Easy homemade DIY magnetic tow truck game that is sure to add tons of fun! Made from recycled cereal box, plastic bottle caps, Popsickle sticks, magnets, and paper fasteners. Simply print and glue the printable to create this fun activity!
Does anyone else have a vehicle obsessed toddler? I seriously have never made so many cars and trucks and train related crafts in my life! But if it keeps my little boy entertained, I’m all for it, and I’m sure you are too!
A few months back I posted How to Make a Magnetic Fishing Game, and it has been a reader favorite. Unfortunately, my little two year old isn’t so interested in his fishing game. Undeterred, I decided to create another magnetic game to entice my toddler. This time, it would involve some type of vehicle.
After brainstorming a few magnetic toy car ideas, I came up with a tow truck. The tow truck is a perfect magnet activity since it can hook onto other magnet cars for a fun simulation of real tow trucks. And yes indeed! This time the picky toddler loves the tow truck game much more! Success!
This magnet activity is also great for preschoolers and school aged children. For older children, they can help with the construction of the tow truck and the magnetic foam cars. Not only will they be able to play with the car at the end, they can also take pride in the fact that they made it. This helps build their self-esteem and confidence, which is so important for future success. It’s also a fun activity to make with kids on a rainy. However, Adult supervision is highly recommended as we will be using a hot glue gun.
Ready to make this fun magnetic tow truck game? Let’s get started!
What Do I need to Make a Magnetic Tow Truck Game?
- My MAGNETIC TOW TRUCK GAME FREE Printable (available in my free resource library)
- Black Acrylic Paint and Brush
- Popsickle Sticks
- Glue Gun
- Mod Podge (optional, but adds a protective layer and sheen if using the gloss option)
- Plastic Bottle Caps (x4)
- Craft Magnets: I used two sizes 0.5″/1.27cm and 0.75″/1.9cm diameter. You can get a pack with different sizes on Amazon, or just use all the same size.
- Small Piece of yarn/string
- Paper Scissors
- Awl or screw driver
- Box Cutter or X-acto knife
- Not Pictured – Cereal Box (if not printing directly on cardstock)
- Not Pictured – Thick White Craft Foam Sheets (see Tips below if not wanting to use): I got mine at Michaels, but you can also purchase them on Amazon
- Not Pictured – Small Piece of black felt (for attaching yarn to magnet)
How to Make a Tow Truck Game Using Magnets?
First, print out the Magnetic Tow Truck Game Free Printable. For this tutorial, I printed everything on regular paper. You can also print on sticker paper or cardstock directly. See Tips for more information.
Next, Prepare the Tow Truck Wheels and the Tow Truck Lever.
How to Make Tow Truck Wheels:
Puncture holes in the middle of the bottle caps by first making an “x” with a box cutter, then driving an awl (or screwdriver) into the hole. Paint bottle caps with black acrylic paint and allow to dry.
Once the paint has dried, take 4 paper fasteners and insert into the hole.
How to Make Tow Truck Toy Lever
Puncture holes into 4 Popsickle sticks, about 3/4″ away from (1.2cm) tip. Do this gently or else the Popsickle stick may crack. Notice the crack at the bottom of the stick on the right.
Insert paper fastener through the punctured hole.
Paint the Popsickle stick with black paint. You can leave half of the sticks unpainted as you will be removing them later.
How to Make Magnetic Foam Cars:
Cut out the paper car printable outside the dotted lines and trace on foam with ball point pen.
LEFT: Cut out the traced foam.
RIGHT: Cut out the dotted line border around paper car.
Glue the car image onto foam. If you are using glue stick, use a roller and roll over the foam with some pressure. This is to make sure the car is nicely (and flatly) glued to the foam. If you printed the car image on sticker paper, just stick it onto the foam.
Use hot glue to glue craft magnets to the front of the foam cars.
How to Make DIY Magnetic Tow Truck Toy:
Glue tow truck template to cereal box if not printing directly on cardstock. Use a roller (baking pin, glass bottle, etc) and apply firm pressure to make sure the printable is nicely glued on. Cut out Tow truck template.
Apply Mod Podge to the tow truck pieces and allow to dry.
Attaching Wheels to Tow Truck Toy:
Puncture holes in the bottom sides of the tow truck template.
Apply the wheels on using the paper fastener.
Attaching Towing Lever to Tow Truck Toy:
Using X-acto knife (or box cutter), make two slits in the back of the tow truck.
Cut off the unpainted part of the lever, and push the Popsickle sticks through the two slits.
Apply glue gun to where the Popsickle stick levers poke out
Cut pieces of extra Popsickle stick and glue them around the bottom of the lever for extra stabilization.
Cut a piece of black felt circle the size of your magnet. Cut a hole in the middle of the felt and poke the yarn through the hole. Apply glue gun to the felt and yarn and glue it to the circular magnet.
Glue other end of yarn to the end of the lever.
Apply hot glue in between the long end of the lever and glue together.
Glue the rest of the tow truck together.
Another view of finished Magnetic Tow Truck.
Tips For Making Magnetic Tow Truck Game
- Print on card stock: Printing the tow truck printable on heavy card stock will eliminate the extra step needed to glue it onto a cereal box. The only reason I do that is because it saves money since it’s slightly pricier to print on card stock than regular paper
- Print on Sticker Paper: If you print everything on sticker paper, this will eliminate the extra step needed to glue. Again, my reasoning for not doing so is to save on cost.
- Skip the Foam: If you don’t want to use foam to make the towable cars, you can print them out and laminate them instead. Hot glue small magnets to the laminated cars or use paper clips.
- Use a Roller to Smooth out the Glue Stick: This can be a baking pin, a glass bottle, or the side of the glue stick. Apply plenty of glue stick your printable, and once you stick it on, roll the paper and apply firm pressure.This is to make sure printable is securely glued onto the cardstock/foam (if you’re not doing Tips 1 and 2). This is especially important if you plan to mod podge afterwards. Otherwise, the part of the paper that isn’t securely glued down will pucker and form a bubble when you apply mod podge later. If you look at some of my photos you will see the slight bubble of the paper under the mod podge layer because I didn’t glue it well!
- Use High Temperature Glue Gun: While a low temperature glue gun still works, I find that the high temperature glue gun gives you more working time. This is helpful when gluing the sides of the tow truck to the middle piece of the truck. Otherwise, you will need to work in sections and glue the front section first, then middle, then back of the tow truck.
- Make an “X” with the box cutter: When puncturing the hole on the popsicle stick and the bottle caps, use the box cutter to make a small “X”first. Then take the awl or scissor and gently turn back and forth to make the hole.
Suggested Guide to Play this Magnetic Toy Game
- Toddler Play: Help your child recognize and learn colors. “Can you tow the red car here?” or “find the blue car!” and “Can you tow the blue car?”
- Toddler Play: If you child can recognize different vehicles, ask them to “tow” specific vehicles. For example “Can you tow the police car car?” or “The ambulance broke down, can you get it for mommy?”
- Toddler/Preschooler play: Partially hide foam cars in play sand in plastic bin and let your child find and “rescue”the cars out.
- Preschool and up: Make multiple tow trucks for each player and see who can tow the most cars
- Preschool and up: Make multiple tow trucks and multiple sets of foam cars. Assign point values to each vehicle. Compete to see who can get the most points at the end. Also great of learning and practicing adding (math!)
The possibilities of playing this game are endless! I would love to hear what other ways your kids played with this game. Don’t forget to pin the image below to save the project for a rainy day! Happy Crafting!