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Literacy Activities for Preschoolers Using a Transportation Theme

by Melissa Gagnon

Your preschooler knows the name of every construction vehicle, jet plane and car on the road. He can spot an airplane before you can hear it but shows no interest in writing his name or identifying letters. Turn his fascination with transportation into fun literacy activities that will "drive" him to learn his letters and sounds.

Navigate the Alphabet

Create roads for your preschooler using letters of the alphabet. Tape large letters onto your floor with colored painters' tape. If you prefer, you could tape the letters onto a mat or blanket so you can reuse this activity. Large foam letter cut-outs also work well. Have your child gather some of his favorite cars and trucks and start driving. Your child will learn letter names and practice the motions needed to form each letter as he drives his cars along their "routes." Just watch out for traffic jams!

Choo-Choo Trains

Your preschooler can be the conductor of his own train during this activity. Cut out squares in different colored construction paper and have your child write his name, placing one letter in each square. Add some extra choo-choo to his train by having him do his first and last name. Help your preschooler arrange the squares and glue them down, spelling out his name lengthwise on a large piece of paper. He can draw in an engine, wheels and some train tracks.

Diggers and Dump Trucks

If your preschooler can't bear to be taken away from playing with his digger and dump truck in the sandbox, bury some plastic letters that he can discover while he digs. When it's time to come inside, have him bring his letters in and use them to match with sight words printed onto laminated shapes of trucks. You can simplify this activity by having him match his letters to the lowercase partner if your child isn't ready for sight words.

Truck Sounds

Glue pictures on all six sides to make a transportation die, using a small square box. Use different transportation themed items such as a car, truck, plane, train, jet and digger. Roll the die and give a rhyming word for each picture that comes up. Vary the game up and have your preschooler identify the first letter of the word and how that letter sounds. For example, if it lands on truck, say "T" and make the sound. If you're feeling silly (and brave) you can also make the sound the vehicle makes.

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