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.

25 Picture Books About Cars And Trucks

picture books about cars and trucks I was never a car person and construction vehicles were not at all interesting either , until I became a mom. My son’s first word after Mama was Bama which we soon discovered meant garbage truck, after that Didder which was digger and so on and so on. It didn’t take long before I could tell a grader from a front loader and could hear the garbage truck from 2 blocks away so we’d never miss it. In those years of his obsession we read a lot of books about cars and trucks here are our favorites.

picture books about cars and trucks

The Adventures of Taxi Dog by Debra and Sal Barraca is a about a stray dog in New York City who is rescued by a taxi driver and spend the rest of his days riding in the front seat soaking up the diversity of their fares. The rhyming text, and detailed illustrations by Marc Buehner work well together to make this a fun read .

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.

Sputter, Sputter, Sput! by Babs Bell is all about a little car that zooms… until it starts to sputter! What could be causing that? It’s out of gas! The story is simple but the illustrations take it from basic story to a quirky and fun book.  The concept of up and down is reinforced multiple times but with fresh and fun illustrations by Bob Staake each time. My son enjoyed this book but it was a quick read , I think it would have been a favorite a year ago though , it was a little simple for him now at 3 1/2.  It’s definitely worth a look to see the illustrations !

The Berenstain Bears and the Big Road Race by Stan and Jan Berenstain shouldn’t be overlooked. I really enjoy this book but not as much as my son who has begged for it every day before nap this week. 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.

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!

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.

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 .

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.

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 armored 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 son 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 little boy is eager to see his dad. Sadly sometimes even when parents 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 almost 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.

My Truck is Stuck! by Kevin Lewis is a fun book full of great rhymes and funny illustrations from Daniel Kirk. The story is simple a truck is stuck and even though other vehicles come to help, nothing budges until a tow truck arrives. The best part is the cargo of bones in the truck are slowly stolen by hungry gophers while the others work to free the truck. It’s got a great message about helping people and the illustrations make me giggle, especially the guy in the moving van who is blowing bubbles. I have never understood that but it makes me laugh.

Everything I Know About Cars: A Collection of Made-Up Facts, Educated Guesses, and Silly Pictures about Cars, Trucks, and Other Zoomy Things
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 appropriate for 4+.  I didn’t put it down though because after reading “A collection of made-up facts, Educated Guesses and silly pictures about Cars, Trucks and other Zoomy things” on the first page I was hooked. 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 potty humor) and the illustrations.

Trucks Go by Steve Light is a new find for us. I spotted this board book from across the library during preschool story time today. There were kids everywhere and I was not sure that I would get to it before someone else did. I kept my composure , didn’t have to elbow a single person and popped it in my bag. The minute of worry was worth it , what an awesome book! The illustrations are so beautiful that I would seriously consider framing every page. The book goes through different trucks ( garbage truck, cement mixer, fire engine etc..) and the sounds they make. My son was laughing and repeating the sounds while we read this at bedtime and enjoyed the water color illustrations almost as much as I did. Grab this one like I did.

Trucks Roll! by George Ella Lyon got a huge compliment from my son today when we read it. When he really really wants more of something not only does he ask for it with words but the sign language he learned so long ago comes out. This book got the “More Trucks!” out loud and the frantic more signs! The book is the perfect length for 2-4 year olds who like my son love anything you can drive. It also explains well what trucks drivers do and how so many things make it from one place to the next. Cute book, worth a read for sure!

I Stink! by Kate and Jim McMullen was the bain of my existence in my Pre-K class, the kids loved this book and I really liked most of it, but there are some gross things in it like puppy poo, dirty diapers and kitty litter but we put all those things in the garbage so they are totally appropriate. Just know that they will also get a group of 4 and 5 year olds giggling and repeating the words for days on end. Overall though the book is effective and I own a well read copy. The garbage truck is sarcastic and rough, and the alphabet of garbage is creative.

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.

Cool Cars by Tony Mitton and Ant Parker is a bright little book that talks about all different types of cars and even a little bit about the rules of the road in a zippy rhyming text! This author and illustrator pair have made a number of wonderful books that both my kids have enjoyed from early toddlerhood on. Completely worth checking out anything they do!

The Mighty Street Sweeper by Patrick Moore is a rare book, it’s rare because it is a story about self esteem clothed in a truck book. The street sweeper isn’t the biggest, the fastest or the most powerful truck but it’s still mighty and proud. I really like this book, we read it before nap and again before bed and I liked it even more the second time. The message about being happy with who you are is really touching . I liked that the book says that you don’t have to be the best at everything to still be proud of your hard work. My son really enjoyed this book as well and it was excited to read it again at bedtime.

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.

Alphabeep!: A Zipping, Zooming ABC by Debora Pearson is a great book for older toddlers and preschoolers. The transportation themed book uses rhymes and colorful illustrations to go from A to Z. The text was a bit long for my young toddler but I shortened it and he was able to enjoy the book , children 2 and up will love it just the way it is! This is on my must buy list.

I’m a Truck by Dennis Shealy is about Big Blue Bill a big rig on his way from the Big Tuna to the Big Apple! As he travels along the highway, stops at trucks stops and runs into road construction he visits with his truck friends. Most every type of truck is covered in this book and the illustrations by Bob Staake are so detailed that you can spend extra time just finding things on each page. All the trucks are anthropomorphized and some hilariously so. I am quite fond of a logging truck named Leif who had a beard and toque ( winter cap for non Canadians ) , he makes me giggle. My son loves the part where Big Blue Bill is stuck in city traffic behind a garbage truck who is stinky!  The text is a good length and I have a feeling this will be a favorite for a while at our house.

I Love Trucks! by Philoemen 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 many others of this author’s ) are bright bold and have a cartoon like quality that grabs young children’s attention.

Truck Driver Tom by Monica Wellington  is one of my son’s picks. The story is simple, Tom and his puppy drive produce from the farm to the market and see the country side and much more along the way. The best part of this book are the fun bright and detailed illustrations, there is a wide variety of trucks, cars , emergency and construction vehicles! Also it’s a great lesson about how our food gets from the farm to us.

Truck Stuck by Sallie Wolf was an awesome find. It immediately reminded me of ” One Duck Stuck ” by Phyllis Root and that is not a bad thing at all! The rhyming text is fun and the illustrations made me giggle, especially the Elvis impersonator in a pink Cadillac! My son was so impressed with this book, I was able to negotiate my reluctant eater to finish his lunch if I read it one more time . That speaks volumes!

Trashy Town by Andrea Zimmerman and David Clemesha is my favorite garbage truck book , and yes I have read a lot. Mr. Gilly is a hard working garbage man with one task, to clean up Trashy town. The text is so melodic I find myself singing while reading ” Dump it in, Smash it down, drive around the trashy town” . It’s not all trashy time for Mr. Gilly though, after a hard days work cleaning up Trashy town he gets into his bubble bath ! My son loves that this big garbage collector has a bath just like him. Super sweet and colorful book that explains garbage collection is a nice way.

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19 Car & Truck Crafts For Kids

kids crafts Cars and trucks have always been favorite themes for books and crafts at our house so we rounded up our best educational kids crafts about cars and trucks into one place for you.

Car Alphabet
Window Roadway
Shape School Bus
Road Signs
Tire Track Painting
Cut and Paste Garbage Truck
Letter r road
Race Car Crafting with Dad
Diaper Box Firetruck
Shape Bulldozer
Traffic Light
Upcycled Mat Roadway
School Bus Photo Craft
Cereal Box Gas Pump
Milk Carton Fire Station
Recycled Vehicle Crayons
Drinking Straw Truck
Shape Firetruck
Valentine’s Day Dump Truck

We can’t leave you out without some books too .

Lots of great car and truck book suggestions here.

Window Roadway

This activity is only for the brave or desperate… we have been home bound with an ear infection and we were all getting squirrely. I have been trying to motivate my son to write and draw more and doing it upright on an easel, wall or window is a great way to naturally use the muscles needed for writing.  These window crayons are great but I have a few must follow tips that will make your adventure with this activity much easier to clean than ours. Do not miss them. Seriously.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some window crayons, a window, a old dish towel wet on one side and dry on the other and some removable stickers if you want. Notice I have match box trucks in the picture. DO NOT use them… you’ll see why a little later on.
  2. Draw out some streets.
  3. Fill them in. Here is my 2nd ” Do as I say not as I do tip” Filling the roads in looked cool, but big flakes of black window marker fell onto my floor. They cleaned up easily but the one that I stepped on was troublesome. I left a little trail all over my kitchen that was reminiscent of those old Family Circle funnies. I am just thankful I didn’t go into my family room where there is carpet.  Simply drawing on the window didn’t create these flakes, but the large amount needed to fill the road in did. Look for the flakes and clean them up quickly before they spread.
  4. Add lane markers.
  5. Add traffic signs.
  6. Add your kid to draw the buildings, parks and in my case police stations and fire houses .  He loved it and although they may not look exactly like the fire house on your block, the fact that my son was drawing something made me so happy. At preschool he refuses to make any representational pictures saying ” I just like abstract.” so I feel great knowing we may be turning the corner without us pushing him.
  7. Listen carefully – learn from my oops.  Do not add match box cars. He loved running them all over town , but of course their tires picked up the crayons and ….
  8. Did this. My window sill is normally all white. I blame my 6 month old’s lack of sleep last night for my inability to foresee this obvious result but decided to share my oops.
  9. Instead grab re usable stickers if you have them and pop them on.Remember peeling stickers are a good workout for fine motor skills too!
  10. When you are done , wash off. We only left it up for as long as he played with it. I have left the window crayons on for a long time ( think months)  and it always comes off, it’s just a matter of how much elbow grease you feel like using. This came off easy peasy because it was only on for an afternoon.

Books About Trucks

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.

My Truck is Stuck! by Kevin Lewis is a fun book full of great rhymes and funny illustrations from Daniel Kirk. The story is simple a truck is stuck and even though other vehicles come to help, nothing budges until a tow truck arrives. The best part is the cargo of bones in the truck are slowly stolen by hungry gophers while the others work to free the truck. It’s got a great message about helping people and the illustrations make me giggle, especially the guy in the moving van who is blowing bubbles. I have never understood that but it makes me laugh.

The Mighty Street Sweeper by Patrick Moore is a rare book, it’s rare because it is a story about self esteem clothed in a truck book. The street sweeper isn’t the biggest, the fastest or the most powerful truck but it’s still mighty and proud. I really like this book, we read it before nap and again before bed and I liked it even more the second time. The message about being happy with who you are is really touching . I liked that the book says that you don’t have to be the best at everything to still be proud of your hard work. My son really enjoyed this book as well and it was excited to read it again at bedtime.