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18 Simple Transportation Activities for Preschoolers

Starting a fun transport theme with your kids, or are they just fascinated with the topic and want to learn more?

Here are 18 fun transportation activities for preschoolers.

How do you introduce transport to preschoolers? Let them talk about themselves!

Start the ball rolling by asking them how they travel to school or to the store. 

The transportation theme is a great way for motivating children to address the similarities and differences between themselves and others. 

By using these ideas, you can help them learn more about the world around them, exposing them to experiences they have not yet encountered. 

They can find out more about how things work and have their imaginations sparked for future learning. 

Check out the transportation theme preschool activities that follow to start your own minds spinning with possibilities.

Art 

Transportation art for preschool can easily be incorporated into any day. With common materials like paper plates, crayons, markers, construction paper, boards and glue, kids can “build” a variety of fun vehicles.

Painting and Molding with Toy Vehicles

Offer a variety of toy plastic vehicles that can easily be washed. Tell children to dip them into paints and then stamp, roll, or wheel them across large sheets of paper to make interesting tracks and designs. 

A similar process can be followed by flattening clay or playdough on the table and then running the wheels of toy vehicles over the expanse to make tyre tracks.

Designing Clouds in the Sky

Begin with a backdrop of blue construction paper and airplanes drawn or cut and then glued. 

Get the young artists to design clouds with cotton balls, stretching them and then gluing them to the paper in various formations.

Music and Movement

Songs, fingerplays, large motor games and other transportation movement activities for preschoolers are naturals to accompany this theme. 

Singing Old Favourites 

  • Row, Row, Row Your Boat
  • She’ll be Comin’ Round the Mountain
  • The Wheels on the Bus
  • Down by the Station
  • The Ants Go Marching
  • I’ve Been Working on the Railroad
  • Yankee Doodle

Playing Red Light, Green Light

Red Light, Green Light is best played outdoors or in a large indoor space.

Set up the start and finish lines. When you say, “green light,” the children move away from “start” in the method you have chosen (run, walk, crawl, etc.) toward the finish line. They must stop when you say, “red light.” 

Children playing red light, green light.

If you want, you can also incorporate the yellow light as a signal for them to move more slowly. The child who reaches the finish line first is the winner. 

For practice with colours and words, you can also use coloured and labelled “traffic lights” made from paper plates that you hold up alone or along with your verbal directions.

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Story/Discussion

Sharing Books and Videos

Check your own bookshelf, the local library and YouTube for a wealth of fiction and informational books and videos about all different kinds of transportation, from the most common to wildly unusual. 

Read, view, retell and discuss.

These titles are also available online:

Planes – Byron Barton

Sale
Planes Board Book
  • Barton, Byron (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Freight Train, School Bus and Sail Away – Donald Crews

Sale
School Bus Board Book
  • Crews, Donald (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
Sale
Sail Away (Rise and Shine)
  • Crews, Donald (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of Things that Go – Karen de Seve

Look Inside Things that Go – Rob Lloyd Jones

Sale
Look Inside Things That Go (International Edition)
  • Jones, Rob Lloyd (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Marvelous Motorcycles – Tony Mitton and Ant Parker

Marvelous Motorcycles (Amazing Machines)
  • Mitton, Tony (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

The Little Engine that Could – Watty Piper

Sale
The Little Engine That Could (Original Classic Edition)
  • The story of the blue locomotive who exemplifies the power of positive thinking
  • Author: Watty Piper

Wheels on the Bus: Raffi Songs to Read – Raffi

Sale
Wheels on the Bus (Raffi Songs to Read)
  • Raffi (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Cars – Anne Rockwell

Cars (Picture Puffin Books)
  • Rockwell, Anne (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Sheep in a Jeep and Sheep on a Ship – Nancy Shaw

Sale
Sheep in a Jeep (board book)
  • Recommended Age: 0-3 years
  • Recommended Grade: Grade VPK
Sheep on a Ship board book (Sheep in a Jeep)
  • Shaw, Nancy E. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
Mom reading a book to her child

Sequencing Practice

Offer practice with 1, 2, 3 order and transition words, like “first,” “next,” “then,” and “finally” through a retelling of a favourite story or book. 

This can be accomplished orally and/or with visuals, such as cut pictures or flannel board pieces.

Dramatic Play

The transport preschool theme is a great partner with “playing pretend.” Offer a wide variety of props, dolls, huge boxes, puppets, dress-up clothes and furniture to help imaginations soar.

Pretending to Travel in Various Vehicles

Read A Suitcase with a Surprise by Miss Frances (A Ding Dong School Book), which is a lovely vintage story about a little boy who pretends at home that he is going on a trip on a train. 

A Suitcase With a Surprise: a Ding Dong School Book
  • Vintage Rare Collectible Children's Book Golden Little
  • Hardcover Book

Encourage kids to set up the play area with various furniture and props to look like the inside of a plane, boat, bus or train. 

Child sitting in an airplane that looks like a box.

Masquerading as a Vehicle!

Combining dramatic play with movement, children choose and act out their favourite kinds of vehicles. 

Safety and avoidance of bumping into other “vehicles” (teaching position in space) is encouraged and could be accomplished through the use of play traffic signs and signals.

Maths

Transportation maths activities for preschoolers easily lend themselves to important skills, such as counting, operations, sorting, measurement, patterns, representation and geometry.

Sorting Vehicles

Challenge the kids to sort toy vehicles by various characteristics: colour, size, shape or mode of travel (air, land, water). 

Children playing with red cars

They can also cut pictures of vehicles from magazines, and sort and glue them onto a transportation collage.

Recognizing Patterns

Beep Beep, Vroom Vroom! a “Math Start Book” by Stuart J. Murphy, encourages kids to see and recognize the patterns of colours and noises through the story’s vehicles.

Beep Beep, Vroom Vroom! (MathStart 1)
  • Murphy, Stuart J. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Counting Vehicles

From a window, when outdoors, or even in a vehicle themselves, children can count how many they see of a particular vehicle: airplanes in the sky, skateboards on the sidewalk or trucks on the road.

Constructing a Graph

Graphing activities are a great way to introduce early maths concepts.

On poster board or large paper, draw a graph grid that is labelled with different colours. Children then add toy vehicles one at a time to discover which is the most common colour in the toy collection. 

Point out the numbers affixed to the graph, count aloud to prove those numbers, and also help the kids compare one to another.

Science

Kids enjoy preschool transportation science activities without even realizing that they are “doing science.” 

Investigating Ramps

Using boards, blocks and toy cars, children build ramps to discover what placements and conditions make them roll down the fastest. 

This can also be accomplished outdoors on a larger scale with trikes/bikes and plywood or old doors.

Building and Flying Toy Airplanes

Offer a variety of materials, such as different weights of paper, cardboard, balsa wood and light foam sheets, challenging children to make airplanes. 

Child making paper airplanes on the grass

Try flying them and then making small improvements. Discuss what helps the planes fly better and why they think that works.

Cooking

Here are some cooking ideas to bring more fun to this theme.

Baking Traffic Light Cookies

Read Go! Go! Go! Stop! by Charise Mericle Harper as a fun way to talk about vehicles and how they often need to stop. 

Go! Go! Go! Stop!
  • Harper, Charise Mericle (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Then have kids help bake your favourite sugar cookie recipe formed into rounds, colouring three containers of frosting to make red, yellow and green for traffic lights.

For a less sugary version, you can use crackers and cream cheese tinted in the three colours.

Cutting Fruits and Veggies into “Wheels”

With plastic knives, children cut bananas, oranges, kiwis, cucumbers, zucchini and cheese sticks into “wheels.” 

Full vehicles can be formed with the use of crackers, breads and other large veggie and fruit pieces.

Free Play 

Here are some final ways to incorporate this theme into children’s play.

Incorporating Vehicles

Make sure you have included a range of vehicles to be used in all areas of free play, indoors or outside. For example, add extra toy vehicles to the blocks and sand/mud areas, along with more kid-sized options of ride-on vehicles.

Adding Books to your Shelves

Many kids choose to “read” and look at books as a free play activity. Be certain that you have plenty of books handy, both fiction and non-fiction, that focus on a wide range of transportation topics.

Transport activities for early years expand children’s horizons and build their foundations of knowledge for future learning. 

There are no limits, and they can travel to space in a rocket ship or to the bottom of the sea in a submarine!

Here are lots more preschool themes your kids will love.

Young boys playing with toy cars. Text overlay reads "18 amazing transportation activities for preschoolers".

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Ntombie

Tuesday 7th of May 2024

Very helpful thank you, thank you 😊

Shelley Ghosh

Monday 19th of September 2022

It is helpful.

Tanja Mcilroy

Monday 19th of September 2022

Thanks for your comment, Shelley!

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