Do your child’s ears perk up when they hear sirens? Do they ask to drive past fire stations just to see if the trucks are “at home” ? Have they ever dreamed about being a firefighter, doctor or police officer? If they have these books will be perfect for them.
Emergency! by Gail Gibbons is a great compilation of all the different kinds of emergency responders in our community from police, ambulance , firefighters and and even utility workers. My son loved the simple illustrations and the descriptive but to the point text about all the different vehicles and people inside them. We also both loved the look at the history of some of the different vehicles over time at the end of the book.
Policeman Small was first published in 1962 and is retro in all the awesome ways. Cute and cheery it’s like a little Rockwell painting in a book! Policeman Small is about a policeman in a simpler time, a time that is perfect for little readers not looking for the reality of what police work is, instead looking for something simple. A big hit with young toddlers, my son enjoyed this book well before he was 2 and still does years later.
Ambulances by Carol K. Lindeen is a simple non fiction book all about ambulances that uses simple questions and real photographs to inform and educate the reader. My son loved that the book uses real photographs , he studied each one asking questions about who each person , what happened to them etc… The text is very brief but it does it’s job explaining the basics so that like my inquisitive little guy , your child can use that base knowledge and ask more specific questions after reading each page and studying the photographs. Good non fiction choice.
Doctor Meow’s Big Emergency by Sam Lloyd was taken out of the library late last week and has been read at least twice a day since, we both know it off my heart. In the book readers meet Dr. Meow and her trusty ambulance driver Woof as they care for patience and rush to the aid of Tom Cat who has been injured falling out of a tree. Really it’s a story about being kind to others and forgiving, as Tom Cat learns not to pick on little Mr. Bird and in turn Mr. Bird forgives Tom Cat for his mistakes. Both my son and I loved the little cheeky details, humor and fun little world that the author illustrator created in this book.
Fire Engines by Anne Rockwell is the current favorite at our house. I found it at a thrift store for twenty five cents and I am definitely getting much more than my moneys worth! It’s a cute book with easy text and cute cartoon dalmatians as fire fighters. I particularly love that there is a fire boat in the book since we often see those around here. Cute book for fire engine lovers!
It is no secret my son loves fire trucks. We often have to drive by the local station on the way home to see if the trucks are in or busy rescuing people. This fire truck craft does take some prep work but is a great lesson in shapes and as your child gets older you can simply give them the pieces and let them put them together like a puzzle. I was very hands off today and glad I was, he needed very little help. All I did was ask him where he thought each piece should go and what shape each was.
- Gather your materials. You will need some red, yellow, orange, white and black paper, scissors , a black marker and glue.
- Start by pre cutting the shapes. I started with a building with rectangle windows – this is not necessary I did this per my son’s request for something on fire. The picture of this is lost – I made it by cutting a black rectangle then folding it and making rectangle window cut outs.
- Next I cut out a ladder, a main rectangle for the truck, a square for the ab, a tiny square for the siren, 3 circles for the wheels and yellow and orange triangles for the flames coming out of the burning building. If your child is able simply draw the shapes and have them cut them out!
- Time for your little learner to join you. Add glue for the shapes.
- Start piecing them together- we started with the main part of the truck then the ladder.
- The cab and wheels.
- Don’t forget to ask your child what all these shapes are! Next we added the small square for a siren.
- He added the building
- Next he channeled his toddler self and pretended to eat the glue ” No I am not eating it mama, I am playing with the air puffs.” That didn’t make me feel better !
- And the triangle flames.
- Let dry.
Flashing Fire Engines by Tony Mitton is a favorite at our house. Normally even after my son and I read the books we review I grab them to do the write up , this is on my son’s shelf where it always is I know the whole thing off by heart as does my son , so no need to grab it for reference. The book is a rhyming masterpiece, somehow keeping up the rhyming pace as it explains how firefighters fight fires and rescue people! Details like what gear they wear, and how hoses and hydrants work are included as well as ladders and sirens. My son loves this book and as an adult who has read it hundreds of times it’s fun to read, even over and over again.
All Aboard Fire Trucks by Teddy Slater is never where i expect it to be in my house, because my son carries it around to read all by himself. No at 3 he isn’t reading yet instead he’s memorized much of this text and likes to sit and go over the many types of fire vehicles that are discussed in this very detailed book. I have learned a lot from this book. It covers the basics but also goes into the more specialized fire vehicles like airport firetrucks, foam units for chemical fires and bulldozers used in forest fires. If your child gasps every time they see a firetruck, can tell a pumper from a ladder and dreams of fighting fires, they will love this informative book!
Tonka: Fire Trucks by Melissa A Torres is another favorite of my son. This is a Tonka book and has wheels that really roll which has served us well while traveling. It serves a double duty as a book and toy. The book itself isn’t bad either- which surprised me because usually novelty books like this usually underwhelm me. This book covers all the major types of vehicles used to fight fires, a pumper, an aerial ladder truck, fire chief’s truck, rescue truck and fire boat. Just the right amount of info is given for each and the illustrations support the text well. If your child isn’t into fire trucks I wouldn’t go searching out this book but if they are it’s a a worthy addition to your library of firetruck books.
Pack it !
I grew up in a family that not only loves to travel but made it their business, my son has been on many planes, and loves to play airport . This wasn’t a mama planned activity but I figured many of you will be packing suitcases over the holidays and this activity can help prepare for the trip ahead. Do not fret about having the exact items they will be packing, you aren’t training them, just getting them used to the idea of packing, choosing things to take and the idea of travel.
- Gather your materials. You will need a piece of construction paper, some plain labels, markers, a catalog or magazine, scissors and glue stick.
- Start by folding your paper in half and drawing a suitcase ( totally fine if yours is a little wonky- as long as your child can recognize it , you are fine! ).Cut out.
- Together with your child decide on the different places you should go, write the places on the labels with a dark color. I used large labels so I wrote multiple place names on each.
- Have your child color the labels with markers.
- Cut into smaller labels if needed.
- Add them to the outside of your suitcase.
- Rip out some ages with items your child would like to pack, have them cut out the items if they can. My son cut at one page while I cut out more items for him choose from. He is able to cut but not navigate around objects yet, so we shared the task.
- Decide which to pack. Of course my son needs lots of PJs .
- Add your glue
- Add your pictures into the inside of your suitcase.
- Let dry OPEN, if you close it it will glue together.
Rooster’s Off to See the World by Eric Carle was reviewed by my son tonight as ” That’s a really nice book mama.” When I asked him what he liked he said ” The rooster was lonley, I only like trips with you and daddy too.” See Rooster has a grand plan to see the world, only he didn’t really plan it at all. Along the way friends join him but when night falls and they are cold and have no place to stay they all head home, and so does Rooster. I love that my son explained why Rooster went home and that he felt the same way not wanting to venture out to see the world alone… yet. Great book for kids learning to add and subtrack as well, as each page adds animals, then after the night falls each subtracts.
Cars: Rushing! Honking! Zooming! by Patricia Hubbell has a fun retro look and is a whimsical look at all sorts of cars , places they go and who drives them. Like her book Trucks the drivers in this book aren’t always conventional, or human. My son thinks it’s hilarious that zebras, ducks and other animals are driving cars alongside humans. I love the rhyming text that never feels forced and zooms along with the illustrations.
I Love Planes!by Philemon Sturges ia all about things that fly. This is a great book for young toddlers , the text is limited but effective. The colors are bright and cheery and even though he usually reads longer more complex books my son still enjoyed this book, and learned about Blimps for the first time.
I was asked tonight where I find inspiration and I answered everywhere and that is the truth. My son is so into car models right now, it all started with him noticing the H on a friend’s Honda and slowly it’s developed into a chorus of ” Honda! Chevy ! Audi! BMW! Toy-woda!” every time we drive anywhere. I decided to harness that and work in some phonics. To say he had a blast is a massive understatement.This would make a great group project too!
- Gather your materials. You will need a car magazine , some craft paper( or any large piece), a marker, some crayons, scissors and a glue stick.
- Start by drawing a road on your paper.
- Add the alphabet with your child, have them tell you what’s next after you write each letter if they are able.
- Hand them the crayons and have them decorate the road- we kept it simple with grass, yellow markings and black for the road. There is no wrong way to do this.
- While my son did that I ripped some pages out of the magazine looking for different makes that start with different letters (Audi, BMW, Ford, Honda…) If your child is able to have them search . My son refused to let me do this alone, but he was searching only for Hondas.
- When I had enough I cut the cars out more carefully.
- While I did that I handed my son some of the discarded pages for him to practice cutting too, his cutting skills aren’t fine tuned enough yet and if I had given him a car to cut out, it would have been pure frustration , but he felt included by cutting the scraps.
- Time to glue them on.
- Choose a car, identify it and identify which letter it starts with. If your child needs some help here is what I did. My son had issues with was I for Infinity. When he did I repeated the sound and said ” like Igloo” by giving hints he was still able to figure it out himself which for most almost 3 year olds is key to their pride. With children who are not identifying sounds yet, tell them which letter it starts with and have them find it on the page.
- Find the letter on the page.
- Add glue
- Add the car.
- Repeat with all the cars.
- When all are glued on go through them again and label them with their names.
- After I taped it to the wall he picked out a car for me, a Mercedes! Good boy!
Little Red Car is one of my most viewed song videos click here to watch it !
“The Berenstain Bears and the Big Road Race” by Stan and Jan Berenstain shouldn’t be overlooked. Both my son and i really enjoy this book from the ever popular series. It’s a good story about being persistent and they sneak lots of learning into the rhyming text. Colors, opposites and more can be reinforced by this retelling of the classic tale of the tortoise and the hare.
“Everything I Know About Cars” by Tom Lichtenheld is hilarious! I grabbed it at the library today knowing I would need some car books to pair with this activity and didn’t preview it at all. All I knew is that it was a book about cars I had never read. At nap when I finally opened it with my son in his car Pjs- I realized it’s very long, and probably more approriate for 4+. I didn’t put it down though because after reading this on the first page I was hooked :
A collection of made-up facts, Educated Guesses and silly pictures about Cars, Trucks and other Zoomy things
The author had me at zoomy things. My son only made it through the first few pages, but I couldn’t wait to open it back up after he was asleep. The book takes the readers through the history of cars ( totally made up) , the basics of road trips, kid designed cars … and ends with a tutorial on how the reader can draw their own made up car. I really liked this book and plan to buy a copy for my 4and 7 year old nephews who will love the humor ( yes some of it is pottyish but still fun) and the illustrations.
Drinking Straw Truck
This was a collaborative effort, my son was watching a show about the Three Little Pigs and the one pig with a straw house sparked his interest in making something with drinking straws. So his first request was a train, but we didn’t have enough straws so we settled on a pick up truck. This does require some prep but I love how it turned out. The placing of the straws is tricky but it’s a great lesson in fine motor and patience!
- Gather your materials. You will need drinking straws, 2 pieces of construction paper, a marker, crayons, scissors, glue and 2 milk caps.
- Start by drawing a truck on a piece of paper, if your child is able to have them do this. Don’t worry if it’s not perfect, mine certainly isn’t, as long as your child knows it’s a truck you are set.
- Give your child the 2nd piece of paper and explain the truck needs a road. We used black paper and white and yellow crayons.
- While they are doing this ( or before you even invite them to the table) cut the straws to fit over the truck, I did the cutting them made three piles, the hood, the cab and the bed.
- Add glue, a lot of glue.
- Spread said glue around.
- Add the straws. We did them by group, and I showed him how to do it for the first , then he did the rest. This is tricky so I find if I prepare him for it to be delicate, and tricky he doesn’t get frustrated when it’s hard. I tell him over and over how tricky it is, but that I know he can do it, and it’s okay to ask for help, even mommy thinks it’s hard. It works for us ( most days).
- Keep adding them until the picture is covered.
- Add the milk lids for wheels and let dry. It takes ages to dry.
- Cut out and glue onto the road way they made.
“The Three Little Rigs” by David Gordon is a fresh twist on the classic Three Little Pigs with trucks instead of pigs. My son ate this book up, he loved it. The “wolf” in the story is a wrecking ball that smashes and crashes the Little Rigs garages , I thought he was a little scary but after reading the book I asked my son his favorite part and sure enough he said the wrecking ball. I loved the illustrations and was not surprised one bit to read that the author/illustrator has done work for Pixar.
“Trucks Whizz! Zoom! Rumble!” by Patricia Hubbell was another hit with my son. The book is about all the trucks that one can find on the road, from armoured trucks to diggers and of course garbage trucks! My son is a huge garbage truck fan and was elated when there wasn’t just one but two in this book! The text rhymes and chugs along well with the whimsical collaged illustrations by Megan Halsey. Many of the drivers in the book are animals and when I asked my osn if elephants really drive trucks he looked at me seriously and said ” Sometimes they do! ” , regardless of my son’s take on reality he really enjoyed this book and if your child is as into trucks as he is they will too.
“When Daddy’s Truck Picks Me Up” by Jana Novotany Hunter is not so much a book about trucks as it is about trust in your parents. A little boy is excited to see his dad who is a truck driver and away from home often, today is the day he comes to preschool to pick him up, or maybe not. What I like about this book is that your child gets to see that the dad is eager to get to the school to see his little guy as much as the littl eboy is eager to see his dad. Sadly sometimes even when arents try to get there on time they just aren’t, but that doesn’t mean they won’t get there as soon as they can and still love you . I can say that in all my years of teaching classes a late parent was almot a daily event, and while it was nothing to us teachers a young child is thrown for a loop! I think this book is a wonderful resource for parents to talk about the possibility of this happening.