5 Ways to Play with a Road Playmat

Kids love road playmats. But have you ever wondered all the different ways children can play with them?

Road playmats are beneficial for children's development as they foster skills such as spatial awareness, coordination, imaginative play, problem-solving, social interaction, safety awareness, and independent play. 


These mats provide a visual representation of roads, intersections, and landmarks, helping children learn about directions. 

They are a fun and versatile way to keep children entertained and even when not specifically used for imaginative play with toy cars, the playmat serves as a comfortable and designated space where children can play with a wide range of toys.

Build bridges out of paper or cardboard 


Create a DIY bridge or tunnel for your children's road play mat by using paper or cardboard found in your home. 

This is a great way to recycle junk mail or old colouring sheets. 

Start by letting your kids unleash their creativity and decorate a piece of paper or cardboard as they please using paint, crayons or textas. 

Next, secure the paper or cardboard onto the mat in a curved shape by taping one side down and then the other side, ensuring it sticks up a few centimetres above the ground. 

If using paper, the bridge may be wobbly, this just adds to the fun! Your kids can now use their toy cars or figurines to go on adventures. 

Navigate through thrilling twists and turns to build coordination 


Navigating toy cars on a playmat offers a valuable opportunity for children to develop or improve their hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. 

As they guide the toy cars along the roads while staying on track, children must carefully coordinate their hand movements with their visual perception. 

Engaging in imaginative play with toy cars on the playmat further develops fine motor skills. 

Children use their dexterity to grasp the toys, positioning and placing them on the desired spots of the playmat. These actions involve delicate finger movements, precision, and hand-eye coordination. 

Whether it's parking the cars, arranging them in specific formations, or reenacting scenes, the manipulation of the toys during imaginative play enhances their fine motor skills.


Building blocks as tunnels

building with road playmat and blocks

Building blocks can be used to create tunnels on the road map, enhancing the play experience. 

Children can stack blocks vertically to form tunnels for their toy cars to pass through. 

This activity develops spatial awareness and fine motor skills as they balance and position the blocks. Constructing tunnels also promotes problem-solving as children find solutions to create stable structures. 

By incorporating building blocks into road map play, children engage in interactive and creative play, combining construction skills with storytelling. 

The tunnels add an extra level of excitement and exploration to their playtime.


Build your own city 


You can try building a big city on your playmat with blocks, LEGO people, and farm animals (although no toy is off limits!). 

Kids can construct buildings using LEGO or building blocks, populate the city with LEGO people/ action figurines and farm animals. Once the city is built the toy cars can drive through the streets. 


Or they can pretend to be Godzilla and stomp through the city. 

However, they decide to play during this activity they are sure to have a blast!


Could be a train track for Thomas


Use the road on the playmat as a reference to construct a train track for Thomas the Tank Engine. 

Make it a fun challenge for your kids to align the track closely with the road on the mat. They can utilize your existing train set at home to build an elaborate and impressive track design. 


Let their creativity soar and create something extraordinary that complements the playmat's road. 

This activity combines the joy of train play with the excitement of building, providing a unique and engaging play experience for children.


Why is playing with cars important?

Playing with cars is a valuable activity that promotes children's development. It supports the growth of fine motor skills through actions like pushing, maneuvering, and turning the wheels of toy cars, enhancing hand movements and coordination. 

Additionally, car play encourages imaginative play as children create their own stories and adventures. It also provides opportunities for cooperative play, allowing children to develop social skills with others such as communication, collaboration, and sharing. 

Language development is stimulated through conversations, descriptive language, and storytelling during play. 

Why is imaginative play important? 

Imaginative play with cars fosters creativity, problem-solving, and critical thinking as children create their own stories and scenarios. 

Cognitive development is promoted through spatial awareness, logical thinking, and cause-and-effect understanding. 

Encouraging and facilitating car play provides a fun and enriching environment for children's holistic development.

How to promote independent play

To promote imaginative play in children, there are several effective strategies that can be implemented. It is essential to provide a safe and stimulating environment where children feel comfortable and encouraged to explore their imagination. 

This can be achieved by having a variety of toys, art materials, and props available for them to use during play. 

Allowing children ample time without specific activities or schedules allows their creativity to flourish. This unstructured time provides the freedom for children to initiate and engage in imaginative play at their own pace and direction. 

Giving children the autonomy to choose their play themes, toys, and characters empowers them and nurtures their decision-making skills. This autonomy fosters a sense of ownership over their play experiences and boosts their imaginative thinking. 

Teaching problem-solving skills is another valuable aspect of promoting imaginative play. 

Encourage children to think critically, solve puzzles, and overcome challenges during their play. This helps develop their problem-solving abilities, resilience, and creativity

Road playmats offer a world of imaginative possibilities for children. By providing a designated space for driving toy cars, these playmats promote fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and spatial awareness. 

They encourage creative play, allowing children to create stories, navigate routes, and solve challenges. Road playmats also facilitate social interaction and language development as children engage in cooperative play and communicate their play scenarios. 

Additionally, they offer a platform to introduce basic traffic signs and rules, promoting safety awareness. With their ability to captivate children's attention and foster independent play, road playmats serve as a valuable tool for both entertainment and educational growth.


Written by Laura Agrimi, mother of 2 and owner of Grace & Maggie.

Grace & Maggie

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PO Box 2852, Cheltenham, VIC 3192

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


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