Cars, trucks, planes, trains, and more – many preschoolers love the topic of transportation! Something about the way we get around is genuinely fascinating to little ones.
Every student has at least some knowledge of transportation, even if they don’t know the word itself! Begin by asking students how they arrived at school – did they walk? Ride in a car? Take a subway train? This opens up a dialogue to build on their existing knowledge before diving into the details. Singing some fun transportation-themed songs also helps introduce the topic.
Transportation Themed Song Ideas
- The Wheels on the Bus
- The Ants go Marching
- Bicycle Built for Two
- Drive My Car by Laurie Berkner (she has a whole CD of transportation songs here!)
- Row, Row, Row Your Boat
- Transportation by Nancy Kopman
- Traffic Lights by Nancy Kopman
- Bicycle by Nancy Kopman
Keeping it Real – Using Photos
Every child comes to the circle time rug with a different set of experiences. Some children may have never seen a real boat, train, or airplane. Using real-life photos helps give students context to build on. Reading simple sentences with students adds a literacy component as well.
Transportation Carpet Games
Carpet games are a fantastic way to reinforce preschool concepts while fitting a lesson plan theme. In the example pictured, students take turns guessing which cloud shape hides a sneaky little airplane. Carpet games are incredibly adaptable for any theme or skill the class is working on!
Transportation Chip Clip Poem
Counting rhymes and fingerplays get an upgrade with simple “chip clips.” While it is rare to find hot air balloon chip clips, it is super simple to create custom ones with a bit of hot glue, clothespins, and ingenuity! This sweet poem practices counting down from five to one.
Transportation Unit Activities and Centers
Ways to Move Kinetic Sand Activity
Set up a sensory center using kinetic sand, cookie cutters, and picture cards. Students match the cookie cutter to the picture and practice stamping it into the sand. Need individual sensory activities? A sturdy tray with high sides makes a perfect separate sensory bin!
This center is a winner in many ways! The muscles in the hands get strengthened from the digging and stamping. Cognitive skills get a workout looking for similar but not quite identical items to match the cards. Finally, literacy skills sneak in with the printed names right there, practically begging students to write the words in the sand with their fingers.
Transportation Search and Solve Puzzles
Are you looking to make simple puzzles more interesting? Get more senses involved! For this activity, hide the puzzle pieces in some heavy sensory material, like dried beans. Students have to sift through the beans to find the two pieces and match the transportation mode with the operator. Puzzles have never “bean” more fun!
Want to really add some pizazz to the transportation unit? Time to break out the road tape! This fun activity has students guiding cars along the road tape to form letter shapes. Read more about the activity here!
Airport Dramatic Play Center
Dramatic play is always a fantastic way for students to experience the topic immersively. This center will have the whole class playing and learning about airports together!
Painting with Cars
Painting with cars is a great way to integrate process art into the classroom and engage even the most reluctant students into enjoying a creative experience. It’s a breeze to set up, fun for the students, and clean-up can be rolled into a bonus activity. Read more about it here!
By Air, Land, and Sea, These Books are for Preschoolers “On the Go!”
No unit is complete without a hearty pile of books to explore! Here are some fantastic library center additions for a transportation theme! Have a favorite that isn’t on the list? Leave it in the comments!
Lesson Plans for Teachers On the Move
- Ten days of lesson plans
- Unique poems and rhymes
- Carpet Games
- Real photos
- Literacy, math, and fine motor centers
- Visual Discrimination (Which one is different?)
- Beginning Sound Sort (Folder game)
- Patterning Cards
- Cutting Practice
- Pre-Writing Paths (Tracing)
- Word Wall
- Matching Puzzles
- Initial Sound Writing
- Number Order (Folder game)
- Count and Clip Cards
- Drive and count mats
This unit also pairs very nicely with one on community helpers. Fire trucks, police cars, and construction vehicles all help the two topics blend together seamlessly!
Have fun playing and learning – about transportation – with your students today!
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