My 5yo loves hot wheels. Really loves it; the cars, the track, the tricks. It is only beaten by Lego!
Recently, as a means of keeping him occupied (minus a screen), I asked him to build me the longest track he could…
As (what will become) the family room in our new house is still devoid of furniture there is a fantastically long, clear space to set up a track in. In his usual fashion, he did exactly as asked, initially building a huge loop with plain track only! An impressive loop, but one that he wouldn’t be able to get a car to go around :)
So, I asked him to work out how he could get a car around it.
By breaking up the loop with ‘trick’ pieces he was able to get the car to make it around the top loop and part way back down the other side.
After getting that far, despite being rather pleased with himself, he’d had enough of the giant loop! He decided to build some different tracks. One of these didn’t seem to do much, being more a collection of pieces placed together artfully (!), but the one attached to the mantelpiece… well, when the top was supported by a helpful adult (me!) and the cars ‘dropped’ carefully, they went a long way!
I love toys like this, watching my son use his imagination and problem solving skills is fantastic. He spent ages optimising the location of the trick pieces in the big loop, to get each stage to be as long as possible, but with enough momentum left in the cars to trigger the next trick piece. So, there’s even some basic physics to be learned!
And, with very little effort, I was able to get him to forget about screens for a good part of the morning :)