce.



 Chocolate Cookie Tires: Find a recipe for chocolate cookies in your favourite cookbook or online.




Print a copy of my Road Sign Matching Worksheet and together as a family see if you can match all the signs to their meanings.  Check here for the answer key: Road Sign Matching Key.





Pick someone to be the caller.  When the caller shouts “Green Light” everyone moves around the room.   When the caller says “Red Light” everyone stops and freezes.  When the caller shouts “Yellow Light” everyone moves very slowly. You can add other coloured lights for fun as well and assign funny movements to each colour.



If you are going on a family vacation that involves travel time in the car print out one of these four Road Trip Bingo Sheets.  When your child sees one of the things on the sheet he/she must colour the square in.   You can have two levels for prizes.  One for a straight BINGO but to make the game last longer see if your child can fill in all the spaces and offer another prize for that accomplishment.



My kids love Road Trip Bingo so I made a Road Sign Bingo for something different as well. 




Here is another fun game to make for a road trip from Family Fun Magazine:



Q: What part of the car is lazy?

A: The wheels because they are always “tire-d”.


Q: What do you call a car that works only in the Fall?

A: An Autumn-mobile.


Q: What kind of television shows do automobiles watch?

A: Car-toons.


Q. What did the first stoplight say to the second stoplight?
A. Don't look I'm changing!




If your child has any toy cars or sets this Theme Day would be the perfect time to sit down together and play with them or race the cars.  If you made the Toy Car Road Mat Craft above use that to play with. When the weather is nice, we like to race the small toy cars down our driveway to see who can go the farthest.  We also like to make road tracks with simple wooden blocks.  When my eldest was little he liked to set up his wooden train set and use that as a car track to put all his cars on.  What fun ideas can you come up with as a family?




Search through your child’s DVD/ video collection (or visit your local library before hand or the Video Store) to find your child’s favourite shows about cars.


Try these titles:


· Berenstain Bears: Take a Car Trip!

· Rory the Racing car

· Mighty Machines


For movies about cars try:


· Disney’s Cars or Cars 2

· The old Disney Herbie the Love Bug movies


Try to find this non-fiction title at your local library:


· How a Car is Built, A Think Media Production, 1995



Wash the car: If it’s a nice day grab some buckets of soapy water and wash the family car.  You could also take the car to a car wash.



Go on a small road trip for the weekend or just for the day to a National Park or a different museum.  Make the car time fun by trying a Road Trip Bingo or Road Sign Bingo (see above) or some other fun car games.



If you live near an Automobile Museum plan a trip there after your Theme Day.

Take your car to a car wash together.



Buckle up for some automobile fun!

Photo: C Wright


Cars Sticker Collage or Scene

Car Cards!

Toilet Paper Roll Car Craft

Homemade toy car mat

Stop Light Celery Snack

Hot Dog Cars

3D Cracker Car

Checkered Flag Made with homemade stamps

License Plate Craft

Road Sign Matching

Road Trip Bingo