My son loves to play, build, and race his toy cars. One day, I asked him if he wanted to have a car wash after seeing this activity on the Internet. I remember looking at this activity and thinking this would be a great idea for a kid who likes cars.
I had several reasons for suggesting the car wash. First, this activity was a fun way to encourage my son to practice his penmanship. The weekend we did the activity, it was raining. I was trying to find something hands-on to do in the house; although, a car wash is really fun when doing it outside on a sunny day. Furthermore, I wanted to incorporate three things that interest my son which are cars, counting, and getting messy.
Our Car Wash incorporated fun and so many aspects of hands-on learning. I thought I would share this activity with you so your kids can have as much fun as my son.
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Let’s Get Started
- Big sheet of poster board or white craft paper
- Toy Cars
- Painters Tape
- Towels (3)
- Wash Cloth
- Cash Register or Play Money (You may also make your own play money)
- Two Rectangular Plastic Containers
- Dish Detergent
- Have your child decide the Car Wash Prices.
- If your child can write, have them write the car wash prices on the poster board or white craft paper.
- My son decided to give each color car a different price.
- If your child can’t write, you may create the Car Wash Price Sign for them.
- You may have your child draw the various colored cars on the sign.
- I created a template on construction paper to assist my son in organizing the Car Wash prices on the white craft paper.
- Tape the Car Wash Prices to a wall where it is visible for customers.
- Get the toy cars, cash register, wash cloth, and towels
- Lay the towels on the floor if you are doing this in your home.
- If you are outside, then you can skip this step.
- Fill one rectangular plastic container with dish detergent and water halfway.
- This is where you will wash the cars
- Fill the other rectangular plastic container with water.
- This is where you will rinse the cars.
Now the Car Wash can Begin!
- Have your child role play the Car Wash owner.
- You or your child’s siblings and/or friends can play the customers.
- As a customer, get some play money so you can pay to get your car washed.
- I started off with $30.00 divided into (10) one dollar bills, (2) five dollar bills, (1) ten dollar bill
- Have your child say the following:
- “Welcome to the Car Wash, how may I help you?
- You will respond by saying the following…
- Yes, I would like to have my yellow cars washed please.”
- Then your child will look at the poster they made to see how much it costs to wash the yellow cars.
- On our poster, it costs $2.00 to wash the yellow cars.
- I had three yellow cars, so I gave him $6.00 with (1) five dollar bill and (1) one dollar bill
- Sometimes I gave him more money than the cost of washing the car so he could practice his subtraction skills and give me change.
- After giving my son the money, he took the cars and washed them.
- He washed them in the soapy water container and then put them in the container with water to rinse.
- Next he put them on the towel to dry.
- We kept repeating these steps until all the cars were washed.
- Another time we did this activity, I was the Car Wash Owner.
- We have also done this activity where my son was the Cash Wash Owner for the red cars but I was the Cash Wash Owner for the blue cars.
- In other words, we were alternating roles.
- Tailor this activity to your child’s ability by doing the following…
- Have your child wash only one car at a time so they don’t have to do any subtraction or addition.
- Only give your child one dollar bills so they can practice counting by ones.
- Make all the car wash prices the same to make things easier.
Subjects Learned in this Activity
- Sort the cars by colors.
- Make different prices for each color car.
- You may also have a car wash with one color car like the red cars.
- Adding the costs to wash multiple cars.
- Subtracting when the customer gives the Car Wash Owner too much money and change is needed.
- Multiplying the cost when multiple cars with the same price are needed to be washed
- We had some cars that would float in the water and some that would not
- We discussed that cars with less density than the water will float.
- Cars with more density than the water will sink.
- We reviewed the word buoyancy, which is the ability to float in water.
- You may discuss the science of soapy water and how it cleans the cars.
- Soap attaches to dirt and grease and causes it to be pulled off the toy cars and suspended in the water
- My son was able to practice his handwriting skills in creating the Car Wash Price Sign.
- Teach your child the importance of being nice and respectful to their customer.
- Also ensure your child knows to clean the cars well so the customer is happy.
- If the customer is happy then they will bring more customers.
- Explain to your child that Entrepreneurs own businesses and their purpose is to solve problems or make things better.
- A great business has happy customers who will tell others about their service or product.
- Take your child to a real Car Wash and show them it is a Real Business.