Vehicles-child led lessons in transport

It wasn’t until V was close to 18months that she started showing signs of interest towards vehicles. It was more an obsession to try out all the possible vehicles.

From the time she was a colicky baby, car rides have always calmed her. But her first fascination for a vehicle was that for aeroplanes. Her first question was “why do we need vehicles?” Well, one visit to the Vandalur zoo with over 2 hours of walking took care of that question!

Why are there so many different vehicles?

She figured this out herself when we did land, air and water units in geography. That some vehicles can work only in some places. And also that some have specific uses- like the water tankers, garbage collector trucks, public buses, etc. I’ve listed a few play ideas we did, on this topic.

Gross motor skills

This is a real fun activity one can start as soon as the child gains confidence in walking. We loved creating complicated patterns of roads on the floor using sellotape. V would either walk on them, or drive her vehicles over them.

Structured activities

Sometimes, we incorporate concept based structured activities into the theme. Seen here is a simple matching numbers activity. She would have to count and drop as many tiles into a dumper truck, as the flash card drawn. Using different tools like tongs, tweezers just up the fun element, apart from developing fine motor skills.

Stem activity- What helps a vehicle move?

Recently, she wanted to know how a vehicle moved forward. We raced a few magnet powered cars using a magnetic wand and chips. W also raced wind powered cars using our mouths (or huffing and puffing, as V says). At the end of these races, she realised some sort of force is needed to move a car forward. And when we drive in real life, the force comes from somewhere other than wind or magnets. I hope to talk about solar powered cars sometime.


She noticed a submarine for the first time in one of her books, and wanted to know how different it is from a boat. We are still researching that. It is a great time to read about Amelia Earhart, the invention of the wheel and 20000 leagues under the sea, which we are currently reading. I also recommend wooden free play orbit toys for little transport-lovers.

But mostly, because we stay close to a metro station, V loves to go on a train ride every weekend, just for the kicks. She has different questions about tickets, train times, tracks, automatic doors and stations every time. Stations, Bus stops, petrol bunks, boat rides, fire stations are packed with opportunities to observe, ask and learn.

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