Playing Pretend with Hot Wheels

boy playing with Hot Wheels cars

My first son Miles is diagnosed Autistic, or on the Autism Spectrum. He's very high functioning but still has hurdles everyday that a lot of us take for granted. For example, simple directions are not simple for him. He needs us to tell him almost in his face what we need him to do, and then constant reminders as he goes because he just processes things differently. A walk on the beach isn't his idea of a relaxing activity because the sensory overload of the sand hurts him. And our hardest hurdle that we are slowly overcoming little by little is his ability to play pretend.

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I know I've mentioned pretend play a lot on here, but I just can't stress its importance enough. It helps our children to be thinkers, problem solvers, to be empathetic and more amazing traits like that!

We try to incorporate imagination and pretend play into every day's agenda. My son is very literal and has a hard time grasping things like "That was a piece of cake!"...he wants to know where the cake is. Telling him that when he wears a cape that he's a super hero or that a toy car is a real car was a struggle. I reached out to one of his teachers to ask what we could do to really help him to feel more comfortable with his imagination and to really get the pretend play going in our home and she suggested tangible objects that pretend play can flourish from-like a play house or a parking garage for his abundance of Hot Wheels toys! It makes it so that the scenario of playing with toy cars seems more like real life for him.

Enter the Hot Wheels Ultimate Garage™.

The Ultimate Garage helps Miles to let his imagination run wild! It warms my heart to hear him talking to his cars, making them rev their engines to go up the ramps and to say things like "Oh! I need more gas!" before rolling a car up to the gas pump. He is able to mesh his literal grasp of the world with pretend play in a way that makes him comfortable and let's him use his favorite toys-CARS!

Connecting some of the Track Builders sets to the Ultimate Garage started to stretch his comfort a little since for the most part they aren't things you can find in the real world but he was too excited to walk away. His favorite Track Builder set is the Volcano Blast. I have to admit it's pretty freaking cool, and while Volcanoes aren't something you might drive cars down every day, Miles is able to play with them without connecting the literal interpretation of the toy! What a huge step!

He's not just using it as a ramp, he yells at the cars about running away from the lava or getting into the palm trees (one of the 5 stunts your cars can do on this set). These aren't things that he would have been doing only a few months ago, so I am so grateful for toys that stretch his imagination while incorporating the toys he loves so much!

If you're looking for some great gifts that can facilitate pretend play and give your kids so much enjoyment and interactive fun, check out the Hot Wheels Ultimate Garage and Track Builder Sets like the Volcano Blast!

*This post has been sponsored by Mattel. We were given product for review purposes, but all opinions are my own.

What toys help your kids use their imaginations?

 

Emily Stone is Co-Founder of Simply Real Moms where she shares parenting advice and product reviews.

Image courtesy of the author

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