Transportation is a fun theme to explore with your child. Because young children learn best through direct hands-on experience, take your child for a ride on different forms of transportation when you can. Perhaps your city still has a street car or trolley system. If you live in a rural area, can you go for a hayride on a local farm?


Many forms of transportation move on wheels. Consider taking your child somewhere he can see the tracks that wheels leave in the mud or snow.

  • Show your child how to gently dip the wheels of the vehicles into the paint.

  • Let him create interesting patterns and designs by rolling the vehicles back and forth across the paper.

  • Be sure to wash the toys off when you are done.

Activity for an individual child

Age group: 18–40 months

Duration of activity: 15 minutes

Small toy cars and trucks

Dark-colored tempera paint

Shallow pie tin

Light-colored construction paper

My Car

Engage your child's imagination with the project. Remember your child can also build a boat, train, airplane, or whatever his imagination and creativity dictates.

  • Let your child decide where he would like you to cut windows or doors in the box.

  • Let your child decorate his vehicle however he wishes.

  • If you wish, you can staple on the pie tins for wheels.

Activity for an individual child or a group

Age group: 18–40 months

Duration of activity: 30 minutes

Large box (an appliance box works well)


Markers or tempera paint

Disposable pie tins (optional)

Staple gun (optional)

Toy Airplane

Much simpler than a model, you and your toddler can construct this airplane. Be aware that the plane will be too heavy and fragile to fly.

  • Cut a 1-inch slit through both sides of the paper towel roll.

  • From the poster board, cut two wings. Make each the size and shape of an adult's index finger. Make sure that the wings will fit into the slots.

  • Cut tiny slits up from the rim of the paper cup. This is to slightly widen the top of the cup, which will become the cockpit.

  • Help your child slide the wings in the slits and place the cup over one opening of the tube. You may need to secure the cup with some glue.

  • Provide your child with tissue paper scraps to glue on for decoration.

Activity for an individual child

Age group: 18–40 months

Duration of activity: 20 minutes

Toilet paper tube


Poster board

Paper cup

Tissue paper scraps

The Wheels on the Bus

Do not be afraid to adapt this song to sing about other forms of transportation. You can easily sing about the sails on the boat or the propeller on the plane.

  • Sing or chant the following with your child. Encourage him to use appropriate motions:

The wheels on the bus go round and round,

Round and round, round and round.

The wheels on the bus go round and round,

All through the town.

(roll hands)

Other verses:

The wipers on the bus go swish swish swish.

The door on the bus goes open and shut.

The seats on the bus go bump bump bump.

Activity for an individual child

Age group: 18–40 months

Duration of activity: 10 minutes

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