transportation activities

#23: Transportation Toys Letter Fun and Learning

Today’s play-of-the-day is some transportation toys letter fun and learning. Giving kids hands-on time with letters builds their familiarity and experience. Or maybe that should be wheel time?

transportation toys letter fun

Children’s favorite way to learn is through PLAY. Come to think of it, that’s true for anybody. Rather than drills and flashcards, we can use children’s interests and toys. Kids love cars, trucks, trains, boats, and other toys. There are lots of great alphabet books and stories using transportation. For over two decades, Huckle Cat and Lowly Worm have been sharing a silly variety of vehicles in Richard Scarry’s Cars and Trucks from A to Z. Debra Pearson and Edward Miller take kids for a ride through the alphabet from Ambulance to Zamboni in Alpabeep, A Zipping, Zooming ABC. These are only two books, there are dozens more.

 transportation toys letter fun

Little Sister played with some foam letters and lined them up to be a road. These letters are not in alphabetical order but as she played, her hands and eyes were busy making the brain pathways to later recognize them.

alphabet letter fun for kids

Adults can draw big letters on the sidewalk with chalk to be roadways. Kids can drive their cars and trucks along the letters. Feet can be used instead of wheels to walk the letters. That’s sort of transportation toys letter fun and learning, just without the toys . Cars and trucks might like to roll out some letters in the sand pile.


Shaunna Evans at Fantastic Fun and Learning set up a simple race track abc game that rolled out an afternoon of play. With sticky notes and a felt marker, she printed out the letters of the alphabet. She made a road or racetrack along the floor with the letters. Her daughter chose a vehicle and drove it down the track, saying the letters as she went. Different cars and trucks needed their turn too.


Parents and caregivers may worry kids need to know the alphabet before going to school. What kids need is to have lots of encounters of the fun kind with letters. Remembering all those squiggles and lines, names and sounds is an enormous challenge. It takes many opportunities of seeing, touching, hearing, and playing with them. That way, brains can build their own roadways. Wheels make it wheally fun, don’t they?

#22 Math Fun with Transportation Toys

Math fun with transportation toys is easy and makes math relevant. Kids develop familiarity and confidence when they experience math as part of play.

math fun with transportation toys

Children often play with cars and trucks by zooming them. This can be math. Cars go fast, but one will go faster. This is a comparison. Young toddlers may not use the words fast, faster, and fastest, but they know the idea. Instead, they might say one car is fast, fast.


Comparing is part of math. Putting tractors in order of size is math play.  When kids are playing with cars, trucks, and other toys we can occasionally add comments, such as, “This car is small. This car is big.” Kids may find a different big one to show us.

math fun with transportation toys

A pile of cars is fun to count. Start with just a few. When counting cars with your child, place either your finger or your child’s on each toy  as you count.  Number sense is more than saying the words in an accurate order, it’s also experiencing each number.  In order to understand what ‘three’ means, kids need to have a sense of ‘threeness.” When does 3 cars look like? How about 3 trucks?  Ask your child to make a group of a certain number of toys. If there’s a shoebox available, it can be turned into a garage. Will that number of cars fit in the garage?

toys for math fun

Another critical aspect of counting is that one number goes with one item. Each time we say a number that means one more. One way to develop this concept is by matching. One car goes on one race track. This is called one-to-one correspondence or one-to-one matching.

math fun with transportation toys

Parking lots are real world examples of one-to-one correspondence. Only one car fits in each parking space. You can make a parking lot with a shoe box lid and dividing it into spaces. A parking garage can be made out of blocks or Lego for more one-to-one math fun with transportation toys.

math fun with transportation toys

Everyday as kids play there will be opportunities to experience math hands-on. This is what develops a positive, easy familiarity so kids feel confident when it comes to learning about math. As many as 1 in 4 kids are burdened with math anxiety. We can change this easily by finding ways to include math in children’s play. Can you add any other ways to play with transportation toys?

#21: Construction and Transportation Imaginative Play

Construction and transportation imaginative play appeals to kids of various ages, stages, and interests.  Pretending is a vital part of development.

transportation imaginative playKids will play with only cars, trucks, and other transportation toys without anything else. Well, without other kinds of toys that is, but with their own actions and  imagination. Although it sounds like a contradiction, pretend play is both vast and tiny at the same time, both unlimited and yet highly structured and controlled.

transportation imaginative playA child can place cars and trucks anywhere in time and space, but the play might be limited to how two trucks interact with each other. Nevertheless, this boy’s dad says his son will play with these for long stretches of time. Sometimes, the trucks talk in words and other times, their conversation is truck noises like revving engines and changing gears.

transportation imaginative playOr, play could be about going off to work in a truck. This child is pretending he is a worker and has loaded his lawnmowers in the back. At this moment in time, his world is limited to how he imagines it feels to have a job, to explore the world of work. Figuring out the world is an enormous challenge and imaginative and pretend play is a way to explore one small bit at a time.

playing with blocksKids will also play with only construction toys, stacking them up to make a tower, bridge, robot, spaceship, castle, or something else they imagine. These toys might be wooden blocks, plastic bricks, or some other material.

construction transportation imaginative playCombining transportation and construction toys expands play. Suddenly, children can create towns and cities. They are feeling confident about creating and exploring a bigger chunk of the world through their imagination. It might be the size of a small square on the rug.

transportation imaginative playThe construction and transportation imaginative play may take up the entire living room. In either case, and for play in between, there is a great deal more happening than we see on the outside. Wouldn’t it be fascinating if we could see inside a child’s mind too?

Transportation Activities #20: Playing Trains

For decades and generations, kids have enjoyed playing trains. What’s not to love about a toy based on action and mystery? Many adults love trains too. The world is round. Trains go ‘round too. With a train, kids create their own small world. They can control where the train goes, the order of the cars, … Continue reading Transportation Activities #20: Playing Trains

Transportation Activities #19: Empty Box Transportation Play

When is a box not a box? When it’s a car, bus, ship, train, rocket or other form of transportation. Empty box transportation play has no limits. Boxes come in a variety of sizes and are either square or rectangular, to start that is. With imagination they can become anything. This rocket ship is blasting … Continue reading Transportation Activities #19: Empty Box Transportation Play

Transportation Activities#18: Traffic Light Smoothie

Sensory play is very important for kids including taste and smell as well as seeing, hearing, and touching which they can do with a Traffic Light Smoothie. Safety is important too, so parents and caregivers tell kids about red lights and stop signs. They are pretty familiar with traffic lights. Traffic lights are red, yellow, … Continue reading Transportation Activities#18: Traffic Light Smoothie

Transportation Activities #17: Transportation Yoga

Yesterday was International Yoga Day  which inspired a transportation yoga play-of-the-day for kids. Even if neither of you have done yoga before. These are some simple yoga poses suggested by a yoga teacher and preschool educator.: Car: Kids sit on the floor with their legs straight out in front of them. Before driving, they buckle … Continue reading Transportation Activities #17: Transportation Yoga

Transportation Activities #16: Simple Ramp Science

Cars, trucks, train cars, and other toys get to be part of some science fun and learning with this play-of-the-day. All aboard for some simple ramp science. While grownup engineers want to know how to construct the safest, most efficient roads, kid engineers only want to know how to make toy cars go faster. The … Continue reading Transportation Activities #16: Simple Ramp Science

Transportation Activities #15: Touch A Truck Fun

On the weekend, our community had a Touch A Truck event. This was for both Father’s Day and a local fundraiser. What fun for both kids and adults! A dream come true for kids, there were all kinds of trucks: a firetruck, ambulance, garbage truck, big transport truck with eighteen wheels, excavator, two different dump … Continue reading Transportation Activities #15: Touch A Truck Fun

Transportation Activities #14: Father’s Day Paper Airplane

Kids love to make something for their dads. This Father’s Day paper airplane combines a simple gift with an invitation to spend time together and play. (The following instructions are from an earlier blog post.) 1. Fold an ordinary piece of printer paper in half, the long way or hotdog fold. Open it back up. … Continue reading Transportation Activities #14: Father’s Day Paper Airplane