Pre-K & Preschool theme ideas for learning about transportation
Click here for a complete list of Books about Transportation!
- Spitfire Prelude and Fugue, by William Walton: Pretend to fly around the room like airplanes during this song.
- Copenhagen Steam Railway Galop, by Hans Christian Lumbye: This song sounds just like a train; have children line up and move around the room like a train.
- Pacific 231: Movement No. 1, by Arthur Honegger: Another classical song representing a train.
On the Grid Games page, look for the Wheels Grid Game for math.
PowerPoint and printable song book for the Raffi song, Wheels on the Bus.
Look for the Truck Bingo printable on the Bingo games page.
Transportation Same & Different Game
Car Color Matching Game
Road Counting Activity
Look for the Transportation Cards on the Picture Cards for Themes page.
Children glue squares with the letters of their name onto a strip of construction paper to make a name “train”. We add a paper engine and draw on the wheels.
[Fine Motor Skills]
Children pretend the scissors are a train, cutting along the railroad tracks (straight, curved & jagged lines). They stop when they come to the animal sticker.
Children work in pairs, each choosing one color of the Unifix cubes to work with. The children make an AB pattern: one child adding one color and the other adding the next color, taking turns adding to the train.
Children fly around the room when their first initial is called.
Craft Stick Airplanes
Children use craft sticks and colored masking tape to create airplanes.
Each month, we kept track of how many airplanes flew over our playground while we were outside. Whenever the children saw airplanes outside, we would keep a count in our heads (usually no more than 3 flew over). Then when we went inside, we would add that many airplanes to our chart. The children were often spotted at the chart counting how many we had seen so far.
Make parachutes with a 14-inch (approx.) square from a plastic trash bag, tape a 16-inch (approx.) string to each corner with masking tape, and tie all four pieces of string to a 3/4-inch metal washer. This is not easy for children to do. You could make this with each child, or send home the materials and directions for a home activity. Either way children will need individual help. I also made a larger parachute using a whole trash bag tied on four sides to a stuffed animal. The kids had fun dropping this from the classroom loft. (Children are exploring properties of air.)
Car and Truck Activities
Red Light, Green Light
When green light is on, children roll a car around on the floor. When they see the red light, the cars should stop.
Children dip the tires of toy cars in paint and roll it across their paper to make tire tracks. Oriental Trading also has some car stamps that can be used for this activity. (Item number IN-56/2906)
Play Dough Tire Tracks
[Fine Motor Skills]
Children flatten out play dough and roll toy cars and trucks on it to make tire tracks.
We use large foam letters (ours came from Lakeshore). Children drive over the shapes of the letters with mini toy cars.
License Plate Game
Each child has a turn to be the “driver”. A piece of paper with a number written on it is clipped to the driver’s back. The child drives around the table (or circle area), and parks in his seat. The children find the numeral among their number card sets.
Ramps & Cars
The children bring a small car or truck to school for this experiment. We test the cars to see how well they roll on a ramp covered with various materials. We used aluminum foil, sandpaper, bubble wrap, and corrugated paper. Also, change the height of the ramp and test it again.
Traffic Light Cookies
Children mix red, green and yellow food coloring with white icing, and spread the icing onto the three vanilla wafers to make a traffic light.
Trucks & Blocks with Sand
Children can build a small village with the blocks and roll the trucks in the sand to make roads around their village.
Children drop a ball of clay into a small tub of water to see if it will float or sink. Next, they form a boat from the clay and try to make a boat that will float. They try putting animal counters in the boat to see how many the boat will hold without sinking. You can also try making boats with aluminum foil. (Children are exploring density.)
This is an activity that goes with any theme. Choose a book that goes with the theme, and have the children retell the story.
Read the blog post here for details: story retelling
I used the transportation clipart pictures (available in the Printables section) to place in the top of the pocket chart graph. Children choose their favorite mode of transportation and placed their name card under it on the graph.
Read the post at this link: Ramps in the Science Center.
Ramps with toy cars
Wood or foam airplane gliders
Travel Prop Box
Suitcase, Travel books, Tickets, Money, Maps, Clothes, Grooming items, Pajamas
- Wheels on the Bus @ The Virtual Vine
- Transportation Theme @ Pre-KPages.com
- Look for the Transportation Nomenclature Cards at Montessori for Everyone