Pushing Carts

child pushing shopping trolley

Set up your environment to encourage the development of walking with lots of opportunities for children to push trolleys, prams, carts or even cardboard boxes.

Set up

This activity is all up setting up an engaging environment for children to play with push toys. Set up a range of different push toys around your environment. If you don't have any push toys, use stable boxes or chairs that can be pushed around the floor. Create interesting prompts that encourage squatting and loading the push toy as well as pushing it such as:

  • A pile of wooden blocks next to the block wagon
  • A pram filled with soft toys or dolls
  • A carboard box with balls next to it
  • A pile of sand next to a push cart
  • Food in a shopping basket next to a trolley
How to play
Step 1
  • Role model to the children how to use the different push toys and the types of activities they can do e.g., load the blocks into the wagon, take the blocks to the table and build a castle
Step 2
  • To encourage engagement you might want to place yourself as the toy collector and the children have to collect all the different toys around the area and bring them to you. Give encouragement and high fives when arrive with their toys 
Step 3
  • Complete different tasks with the push toys such as:
    • Push all the teddies to the blanket to have a picnic
    • Load up all the sand and take it to the water play area and make a castle
    • Do the shopping and take the food to the kitchen to cook dinner
Make it easier
  • After placing push toys around the environment let the children engage with them in self-directed play
  • Place push toys on smoother surfaces, such as wooden floors, to reduce friction
Make it harder
  • Place appropriate push toys on grass to increase friction and challenge your child
Activity information
Age: 0-12 months, 1-2 years, 2-3 years
Equipment: Wooden boxes (optional)
Duration: 10 minutes
Skill focus
Explore these skills for teaching tips
Skill teaching

Push toys are great for babies who are pulling to stand, starting to cruise around or in the beginning stages of walking. By encouraging them to squat and pick up toys to load the push toys this also encourages the development of leg and core strength needed for walking.

Push toys can also be used to encourage floor play for younger babies who are sitting or engaging in tummy time.

Physical literacy tips
  • Ask questions: where should we push this to? what should we push next? what can we collect?