Creative Play: With Hot Wheels Cars

My son used to love Hot Wheels cars. He wanted a new one every time we went to the store (and for only $1, I have to admit that I sometimes used them as a bribe reward for good behavior!). But as he has gotten a little older, he has found new toys like Beyblades and Legos and any sort of sports equipment he can get his hands on that have taken over his interest. His huge bin of Hot Wheels cars have fallen by the wayside and been slightly forgotten. He will still get them out for a race down his ramp occasionally, but nothing like he used to. I suppose this is just the natural effect of a little boy growing up and forgetting his first fascination with cars. I’m sure that fascination will come around again by the time he’s 15 or so…

Until then, I wanted to try giving our Hot Wheels collection a new life. For a more creative play experience, I added some unexpected materials to go along with the cars. It really makes their little minds stretch… And parents’ minds too, for coming up with the ideas! 😉

Create Your Own Hot Wheels Dirt Track


-Empty egg carton filled with “dirt” materials (I used coffee grounds, unsweetened cocoa, and flour)


-Empty shoebox lid

-Spray bottle with water


-Hot Wheels cars

I set out all the materials, and when my son (6YO) came home from school, he asked (somewhat skeptically), “What’s this?”


So I said, “It’s a Create-Your-Own Dirt Track and Car Wash for your Hot Wheels cars! You can play with it however you like.”

“Oh. Okay!” he said, and he got right down to playing. Since there was mostly snow on the ground at the time, he wanted his track to have a lot of flour in it for some snow. Once he had his dirt track made, he raced and crashed his cars, demolition derby style.


I think he enjoyed getting them dirty just so he could wash them off in the “car wash.”


Build Your Own Hot Wheels Town


-Large piece of butcher paper (you could also use the white inside of wrapping paper)

-Hot Wheels

-Markers, crayons, or colored pencils


First, I drew a road, making sure that the lanes were large enough to fit the Hot Wheels cars. Then I made a couple of buildings and labeled them. I also made a couple of trees out of the blocks and drew a few flowers for decoration on the town map, to encourage my son to add more.


However, he was much less interested in this activity. He barely played with these materials, only wanting to build a few more buildings out of the blocks and then move on to something else! The baby boy, however, really enjoyed it! He colored on the roads with the colored pencils and pushed the cars along the streets with me. Never underestimate the little ones!


Even though my older son was much more excited about the dirt track than the town building, I wanted to share both ideas with you in case your child is the opposite of mine! What I love about these play “invitations” are that they are a simple way to encourage creative play, without demanding it and without too much adult structure or intervention. You can simply set out the materials and let them create (or not create!) as they like. If you’ve never tried something like this with your children, I encourage you to give it a go! You can find many more awesome ideas on Instagram using the hashtag #invitationtoplay or #invitationtocreate. You can also follow me on IG @closefamilies. 🙂

Happy playing!
Domestic Superhero