Transportation Unit for Preschool
We have done a bit of traveling over the past few months so I knew it was a perfect time to do a transportation unit for our home preschool. My kids love all kinds of transportation especially trains and planes. I love that I can make a real world connection to our learning since we have been traveling by plane lately. We also live close to a train station so we get to see trains almost daily.
Here's a look at all of the fun we had.
Train Track Words: I added some letters to our wooden train tracks so Emerson could practice spelling her name and some simple words. It was pretty easy to do with paper and tape, but you could also use some stickers. Just make sure you place the letters on the tracks so they are all facing the same way. She was able make her name and Emmett's but needed a bit of help with some of the other words I chose.
Washing Cars: I added warm water to our sensory table in the larger area and cars covered in shaving cream in the smaller area. I gave each of the kids a sponge and let them wash the cars in the water. They discovered that if they placed the cars under our special water spinner and poured water in the top it would rinse the cars for them! If you don't have a sensory table or it's too cold to play outside you could also add some cars and shaving cream to your bathtub at bath time instead.
Red Light, Green Light: This one was a bit tricky to play inside, but the kids had fun anyway. I stood at one end of the carpet and they stood at the other. I would call out "red light" or "green light" and they would walk or stop as I called out. Emerson loves playing this game and Emmett just loved doing whatever his sister did. This is a great way to help kids learn to follow directions while also getting some physical activity in.
Road Shapes: I found this free printable from Mrs. Plemmon's Kindergarten and knew it would be perfect for working on shape recognition with Emmett and reviewing shapes with Emerson. They both enjoyed moving their vehicles around the shapes and Emerson had fun finding the shapes as I called them out.
Painting with Vehicles: This is a really easy activity to put together, but it can get a bit messy. I put down some large pieces of paper and gave each kid a paper plate with some paint on it. They picked a few vehicles from our toy bin and used them to paint with. They had fun rolling the vehicles through the paint and then making tracks on their paper.
Box Car: The kids had a blast making their own car out of a cardboard box. Luckily I had just placed an order from Walmart so we had a very large box available. I used a box cutter to cut off all of the flaps. I cut a curved shape from either side of the box to make it look more car shaped. Then I scored the front of the car a few inches down and folded it down to create the front "hood" of the car and taped it in place. The doors were created by through the box from top to bottom in a straight line towards the front end of the car on either side and then across the bottom. Where the bottom cut stopped I scored a line on the inside of the box from top to bottom so the doors would swing outward (see pictures below for more details). We added some thick popsicle sticks to the front and some yellow plastic cup bottoms as headlights as well as small paper plates on the sides for wheels. We used a cardboard circle from a frozen pizza for the steering wheel and I rigged it up to a plastic cup with a pipe cleaner so it would actually spin once attached to the car. I let the kids help me to construct the car as much as possible, but made sure I did all the cutting. They spent the rest of the week playing in the car everyday.
Picture Tutorial Below:
There are also a lot of really great ideas for making cars out of cardboard boxes on pinterest.
Train Names: This a great way to help children learn the letters in their name. I cut out squares and rectangles from various colors of paper as well as an engine shape and let Emerson write each letter of her name on a square. Then I had her glue them down in order and we added black circles for wheels. Emmett practiced gluing and following directions while I pointed and said each letter of his name.
Car Ramp Races: We used the left over pieces from our cardboard box car to make ramps for car races. We experimented with the angles of the ramps to see what angle made the cars roll the best. Then we had fun racing our cars to see how far they would go. We tried a variety of vehicles and cars to see which ones worked the best for our races. It was a great introduction to enigeering and problem solving.
Up in the Air Sensory Bin: Call me crazy but we did this sensory bin inside! I find it easier to clean up the rice from the carpet versus our patio. I saved the blue died rice from our weather unit and used it to create an up in the air sensory bin to go with our transportation unit. I added some cotton balls for clouds and some plastic airplanes. We also ended up making some paper airplanes to play with too. The rice did get all over the carpet, so we decided to use our construction vehicles to help clean it up.
I try to reuse a lot of our sensory bin materials which is great for home preschool. If you are working in a larger classroom setting I don't recommend reusing sensory bin materials due to the increase in germs.
To help connect our unit to our life we talked about the trips we have taken and the different types of transportation we use. We fly on planes, ride trains and drive in our car a lot. I would love to hear all about your transportation unit ideas and activities. Leave me a comment below with your favorites. Or if you try one of the ideas mentioned above use the #meghanmakesdo on social media so I can see what you did!