Welcome to Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten! My class blog is the place I share information about some of the fun learning activities we are doing at school. I hope to provide parents with insight into what we are doing, and why, and to share ideas with other early childhood educators. Please don't use the photos or text of this blog without permission, but please do use any ideas you find useful. Thank you for stopping by!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Vroom! Vroom! Transportation Theme

What comes to mind when you think of a transportation unit?  Cars, trucks, trains, buses, bikes... there are so many possibilities, and the children seem to love them all!  Putting this blog post together, I found so many incredible pictures of transportation activities that we've done... so fasten your seat belt!  We're off!  

First stop, outer space.  I found the idea for our rocket ships at crafty-crafted.com and thought it was so adorable!  Most children seem to enjoy having their feed painted - I think it's the tickle-y feeling and the 1-1 time with a teacher... oh yeah, and the paint and craft supplies... We save our hand and foot print crafts in an alphabet binder, which I promise to share with you soon.
This blog post is packed with transportation themed learning activities and ideas for early childhood learning!
 I bought my astronaut costume on the day after Halloween, when everything was on clearance.  The children quite literally loved it to death.  It was used so hard by so many kiddos that it eventually split in the back and the zipper broke.  Any toy or material that the children use until it is unusable is a winner in my book, far better than those toys that just sit on a shelf unused.
This blog post is packed with transportation themed learning activities and ideas for early childhood learning!
 These kiddos are playing one of the games I created for my Astronauts and Aliens games pack.  It includes two space themed game boards, each in both a full color and a printer-friendly version, plus a snap/concentration style game, all focusing on learning the letter A - although you could use the space themed game boards with whatever skill you want your kiddos to learn.
This blog post is packed with transportation themed learning activities and ideas for early childhood learning!
 Another fun idea that I found via Pinterest.com at redesignrevolution.com it's a great idea for recycling bottles and making a high interest toy all at once.  Who doesn't like free toys?!
This blog post is packed with transportation themed learning activities and ideas for early childhood learning!

While I do believe play is very important for young children, and have offered my students a lot of time to explore their world through play, I know there is also room for learning more academic skills.  I believe there is a lot of room for those two philosophies to overlap - so we learned about non-standard units of measurement in a playful way, with these transportation themed math manipulatives from Lakeshore learning.
This blog post is packed with transportation themed learning activities and ideas for early childhood learning!
 I also have a collection of vehicle shaped beads, which the children love to sort by shape, color, translucent/non... so many possibilities. 

 Transportation Math 
Maybe your budget won't allow for manipulatives right now.  (I didn't buy mine new either!)  I've put together some math mats and a collection of paper vehicles to make it easy to incorporate math skills into a transportation unit.

This blog post is packed with transportation themed learning activities and ideas for early childhood learning!
You probably already have puzzles on hand for your kiddos - and if you don't, really, it's time to hit up some garage sales and pick some up.  Puzzles allow children the opportunity to learn to match shapes and colors, to think logically, to manipulate the pieces to develop spacial reasoning skills... and they are also fun!

No transportation unit would be complete without cars and trucks, the kind of transportation that our children have the most experience with. 

This blog post is packed with transportation themed learning activities and ideas for early childhood learning!
 The children have spent a lot of time "driving" the big trucks around the backyard.  For the children who really need big body play, bending over to hold a truck, and then running full tilt through the grass is pure joy.  When we're done running, we may as well have a car wash, and clean those vehicles up!  (Do you hear the music for "Working at the car wash" in your head now?  Yes, we sang it while we worked!)
This blog post is packed with transportation themed learning activities and ideas for early childhood learning!
 Another favorite play item that the children love enough to wear out, is our huge cardboard tubes.  People often ask where I got these, as there are so many great ways to use them, but it's not the kind of item you run to the craft store for.  No.  These were scavenged from the curb when neighbors had new carpet installed - the carpet comes wrapped on these awesome tubes.  Silly neighbors, they didn't know what the tubes are for, and tossed them out. (If you work with children long enough, I think you lose all sense of pride, and start picking up learning materials where-ever you find them.)
This blog post is packed with transportation themed learning activities and ideas for early childhood learning!
These kiddos are rolling toy cars and balls down the tubes.  It's great fun to put them in the top of the tube, then race to the bottom to see them magically appear!
This blog post is packed with transportation themed learning activities and ideas for early childhood learning!
 Here are the same small cars and some construction vehicles, and the children thoroughly enjoying moving some soil around with the trucks.  This was lovely sensory play, pretend, and an opportunity to work on co-operation with our friends, as the children built "road blocks", made mountains, and even buried trucks.
This blog post is packed with transportation themed learning activities and ideas for early childhood learning!
You probably also have bikes for your children, another great big body play opportunity with a transportation theme.  I have the kids wear helmets, not only for safety, but also because our state has a helmet law, and I do believe in starting out as you intend to continue.  Why let a toddler ride without one, then suddenly try to make them wear it later?  Chances are, they'll resist.  My kiddos know that there is not only no riding without a helmet, but you can't even claim a bike until your helmet is on.  Wow, do they move fast to get their helmets!
This blog post is packed with transportation themed learning activities and ideas for early childhood learning!


Trains, trains, trains!  We love trains! Trains sets, block trains, train crafts, and of course, real trains!  I like to approach each theme with a variety of experiences, so there is something that's just right for each child. 
This blog post is packed with transportation themed learning activities and ideas for early childhood learning!

This blog post is packed with transportation themed learning activities and ideas for early childhood learning!

This blog post is packed with transportation themed learning activities and ideas for early childhood learning!

This blog post is packed with transportation themed learning activities and ideas for early childhood learning!

Here are a few more vehicle ideas.  I've created an "ambulance" from a children's wheeled cart and some posterboard.  When we learn about the letter A, they drive the ambulance and say "aa-aa  aa-aa" (an ambulance sound) as they drive it.  This idea came from a brilliant presenter and author many years ago.  I recently gave the book to another provider, and the name eludes me right now.  I will remember and post it here!
This blog post is packed with transportation themed learning activities and ideas for early childhood learning!
 I found the tractor at funhandprintartblog.com.  Don't you love having so many wonderful ideas at your fingertips?  I so love the internet!  (I'll age myself for a moment.  When I was a teen, the thing I desperately desired was an encyclopedia set, so that when I wanted to find something out, I could just do it, rather than waiting for the public library to open, and walking there to look it up in the encyclopedia!  Okay, dated myself, and revealed my nerdiness.)
This blog post is packed with transportation themed learning activities and ideas for early childhood learning!

Another vehicle the kiddos are all familiar with is the bus.  This is a great thing to talk about when we're reading the Pigeon books by Mo Willems.  I was lucky enough to find a fun Don't Let The Pigeon Drive the Bus board game last year, and the kids LOVED it.  Board games are a great way to practice taking turns, counting spaces to move, following directions, and cooperating with a group.
This blog post is packed with transportation themed learning activities and ideas for early childhood learning!
This blog post is packed with transportation themed learning activities and ideas for early childhood learning!
How have I not mentioned food yet?!  Food is another great way to get children's attention and interest.  Coupled with this obviously sweet bus treat picture, that sounds nutritionally and educationally dreadful.  I promise I don't mean bribing or rewarding children with calorie laden junk, (although we do occasionally enjoy a treat).  I'm thinking of food, and particularly food preparation, as another high interest, multisensory approach to learning.  When we made our bus treat (graham cracker, frosting, rollos for wheels, chocolate squares for windows, candy for stop sign) we talked about colors and shapes, and the children worked on fine motor skills and following directions to put their treat together.

Here's a bus themed activity that I created to work on subtraction skills...
Busy Buses
and for children who are beginning to read...
Transportation Sentence Picture Match

I haven't mentioned ships and boats and submarines yet.  Here's an adorable hand print that Ms. Julie came up with for the letter Y.  It's the only water-faring vehicle I can remember doing anything for! 
This blog post is packed with transportation themed learning activities and ideas for early childhood learning!
I haven't gathered any on my Pinterest Transportation Board either,


so I can see that I'm going to have to work on that.  Do you have any favorite transportation ideas you'd like to share?  Please leave it in the comments below.  Thank you for stopping by Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten!

2 comments:

  1. Hey dear, Thank you for sharing this informative blog! I have 4 years old son and I am looking best and reputed Phoenix preschool for him, where he can learn about creative art, music, physical education, technology to become more active. Keep posting!

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  2. Thank you for your kind comment. I hope you find just the right place for you son!

    ReplyDelete