Painting with Toy Trucks

truck tracks paintingIt’s been one of those weeks. My daughter had her first ear infection and no one got much sleep. And it rained, a lot. So I grabbed the construction toys we usually use outside, some paint and a big roll of paper and we painted on the porch. Even though it was rainy we managed to paint and mix some colors for a while until the wind picked up and the rain got us.  I wasn’t sure if my 6.5 year old would still be into it but painting with cars was one of his very favorite activities when he was little.  As you will see it’s still fun!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some fun cars, trucks or my daughter’s favorite… a bulldozer! You will also need some good washable paint
    , paper , paper plates and if you are doing this outside you might want some painters tape to hold the paper down.truck painting
  2. Start by arranging your paper. I wanted my kids to feel like they could really drive their vehicles so I used easel paper for long pieces.truck painting outside
  3. Have your kids choose a few fun color combos. This was not a strict color mixing lesson but you can use it as one if you want. I just let them choose whatever color combos they wanted.truck painting and color mixing
  4. Paint and explore the colors. truck painting and color mixing for kidsMy son immediately started making tracks fast and furious. My daughter was more into stamping.truck painting and stamping
  5. The tracks were super cool . truck painting is fun for all agesMy son drove his all over then joined his sister on hers.truck painting passing it back and forth
  6. This activity isn’t complicated but it is fun. It was just what we needed to get some fresh air after days cuddled up sick. truck painting for toddlers
  7. We hung them up to dry , not sure what the mail carrier thought of them but my kids were happy! truck tracks

Construction Books

dazzling diggers

Dazzling Diggers (Amazing Machines) by Tony Mitton is part of the Amazing Machines series of books that are favorites of both my kids. Now my son reads them to my daughter and yes my heart bursts when he reads to her and it makes me completely forget when he tackles her.  The book themselves are little gems. This one talks about diggers and bulldozers with absolutely fantastic rhymes. What amazes me about this book is that your child will actually come away having learned something substantial about the vehicles in it at the same time as loving the brilliant rhyming text. Must read for construction vehicle fans.

Goodnight-Goodnight-Construction-Site

Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker will have to be renewed from the library while I wait for my copy to come from Amazon. This book is starting to get pretty popular and rightfully so, it’s a lovely book. In it busy little construction vehicles wind down for the night and fall asleep. I never thought I would say an excavator was cute but the one in the book is. It’s a wonderful bedtime book and your child will enjoy winding down with the sleepy bulldozer and his friends. My daughter completely adores this book.

diggers

Diggers (Usborne Touchy Feely) by Fiona Watt was given to me before I even had kids and it’s been read countless times to both kids. It’s great for toddlers who need to keep their hands exploring while mom or dad reads. It’s a sturdy book with a simple text that matches the great active illustrations.

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13 Books About Construction Vehicles

books about diggers and bulldozersIf you are a regular reader you may have noticed that we have been doing more construction themed activities lately and you are only seeing a fraction of what we have been doing at home. My daughter has a serious fondness for bulldozers and just like when her brother fell in love with garbage trucks one of our first things to do is find books with bulldozers and read as much as we can! Below are our favorite books about construction vehicles . Many of these reviews are a few years old and many have been updated to include what my daughter thinks about them as well.

machines at work

Machines at Work by Byron Barton is a bold and bright book that is perfect for toddlers who are obsessed with construction vehicles. The text is brief but effective. My son loved this book as an infant and at 2 still enjoys reading it, aw well as counting the workers and trucks on each page.

My-Big-Book-of-Trucks-and-Diggers

My Big Book of Trucks and Diggers (My Big Book Of… (Chronicle Books) Have you ever walked by construction and seen your child’s face fill with awe? Bulldozers. Backhoes. Graders. Construction vehicles are memorizing to kids, boys and girls. My Big Book of Trucks and Diggers is a sturdy board book with full colour photos of some of those big Caterpillar vehicles. Each spread focuses on one vehicle, offer it’s name in big bold letters with a full image along with a page that focuses on key aspects of the vehicle. You’ll find a close-up of the wheel or the boom ripper. Kids will love testing their knowledge on the vehicle names and the different vehicle parts. I liked that some of the vehicles were ones that I had never heard of (though perhaps construction junkie kids might know them already). Review by Carrie Anne

tip tip dig dig

Tip Tip Dig Dig by Emma Garcia was an instant classic in our house. My son loves vehicles and this book was the perfect length with the right amount of text and awesome almost Eric Carle like illustrations. Usually books about vehicles just name the trucks and diggers but this book shows children not only what they do but how they can work together to make something. Great book for the digger and backhoe obsessed!

road-builders-b-g-hennessy-paperback-cover-art

Road Builders by B.G. Hennessy was a birthday gift for my son’s 4th birthday and he was not interested at first. Maybe because of the plethora of lego that was taking over our house… however it has since become such a favorite he recently “read” it to my sister’s dog. It’s a story all about how a road is built , explaining what the crew does, and how each type of construction vehicle has a different role in building a road.  I like that it explains the process from start to finish, in just the right level of detail for preschoolers.  I also like that there is a female crew member and her participation is seamless. Edited for 2013 – my daughter has become very attached to this book and always wants to know who each road worker is on each page. The fact that there is a female worker has not been lost on her at all.

digger

Barney Backhoe and the Big City Dig by Susan Knopf is a perfect book for your digger obsessed child, but even if your child can’t spot a backhoe from a mile away this book is a cute story about helping people , and the illustrations are filled with things that are found in the city and can spark great discussions with your child . Both of my kids have attached to this story and it spent about 6 months in the car as the favorite book for car rides.

dig-dig-digging

Dig Dig Digging by Margaret Mayo is one of the few books we have that we have bought twice. Our first copy was so well loved that we knew when it could not be read anymore that it would be immediately replaced. This book is imbedded in my brain ( and heart) because both my children have gone through a phase where it’s their absolute favorite. The book takes readers through different vehicles like firetrucks, rescue helicopters and of course bulldozers. The text is repetitive and will get stuck in your head for days but it’s OK because your kids will recite it along with you.

the truck book

The Truck Book by Harry McNaught is another favorite in our house, mostly because it has a forklift in it. There isn’t much of a story, instead it’s a collection of labeled illustrations. If your child is like mine and loves , no obsesses over things that move this is a fantastic book. I admit I get bored reading it even if my son doesn’t. To fight that boredom we play I spy and both of us are happy. Edited for 2013 – This review still stands just replace forklift with bulldozer and son to daughter.

dazzling diggers

Dazzling Diggers (Amazing Machines) by Tony Mitton is part of the Amazing Machines series of books that are favorites of both my kids. Now my son reads them to my daughter and yes my heart bursts when he reads to her and it makes me completely forget when he tackles her.  The book themselves are little gems. This one talks about diggers and bulldozers with absolutely fantastic rhymes. What amazes me about this book is that your child will actually come away having learned something substantial about the vehicles in it at the same time as loving the brilliant rhyming text. Must read for construction vehicle fans.

construction-countdown-k-c-olson-hardcover-cover-art

Construction Countdown by K.C Olson is a counting book that uses backhoes, dump trucks and cement mixers among other things to count. Before I even closed the book my son was signing for more. I read it 4 times since getting it out of the library today. A huge hit here!  <–  That was written in 2008 and now over 2 years later my son still likes this book and has grown with it, now doing the counting all by himself.

Goodnight-Goodnight-Construction-Site

Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker will have to be renewed from the library while I wait for my copy to come from Amazon. This book is starting to get pretty popular and rightfully so, it’s a lovely book. In it busy little construction vehicles wind down for the night and fall asleep. I never thought I would say an excavator was cute but the one in the book is. It’s a wonderful bedtime book and your child will enjoy winding down with the sleepy bulldozer and his friends. My daughter completely adores this book.

Good Morning, Digger

Good Morning, Digger  by Anne Rockwell is not going to be put onto my must buy list even though the vast majority of her books are. It just seemed flat and boring. The story follows a vacant lot and the digger that comes it to start construction on what will transform into a community center. There really weren’t any characters and the text seemed unenthusiastic, there was nothing to latch on to and make a real connection with. To make matters worse I think I have to pay a late fee at my library on this one.  Edited for 2010 - we recently read this book at the library and my son as I predicted loves it. I still stand by my review , and as much as I adore this author I am not a huge fan of this book. Edited for 2013 – My daughter loved it when we sat in the corner of the library and read it . Just goes to show that even at a young age it’s important to let kids have some autonomy when it comes to book choice.

I Love Trucks

I Love Trucks! by Philemon Sturges  is about all sorts of trucks from firetrucks, bulldozers, ice cream trucks and of course garbage trucks!  Each page has simple text that gives a brief description of the main action each truck does like roll, dump, dig etc… My son eats this book up even though he enjoys much longer book as well. The illustrations by Shari Halpern ( who also illustrated the previous books) are bright bold and have a cartoon like quality that grabs young children’s attention.

 diggers

Diggers (Usborne Touchy Feely) by Fiona Watt was given to me before I even had kids and it’s been read countless times to both kids. It’s great for toddlers who need to keep their hands exploring while mom or dad reads. It’s a sturdy book with a simple text that matches the great active illustrations.

Construction Site Sensory Play & Books

by Allison McDonald bulldozer partyMy daughter is crazy about bulldozers right now and we’ve been playing with toy bulldozers in our sensory table . This is such a simple construction site play idea. No need for anything really special other than your child’s favorite construction vehicle. You will see I had a variety of them but her little orange bulldozer was firmly in her hand the whole time.

  1. Gather your materials. We used dried beans, cinnamon sticks, popsicle sticks , corks , empty ribbon spools, and construction themed toys and tools.construction site sensory play
  2. Start by filling your tub or table with the fillings. She loved pouring the beans in .construction site sensory bin
  3. As soon as the cinnamon sticks made their way in she was busy building a new kindergarten.  construction site pretend playSensory play like this offers so many opportunities to learn but don’t push it. Their imaginations will lead them and if you are present you will be able to find little moments to jump in but don’t feel you need to by any means.construction site play
  4. The main thing she wanted to do was build with her dad ( we did this on a Saturday so he was home to play) construction site play with dadand bulldoze things off the cliff. constrution site play for toddlersShe did a lot of sorting and counting without prompting from me.construction site learning

Construction Books

 

dig-dig-digging

Dig Dig Digging by Margaret Mayo is one of the few books we have that we have bought twice. Our first copy was so well loved that we knew when it could not be read anymore that it would be immediately replaced. This book is imbedded in my brain ( and heart) because both my children have gone through a phase where it’s their absolute favorite. The book takes readers through different vehicles like firetrucks, rescue helicopters and of course bulldozers. The text is repetitive and will get stuck in your head for days but it’s ok because your kids will recite it along with you.

dazzling diggers

Dazzling Diggers (Amazing Machines) by Tony Mitton is part of the Amazing Machines series of books that are favorites of both my kids. Now my son reads them to my daughter and yes my heart bursts when he reads to her and it makes me completely forget when he tackles her.  The book themselves are little gems. This one talks about diggers and bulldozers with absolutely fantastic rhymes. What amazes me about this book is that your child will actually come away having learned something substantial about the vehicles in it at the same time as loving the brilliant rhyming text. Must read for construction vehicle fans.

Goodnight-Goodnight-Construction-Site

Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker will have to be renewed from the library while I wait for my copy to come from Amazon. This book is starting to get pretty popular and rightfully so, it’s a lovely book. In it busy little construction vehicles wind down for the night and fall asleep. I never thought I would say an excavator was cute but the one in the book is. It’s a wonderful bedtime book and your child will enjoy winding down with the sleepy bulldozer and his friends. My daughter completely adores this book.

The book links are affiliate links.

Shape Bulldozer Craft For Kids

Bulldozer craft for kids

I can’t take full credit for this craft, instead I must admit it’s inspired by an episode of Team Umizoomi ( a show I just love). I like crafts like this because it allows my son to manipulate the shapes , as you will see though his favorite part was the cutting step, it went on forever!  Even if your child isn’t into bulldozers find something they love and see if you can break it down into shapes.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some construction paper in 4 colors ( brown, black, yellow and green), some kid scissors, adult scissors, markers or crayons and glue.
  2. Start by drawing a square, rectangle, and crescent on the yellow paper.
  3. Draw circles on the black.
  4. Invite your child to draw a construction site. The older they are the more time they will likely take, don’t fret if they make a scribble or two and declare that they are finished.
  5. Hand them the brown paper and tell them that’s the dirt and they will be making piles so they need to cut it into small pieces. Mine cut. And cut. And cut.
  6. While they cut , cut out the shapes.
  7. Time to glue – woo hoo!
  8. Add your shapes.
  9. Add glue for the cut paper dirt.
  10. Add the dirt too and let dry.

Construction Books !

Machines at Work by Byron Barton is a bold and bright book that is perfect for toddlers who are obsessed with construction vehicles. The text is brief but effective. My son loved this book as an infant ,  at 2 he enjoyed reading it, as well as counting the workers and trucks on each page. Now at almost 4 he will still grab it and read it to his imaginary friend Sammy who ” can’t read yet”.  All in all it’s been well loved over the years !

Road Builders

Road Builders by B.G. Hennessy was a birthday gift for my son in November and he was not interested at first. Maybe because of the plethora of lego that was taking over our house… however it has since become such a favorite he recently “read” it to my sister’s dog. It’s a story all about how a road is built , explaining what the crew does, and how each type of construction vehicle has a different role in building a road.  I like that it explains the process from start to finish, in just the right level of detail for preschoolers.  I also like that there is a female crew member and her participation is seamless .

Construction Countdownby K.C Olson is a counting book that uses backhoes, dump trucks and cement mixers among other things to count. Before I even closed the book my son was signing for more. I read it 4 times since getting it out of the library today. A huge hit here!  <–  That was written in 2008 and now over 2 years later my son still likes this book and has grown with it, now doing the counting all by himself.

 

Be an Architect !

Blueprint Project

Blueprint craft 009I had the idea for this ages ago but knew that my son wasn’t ready for it. I am so glad I waited. We have been taking him to open houses lately, and talking about how houses are built , floor plans etc.. for a few weeks so this was the perfect time to become architects ourselves and make some blue prints! I helped a lot with this craft but older children ( 5 +) would have no problem doing it independently. Toddlers would likely get frustrated, so here is a great alternative for them Shape House.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a white wax crayon ( yellow will do in a pinch), some white paper, blue paint and some sponge brushes or rollers. The sponge brushes really ensure that there isn’t too much paint which makes all the difference!Blueprint craft
  2. Start by drawing your house with the white crayon, pressing hard. My son wanted me to draw the “real picture of the house” meaning the outside , I made him a deal that if I did the outside he’d have to do the inside.Blueprint craft
  3. For the inside if your child is like mine and still too young to make things exactly how they want them but old enough to get upset if they aren’t perfect help them make the floor plan. How we did it was I  put one finger at the starting pint of each wall, and one at the end point and he drew the lines. He eventually felt confident enough to do a few all by himself.Blueprint craft
  4. Next decide which rooms should be which- this was probably my son’s favorite part ( well until he started painting), he went on and on about if they needed a bedroom more than a garage. Bedroom won out, maybe our next house will have a garage !
  5. Label them.Blueprint craft
  6. Time to paint. I thinned the paint just a tiny bit with water.
  7. Roll it on!Blueprint craft
  8. Sometimes you need to blot with these types of paintings if the paint glops on too heavy, we didn’t this time but grab a paper towel if you do and gently wipe.
  9. Let dry. Grab some lego or other blocks and build the house :) Blueprint craft

Song

This is the way we pound our nails,
pound our nails, pound our nails,
This is the way we pound our nails, so early in the morning.
This is the way we turn the screw,
Turn the screw, turn the screw
This is the way we turn the screw, so early in the morning.
This is the way we saw the wood
saw the wood, saw the wood,
This is the way we saw the wood, so early in the morning!
This is the way we build a house,
build a house, build a house.
This is the way we build a house so early in the morning!

Books

Building A House

Building a House by Byron Barton is a no frills look at how homes are built. The bright colors and concise wording is perfect for toddlers and young  preschoolers. I love that there is writing on one page and illustrations on the other, makes it super easy to show children the pictures as well as for them to see you follow the text with your finger! My son started enjoying this book well before age 2 and still grabs it for me to read at three and a half although seems to yearn for more details than this simple book provides.
Building by Elisha Cooper

Building by Elisha Cooper is a really stunning book. The story itself is really detailed and although he sat for the whole thing my son’s attention was thinning out at parts, I edited the text a little but we got through it. There is nothing wrong with this book, its just too long and detailed for the average 3 year old. A keen 4 year old or 5 year old would totally dig it though.  The illustrations are watercolors and so beautiful, but are not detailed like the text. Visually they are beautiful, but my son wanted to know why no one had faces.  If you are learning about or interested in the process of construction from start to finish this is a wonderful book to read.
How a House Is Built
How a House Is Built by Gail Gibbons is the happy medium for my son of these two other books, while one was a little too simple, the other a little too detailed, this one was just right for his attention span and need for details. In this book  readers are taken from the architect’s desk to the day the family moves in with just the right amount of detail about all the intermediate steps. Each worker and what they contribute to building a house is explained briefly, from the laying of the foundation, the carpenters who frame the house and even the landscapers who lay the sod. If you have a little builder in your house they will love reading about the steps and many people who help build a house.