Updated: Aug 15
A Companion Guide to Busy Toddler's Playing Preschool Curriculum
This post contains affiliate links for which I receive a small commission. Proceeds go to support this blog and my mission of inspiring moms of babies and toddlers to find quiet moments in the chaos to read with their children.
Let the Good Times Roll
Coming off the Community Helpers unit, I was glad that this was another high-interest subject so we could keep the momentum going. I also liked that there was plenty of opportunity for our learning to carry over into free play. This unit really embodied the concept of learning through play.
Building Background Knowledge
Most children can identify different types of transportation, but perhaps not the nuance between say, a sailboat and a rowboat. This unit gave us a chance to explore some of those differences. Also, my son was more familiar with trucks and trains than planes and boats. So before reading Airport by Byron Barton I thought it was important to start with Planes by the same author. Steve Light also has books on each type of transportation (see additional non-fiction book list).
*Books with an asterisk are my Top 5 Picks to Add to Your Home Library for this unit
Trucks - Crews, Donald
The Little Engine That Could* - Piper, Watty
Scuffy the Boat - Crampton, Gertrude
Little Blue Truck* - Schertle, Alice
Airport - Barton, Byron
The Little Red Caboose - Potter, Marian
Additional Book List
Books in bold are also suggested books in another unit.
National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of Things That Go - de Seve, Karen
Cars and Trucks
Time for Kids: Henry Ford Biography - Harper Collins
Cars Go - Light, Steve
Toot Toot Beep Beep - Garcia, Emma
Trucks Go - Light, Steve
What's in My Truck?* - Bleck, Linda
On The Go Lift-the-Flap Tab - Priddy, Roger
My Truck is Stuck - Lewis, Kevin
National Geographic Kids: Trains - Shield, Amy
Trains Go - Light, Steve
Trains Don't Sleep - Rosenbaum, Andria Warmflash
Locomotive - Floca, Brian ←Caldecott Medal Winner
Steam, Smoke, and Steel: Back in Time with Trains - O'Brein, Patrick
Name That Train - Lintvelt, Louise
On the Train (Shine-a-Light-Book) - Brown, Carron
National Geographic Kids: Planes - Shield, Amy
Flying - Crews, Donald
Planes Go - Light, Steve
Planes - Barton, Byron
School Bus - Crews, Donald
Goodnight Little Blue Truck* - Schertle, Alice
If I Built a Car - Van Dusen Chris
I Wish I Were a Pilot* - Blackstone, Stella ←A rhyming look at different types of transportation careers
The Airport Book - Brown, Lisa ←The illustrations in this book tell multiple story lines which makes it tons of fun. Would be great for front loading the experience of flying. (diverse characters)
Cars and Trucks and Things That Go - Scarry, Richard
A Day at the Airport - Scarry, Richard
Pete the Cat's Train Trip - Dean, James
Trucker and Train - Stark, Hannah
Little Toot - Gramataky, Hardie
The Little School Bus - Cuyler, Margery
Last Stop on Market Street - de la Pena, Matt (diverse characters)
Puzzles and Stickers
Melissa and Doug Reusable Stickers Vehicle Pad with Backgrounds - Super inexpensive and can be used with Community Helper and Construction units
Figures and Vehicles
If you don't have a train set of some sort, now is the time to get one! They can range from $15 to $100+ but the learning that is happening when connecting and pulling the train is priceless! We have these two: Melissa and Doug Take-Along Railroad (it comes with lots of pieces and its portable) and Fisher-Price Little People "Manners" Vehicle Train (comes with three riders and plays realistic sounds and messages about being courteous) but my mom has a train table and having it elevated is pretty magical, especially for multiple kids.
Melissa & Doug Magnetic Car Loader Magnetic Wooden Toy Set - 4 Cars and 1 Semi-Trailer Truck. Cars are numbered for counting, sorting, sequencing while magnetic loader helps with fine motor skill development and hand-eye coordination.
Melissa & Doug Wooden Ferryboat with 4 Wooden Vehicles - Double-deck ferryboat includes car, box truck, SUV, and camper that load onto ferryboat. Anchor slides to raise and lower ferryboat ramp, and life preserver moves the elevator between decks. Encourages fine motor skills problem-solving skills, imaginative play.
Melissa & Doug Wooden School Bus ← Includes 7 people and features a working door to pickup passengers and flip-open stop sign for safe crossings
Developing Life Skills: Have your child help you wash the car. Talk about the different parts of the car (tires, rims, headlights, windows) and talk about the function of each. It's sure to be a soapy good time!
Field Trip: If you don't usually ride public transit, take a train, ferry or bus. Talk to other (friendly) passengers about where they are going and talk to your child about how transportation is an important part of our daily lives because it helps people get where they need to go.
Imaginative Play: Drive around town on Busy Toddler's Box Road
Sensory Bin: Sticky, mess play with Busy Toddler's Sticky Boats
Craft idea: Make an airplane out of Popsicle sticks
Gross Motor Skill Activity: Make a train track obstacle course using masking tape
Name Recognition: Build a name train poster
Letter Tracing: Let your child drive toy card on Alphabet Road Letters
STEM Activity: Try Busy Toddler's Train Track Skee Ball
Outdoor Game: Teach your child about traffic lights by playing "red light, green light" and finish it off with a graham cracker traffic light snack.
With self-correcting puzzles, start with just a few and build from there.
To keep the fun going, check out the book Old Tracks, New Tricks by Jessica Petersen.
What was your favorite part of this unit? What other books did you read? What other activities did you do? Please share your photos and feedback in the Playing Preschool with Busy Toddler Curriculum Facebook Group in Photos/Albums/Year 1 Themes → Transportation.
Until next time, may your coffee be warm and your toddler be busy!
Up Next: Playing Preschool: Unit 11 - On the Farm
See Also: Introduction to Playing Preschool with Busy Toddler, A Companion Guide to Busy Toddler's Playing Preschool Curriculum, Unit 1: Apples, Unit 2: Colors, Unit 3: Nursery Rhymes, Unit 4: Clothing, Unit 5: Food, Unit 6: Five Senses, Unit 7: Teddy Bears, Unit 8: Things That Go Together, Unit 9: Community Helpers