Car-related activities to play with children during a lockdown

The various lockdowns across the UK have been tough as it has meant staying at home more, people being unable to continue with their hobbies and events being cancelled. Add to this that many children are having to stay at home, it can be tough to keep them occupied.

If you have car-loving children or are just stuck for ideas about what to do with them during the latest lockdown, then there are lots of activities parents can play with their children at home.

From car toys, crafts and other activities to car games online and challenges, this guide looks at some of the best car-related activities you can play with children during a lockdown:

•Imaginary car play

•Play car games on the PlayStation, Xbox or PC

•Scalextric racing game

•Car colouring-in book

•Radio-controlled cars

•Watch car shows on TV

Imaginary car play

Best for: Ages 2-6

Child plays in cardboard cut out of car

If you have young children that are mad about cars, then you don’t need to go out and spend lots of money on the latest car toys or games as something as simple as a cardboard box will suffice.

A big empty box such as this is a great starting point for creative and imaginative play as children can decide how to change the box into something they can use for pretend play.

Victoria Welton, a photographer, radio presenter and the blogger behind Verily Victoria Vocalises, says imaginary play is one of the best activities you can play with your children during a lockdown.

“Imaginary play must be one of the best forms of activity for kids and, if your little one loves cars, then why not make your own and set off on an adventure. All you need is a big cardboard box (with flaps/edges still intact) and a big black marker pen. Draw wheels on the side, put some cushions inside for comfort, cut off the panels from the longer edges and cut out a steering wheel then attach this to one of the panels on the shorter edge to make a dashboard, plus you could draw some buttons on too then, you are off! Let your imagination take you on the journey of your dreams.

“It is so important to engage with your children when you can during a lockdown. It is hard to explain to them what is happening so, by engaging, you are keeping their world as normal as possible.”

Play car games on the PlayStation, Xbox or PC

Best for: Ages 5-adult

There are lots of car games online as well as games on the PlayStation and Xbox consoles, so if you are a gamer then you are spoilt for choice. The great thing about car games on the computer is the fact that you can virtually drive cars that you can find at a Ford dealer or sports cars that you have dreamt of getting behind the wheel of.

The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the motorsport calendar, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get your racing fix and with most people having more free time now, it is the perfect opportunity for you to enjoy the multitude of racing games that are out there.

If you don’t have a PlayStation or Xbox games console, there are still plenty of car games that you can play on the PC. Video Gamer talks about some of the older games that you can play on the PC: “While it may have given way to the console scene in recent years, the PC has still always been a hotbed for some of the top racing games across all of the different genres. Before your Gran Turismos and your Forza Motorsports started leading the way on console, there were a ton of old racing games for the PC that made it the go-to device for many budding petrolheads, with Geoff Crammond's F1 sims fondly remembered by some as the leaders of the pack.”

Below we have listed some car games you can play during the lockdown:

•GT Sport (PS4)

•Need for Speed Heat (PS4, Xbox One and PC)

•Assetto Corsa Competizione (PS4, Xbox One and PC)

•Forza Horizon 4 (PC)

•Ford Racing (PlayStation, Xbox and PC)

Scalextric racing game

Best for: Ages 3-adult

If you used to own the Scalextric racing games and still have them, then you should look to introduce them to your children. If you don’t have a Scalextric set, then there are plenty of tracks online that you can buy that suit most budgets.

Whilst you might still spend a few hours setting up the track and the basic formula of the older Scalextrics lives on, the newer versions pack in some serious tech which ranges from brakes to being able to record lap times.

Sarah Frame, the Brand Manager at Scalextric, told us about why buying a set during the lockdown is a good idea.

“Scalextric is a classic toy which can be enjoyed by all ages and brings the family together. There are cars available for film fanatics, classic and modern motorsport fans and those who love a good police car chase! With endless possibilities to extend, collect and race, there is something to keep everyone occupied.

“During the pandemic people seem to have looked inwards to things they like and trust, this has caused some resurgence in Scalextric, with parents and kids of the 70s/80s getting their old sets out the loft and enjoying family play.”

There are a variety of sets that you can purchase from the My First Scalextric sets and Micro Scalextric sets to digital sets and European sets. There are also different themes that you can buy including James Bond, Batman and The Joker, Wacky Races and GT tracks.

Sarah Frame told us more about the different sets you can play: “Scalextric has a range of products currently available, including My First Scalextric for racers 3+, and Micro Scalextric sets for racers 4+ which feature loop-the-loops and booby traps to knock your opponent off the track! For racers 5+, our standard Scalextric sets have a range of themes and technology, from the standard race sets recognised by children of the 70s and 80s, to sets which have app-based race management system so you can add pit stops and weather conditions to your race. For those who love their smart devices, our Spark Plug dongle and app allows you to race your car with your smart device! This technology is featured in our Batman vs Joker race set and will be featured in our new Formula E race set arriving in the summer.”

Car colouring-in book

Best for: Ages 3-13

Car colouring-in book

Children love to colour-in things and it can also be therapeutic to adults as well. If your little ones are mini petrolheads then you should look at buying a car colouring-in book to keep them occupied during the lockdown.

There are plenty of colouring-in books online that you can look at buying and they come in all shapes and sizes so you will find a book that suits your children.

A great hub that you can use is the Ford Family Hub as this offers you and your children a variety of colouring-in books, dot-to-dot maps and sketches that you can colour in with crayons. The colouring-in books features a range of templates of Ford car models that children can colour in such as a Ford Ranger Raptor in the desert or a race car such as the Ford GT powering around a track.

Some other car-related colouring-in books have been listed below:

Ultimate Car Colouring Book

Classic Car Colouring Book

The Supercar Colouring Book

Radio-controlled cars

Best for: Ages 12+

Radio-controlled cars

Building and driving a radio-controlled car is another great way to have some car-related fun during the latest national lockdown.

Once you have built the car, you’ll be looking to race it and you can repurpose your garden path or a room in your house into a racetrack.

If you were to race the cars outside you could have a path patio as a straight, use items like a hosepipe to represent a corner and garden furniture can be used as obstacles for the cars to manoeuvre around. Children and parents could compete with each other and see who gets the faster time.

Watch car shows on TV

Best for: Ages 12+

There is nothing worse than scrolling through the TV channels or the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime looking for a new programme to watch with the family.

Fortunately, for families who love their cars, there are so many car shows which have been released that you can watch.

Below we take you through some of the car shows which should be on your list of programmes to watch:

Rust Valley Restorers (Netflix) – Following hoarder Mike Hall and his restoration business in British Columbia, Canada, this show follows him on his journey to turn his collection of 400 crumbling classic cars into a business by restoring the wrecks to their former glory.

Top Gear (BBC iPlayer) – Still regarded as the biggest motoring show in the world, you can watch as the team push their cars and themselves to the limits, inform you about new cars being released and take part in various challenges.

Grand Tour (Amazon Prime) – Alternatively, you could watch former Top Gear presenters Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May in their new TV show. The three presenters continue to rampage around the world driving vehicles that range from pick-up trucks to muscle cars.

Uppity: The Willy T. Ribbs Story (Netflix) – This follows the story of the first black driver to compete in the Indy 500 (Willy T. Ribbs). This moving documentary draws on the experience of some interesting characters in the grassroots motorsport movement, but it also features some great motor cars too.

Whether it is playing Scalextric, watching a car-themed TV show or colouring in a car book, if your child loves cars, then these car-related activities will interest them and keep them occupied during the latest lockdown. Parents can get involved in any of these activities too.