24 Months Old
Our latest theme was technically ‘trains’ with a focus on the letter T, but it really encompassed all manners of transportation. As you’d expect of any 2 year old boy surrounded by trains, cars, planes, and boats, he had a jolly good time!
I decided to take a break from printables this time, so our theme was mostly tied together by going on field trips- to the train depot, to the airport, to the lake with our toy boats, to the toy store’s train table, and to the Kentucky Science Center. On these trips, we observed different types of transportation as we talked about how people get around. We also swung by the Louisville Zoo to ride on their train, but it turns out they already closed it for the season. Oh well. We still enjoyed the orangutans, even if they don’t have wheels!
Vocabulary Development Theme: Transportation
Train Theme Tot Trays
From left to right, top to bottom: 1. Play-Doh Vehicle Prints, 2. Car Tonging, 3. Water Transferring, 4. Vehicle Puzzles, 5. Car Color Sorting, & 6. Cars Coloring Book
We used these trays to work on the following skills:
- Play-Doh Vehicle Prints (creative play/molding with hands)
- Car Tonging (hand-eye coordination/color recognition)
- Water Transferring (hand-eye coordination/transferring/balance)
- Vehicle Puzzles (matching/vehicle recognition)
- Car Color Sorting (color recognition/sorting/counting)
- Cars Coloring Book (using writing utensils/color recognition)
I want to start with the Car Color Sorting tray. We used this tray to reinforce color recognition and practice counting. It included his carry box full of matchbox cars and 5 colored cups which coordinated with the colors of the cars.
While setting up the tray, I made sure that all the cars inside matched a colored cup and that there was room for all of them once the container was emptied so that there could be a set completion for the activity. He loved it!
After looking at each car, he blurted out the color and dropped it into its cup.
Filling up the green cup.
Here’s a yellow one!
He was very playful as he did this activity!
When we were done, we dumped out each cup one at a time and counted the cars.
Rocket counting the purple cars.
We own a stack of 3 Vehicle Puzzles that I put together on a tray for review of our vocabulary words. We returned to this tray frequently to go over our words, especially since I decided not to create a magnet set for this theme.
Working on one of his favorite puzzles – the Melissa & Doug Vehicle Sound Puzzle.
We have a match!
He also had fun “driving” the puzzle pieces on the floor!
It’s been a while since we’ve done a Water Transferring tray, but he always gravitates right to it when we do. This tray included a measuring cup full of water, a plastic squirt bottle full of water, an eyedropper, an empty ice tray, and an empty blue cup. I let him decide how to move the water around using the tools and containers provided.
From the blue cup to the measuring cup. Notice that tot school does get messy and that’s perfectly okay!
Transferring water from the squirt bottle to the measuring cup.
It was his least preferred tool, but he did use the eyedropper a little bit to move water.
On days when the weather was nice, we took our trays outside. For this one, he was able to get sloppy without me having to blot the carpet with a towel when he was done!
Trying something new- poking the eye dropper into the squirt bottle.
Getting the ice tray filled with the squirt bottle.
The measuring cup was great practice for holding a steady hand.
Filling the blue cup up with the squirt bottle.
I love watching his creative mind at work during water transferring. I never quite know what he’ll do next!
We have a Cars Coloring Book that he worked on for handwriting practice since we didn’t do the usual printables.
Coloring the car’s window.
Coloring the wheel.
Putting the cap back on the marker.
I think I’ve mentioned in recent tot school posts that Rocket’s big thing lately is using the tongs. I set up a tray of Car Tonging, which consisted of a large bowl of cars to be transferred over to a party platter tray using tongs. I included cars of various sizes to make this project more challenging for him. He was drawn to the activity right off the bat and concentrated deeply to accomplish the goal of transferring all the cars using only the tongs.
Dropping a car into the tray.
Caught this one by the tire!
Using a second set of tongs to transfer more cars.
The Play-Doh Vehicle Prints tray involved two colors of Play-Doh and several vehicles to imprint. He made prints with the cars, the helicopter, the train, and a loose wheel.
Making prints in the Play-Doh.
After making prints on one side, he turned the sheet of Play-Doh around for a clean, flat surface.
Driving the car through the Play-Doh.
And why not try some hand prints too?
Train Theme Sensory Tub
Sensory Tub Filler Material:
Sensory Tub Featured Items:
- Plastic Structures
Sensory Tub Exploratory Tools:
- Popsicle sticks
- Railroad track
We had a simple sensory tub consisting of a filler that some vehicles might actually drive on sometimes: sand.
I added a railroad track for Rocket to make imprints in the sand and Popsicle sticks for probing and digging. This sensory tub was most certainly messy and involved vacuuming the schoolroom after every play session. I can assure you that the messiest ones also seem to be the favorite ones!
Driving the yellow car over the sand.
Poking at the sand with a Popsicle stick.
At one point, he decided to bury the airplane in the sand!
What a fine sensory experience a fistful of sand is!
Tot School Toys
I want to introduce you to Rocket’s favorite toy.
This is no ordinary fly swatter. He carries his “blue guitar” all over the place with him, sometimes strumming on it with his fingers and other times, strumming with the pick. He sings and acts like a rock star as he plays it. He also “tunes” the pegs.
Sometimes, we let French Fry Monkey (his stuffed animal) play the guitar too. You can see him holding his blue guitar in many photos on this post because it goes everywhere with him!
Strumming on the blue guitar with his arsenal of picks beside him.
He often begs for a real guitar. Until the day that dream becomes reality, he’s happy with his blue guitar!
Train Books & Current Reading List
We don’t always find a lot of books for our tot school themes at the library. But we did for trains and transportation!
Our bookshelf was overflowing with train books. A few of them have become favorites. We’ll be moving those to our bedroom books bin after the train theme is over and continue reading them until Rocket loses interest. I’ve posted affiliate links to his favorites below.
- Tractor Day by Candice F. Ransom
- Miles To Go by Jamie Harper
- Five Trucks by Brian Floca
- ABCDrive by Naomi Howland
- My Car by Byron Barton
- Truck Stop by Sallie Wolf
- The Bernstein Bears- All Aboard! by Jan & Mike Bernstein
- My Big Book Of Trucks & Diggers by Caterpillar
- Engine, Engine, Number Nine by Stephanie Calmenson
- Let’s Go For A Drive! by Mo Willems
- I Spy A School Bus by Jean Marzollo & Walter Wick
- Rattle And Rap by Susan Steggall
- A Train Goes Clickety-Clack by Jonathon London
- The Rain Train by Elena De Roo
Current Favorites Outside The Schoolroom:
This was actually an art project with toy cars rather than trains, but the same concept can be executed with toy trains. We had so much fun with this one!
The invitation was set up like this:
On the far right, we had our blank canvas (which as you can see, is already wrinkled from previous painting projects). On the far left is a tray with 3 different toy cars and a container with 4 different colors of finger paint. Lastly, I set out a bowl full of water.
Rocket put on his painting shirt (an over-sized tee devoted solely to messy projects like this one) and we went at it!
But where are the paintbrushes? The cars are the paintbrushes!
Dipping a car into the paint to get started.
Using the water to clean off the car between dips.
The bigger car made much larger tracks on the paper.
The big car was by far his favorite “paintbrush”!
Painting the blank corner of the page.
Please note that blue hand of his. Always use non-toxic paints when doing art projects with toddlers.
He got paint all over his hands, arms, knees, and face! I’m glad we did this one outside.
Round 2: After finishing his painting, he insisted on a fresh canvas!
His second painting.
If you try this at home, make sure to wash the cars off immediately after the paint job. It’s going to be much harder to get them clean after the paint dries!
Train Activities & Other Fun Things
1. Riding On The 4-Wheeler.
Rocket loves his Kawasaki 4 Wheeler, so of course we had to take a spin around the house in honor of transportation week!
Looking at these photos, I’m not sure how much longer he’s going to fit on this thing.
2. Toy Boats At The Lake.
We brought our toy boats to the lake in hopes of comparing them to a real boat. However, no one was on the water except these friendly ducks and geese. Good thing we brought bread!
3. Birthday Cards.
I kept Rocket’s birthday cards out for a couple of weeks after his birthday. It made him feel so special to go back and examine the pictures while I read them to him.
Trying to read the card himself.
This card was his favorite. Unsurprisingly, it featured all kinds of animals playing musical instruments!
4. Playing With Cars Outside.
We were blessed with beautiful days for our transportation theme. One of those days, we took our toy cars outside for some rugged play time.
Balancing a car on the tow truck.
Playing with his wooden fire truck.
These tiny cars called Nano Cars are his absolute favorites! Here he is letting one ride in the old Chevy.
4. Transportation Fun At The Science Center.
You guys are probably sick of hearing about the Kentucky Science Center by now, but it is seriously one of the best places in Louisville to take toddlers! Our last visit was especially awesome because it was Dad’s first time joining us. Here are some moments we had exploring transportation at the Science Center.
We started with his favorite exhibit at the whole place: the bus!
The driver on the bus says, “Move on back!”
Dad & Rocket did some serious medical examinations in the ambulance.
Next, we took a tour of the airplane.
Dad & Rocket even gave each other high fives through a rocket ship window!
Smiling before take-off.
Rocket on the construction site.
These boys also explored a real Gemini trainer together.
Look at all those knobs and switches!
A flight simulation mission.
Driving a car.
5. Bowman Field Airport.
On a different day, we went to a small airport in town called Bowman Field to see how people move around in the sky.
Checking out the model airplane inside.
We saw some neat painting in the airport of old planes!
And of course, we saw some neat airplanes parked outside.
6. Ship In A Bottle.
Our good friends D & O gave Rocket a late birthday present since they were away on vacation for his party- a ship in a bottle! How fitting for transportation week.
What a cool present!
Rocket examined the ship in a bottle as I talked about how it was made (I had to do some research on that one). He really wanted to get it out!
7. The Train Depot.
What would a train theme be without a train?
Welcome to the train depot!
Don’t worry. This track is out of service!
Stopping to pick at the weeds.
We saw a fallen railroad crossing sign, which Rocket promptly decided was a drum!
Observing the railroad track.
8. Train Set At Home.
We don’t have a fancy train set, but we do have a small track that I was able to set up for him this week.
Aligning the train to the track.
He preferred sitting right in the middle!
9. Train Table At The Toy Store.
I also took him to the toy store, which is next door to our grocery store. They have a nice train table set up for the kids there.
Since our library recently removed their train table, we come here every once in a while for him to play.
Pushing the train through the doors.
Down the hill. Choo-choo!
10. Driving The Truck.
This is something I let Rocket do from time to time- “drive” our truck. He loves it. The truck is actually running while he pretends to do big boy driving stuff!
He’s got important places to go!
Pretending to honk the horn.
A happy truck driver.
Fiddling with the key in the ignition.
“Can you turn the radio down?” I asked. “Oh yeah!” He answered.
“Can you turn the heat off?” “Oh yeah!”
“Can you roll up your window? Unlock the doors?” “Oh yeeeaah!”
11. Washing The Truck.
This activity was perhaps the biggest hit for our theme on transportation. And the truck got clean for the first time since we bought it too!
The invitation was simple. Soap & water, a sponge, and some microfiber towels.
It was all set up next to the truck.
Without direction, Rocket knew just what to do!
Dipping the sponge into the soapy water.
He scrubbed the dirty spots that I showed him while I tackled the upper portion of the truck.
From the front to the back.
Even the F250 badge got clean!
My sister gifted Rocket this Kidoozie Build-A-Road X-Track for his birthday and we decided to give it a whirl for one of our weeks on transportation. I highly recommend this set, especially for children who love cars and wheels! The track is very flexible and can be built in many different combinations. I think as he gets older, he will be more interested in the process of building the road. For now, he was more absorbed in watching the battery-operated cars crash into each other on the track!
Also, Dad loved this toy as much as he did!
Putting the car through the tunnel.
And over the tunnel!
Here, the cars are turned off. They run through the tracks by themselves when turned on!
Repositioning the track.
Song Of The Week & Music Time
Our song of the week was “I’ve Been Working On The Railroad.” This was a new one to him, but he learned the words fast.
He’s also still beating on this drum set of his, every day!
Drumming by the fire.
Rocket took this picture from his drum stool.
Drumming with his buddy Mike!
At the Kentucky Science Center, he got on a microphone and sang his favorite songs to everyone in the room. A new musical experience and as you might be able to guess, he didn’t want to stop!
We watched this Auto-B-Good Faith Builders DVD we just snagged on sale at a local store. It’s even cheaper on Amazon!
I like that this series teaches moral lessons using cars as main characters. It was something different for Rocket, as we don’t own a TV and rarely watch shows.
Mom’s Favorite Moments
A kiss for Dad at the fireplace.
And a hug, too!
Dad & Rocket at the Kentucky Science Center.
Watching Dad split some wood for the fireplace.
Guts, dads, and toddlers!
More Tot School Resources
Check out these link-ups for more tot school inspiration: