We Dig Learning

My boys are both crazy about all things construction! Give them all the tools, trucks and hard hats and they’ll play for days! LoL My youngest is really into building with blocks too- Magnatiles are his favorite, but I’ll peek in the playroom to find him making roads and towers with regular blocks too…or even better, garages to fit his trucks! Also I’ve read “Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site” to them so many times I basically have it memorized! I knew a construction themed week was going to be a must do with all the building that goes on in our house, and I thought it would be fun to do it as a wrap up to the school year! (For those of you who follow my plans weekly, we’ll be taking next week off and then starting in on our summer lessons. We’ll still be doing math, literacy, science and art, but there may not be 4 activities in each category every single week and we’ll also be skipping calendar time to have some extra time to play!) Don’t forget to zoom on over to my toddler post “Kiddie Construction Site” for more art and sensory play ideas, like a construction zone obstacle course and a construction site sensory play bin.

Literacy:

-Build a word: Early reading activities can be SO exciting to do with your little as you watch them sound out and decode and essentially READ words! So for this one I got out some ABC blocks (magnets would work as well) and explained that there are 2 types of letters- vowels (a, e, i, o and u) and consonants. I told my little we’d be building words that followed the CVC (consonant, vowel, consonant) pattern, then showed him how to with the word “dog”. For the rest of the activity you can watch this video I made– I know that’s totally random but it’s easier to show than to type instructions because you’re working with letters and sounds so it gets confusing knowing if D in type stands for the letter or the sound! Here are a few words you can do if you can’t think of them off the top of your head: cat, cap, cup…rip, rap, tap…lip, lit, sit…box, fox, fax.

-ABC order tower building: This activity is so simple but is great for working on letter recognition (my little kept saying the ABCs and pointing to the blocks as he went to see what letter he was on so he practiced them like 26 times! LoL) Basically you just give your little a set of ABC blocks and have them build a tower with the blocks in ABC order. We did a 2 row tower but it did end up toppling before we finished so a 3 row tower may work better. (We were missing a few letters because our set is a few years old, but we made it work!)

-Construction site letter hunt: I buried our ABC magnets in our sensory play bean mix and had my little use a bucket loader to dig them out and identify them.

-Hammer the syllables: First I printed some construction words here and here. Then I said each of the letter sounds in the words while pointing to them (they’re a bit long for new readers to sound out on their own) and had my little put them together into a word. Then I had him hammer out the syllables in the word and tell me how many it had- for example “construction” would be 3 taps: con-struc-tion. I got the idea from Pocket of Preschool.

-Construction book list:

Math:

-Construction vehicle parking lot: Firstly- I THOUGHT we had more construction truck toys than we actually do- I know a few are lost because I could only find two! LoL Anyway, workers totally have to drive their own trucks to the job site so we just used regular trucks along with construction vehicles. So back to the activity- you write the numbers 1-10 on washi tape and stick them to the vehicles in a random order. Then place flashcards with numbers 1-10 on the floor in a row like a parking lot. Have your little park the correct vehicle in the correct spot (ie. 1 goes in 1, 2 in 2 and so on).

-Building shapes: This was such a great hands-on learning activity and spurred some great math talk between my little and I. I gave my little some orange and yellow popsicle sticks (I bought some colored ones so I didn’t have to spend 10 days painting them! LoL) and had him build a triangle, square, rectangle, parallelogram, rhombus, trapezoid, pentagon, hexagon and octagon. As he built, we talked about how many sides each shape had, what the corners looked like (square or not), and how the shapes he was making had to be connected at the corners and closed to make a space in the middle. After he made his shapes, I made them all again and had him count the sides and tell me what the shape was. I got this idea from Pocket of Preschool.

-Make a shape truck: I cut out shapes we could use to build a dump truck then I gave my littles oral instructions using shape words to glue them together on a piece of paper. I got this idea from One Beautiful Home Blog.

-Build ten: I gave my little a ten frame, 10 bolts and 10 washers. Then I asked him to build ten in as many ways as he could. I showed him how first by placing one bolt and 9 washers on the ten frame, then writing down my number of bolts plus my number of washers (1 + 9). Then I had him build ten in as many ways as he could and write down the corresponding addition sentences. I got this idea from Pocket of Preschool.

Science:

-Building with blueprints: I was so excited about this activity! I drew up some blueprints based on blocks we had, then explained to my little that blueprints are what builders use to know how to construct a building. I gave him the blueprints and said it was his job to follow them to make a building. He had a great time with it- it’s a great precursor to those crazy instructions that come with Legos if he ever gets in to those! I got this idea from Pocket of Preschool.

-Building a chain reaction: This was SO MUCH FUN! LoL I started by explaining that a chain reaction is when something happens to an object and then the same thing happens to another object near it. I linked it to our previous learning during rainbow week when we “grew a rainbow” by coloring the ends of a paper towel then dipping each side in water. The water molecules closest to the paper towel were soaked into it first, then the nearby molecules were as well until they moved up the paper towel, completely saturating it all the way to the middle (we had discussed this during the rainbow lesson and I had also already explained to him what molecules are- in preschool talk “the super tiny pieces that you can only see with a microscope that are put together to make something”). After explaining, I showed him an example of a chain reaction- the domino effect- by setting up some Jenga blocks on end in a row, then knocking over the first one which in turn knocks over the second and so on. Then the fun began! We both made our own chain reactions using blocks! I got this from Pinterest but it was originally posted on Teach Outside the Box- I just couldn’t find the original blog.

-STEM bridge building: For this activity I told my little to build a bridge and gave him some blocks and solo cups. (If you don’t have long blocks you can also use popsicle sticks.) Since STEM is about not only designing but improving upon design, once he had finished (in about 2.5 seconds LOL) I asked him to look at his bridge and imagine cars were driving along it. I asked him what he could improve to make his bridge a better construction so that it was safer for drivers since that is what real engineers do. He ended up straightening out the blocks so they actually connected and making a smooth, straight road.

-Construction site magnet exploration: I mixed our magnet kit magnets into our sensory play beans, then had my little use the wand magnet to find them. I got this idea from The Educators’ Spin On It.

Art:

-Build a 3D city: We used construction paper to build our own city! First, we glued black squares in rows on sheets of construction paper. When they were dry, we taped them in cylinder shapes (I held them, my little did the taping). Next we made roads by gluing thin rectangles on various strips of black paper. Then I set up 4 green sheets of construction paper for the ground and had my little put the buildings and roads together to make a city! The best part is, this can be taken apart and rebuilt again and again! It’s a great rainy day activity because it does take awhile, but we had fun with it! I got the idea from Mrs. Plemon’s Kindergarten.

Supply/shopping list:

  • multicolored beans OR coffee grounds and flour OR play sand
  • ABC magnets or ABC blocks
  • bulldozer toy
  • toy hammer
  • ABC blocks
  • 10-20 trucks/construction vehicles
  • screws
  • bolts
  • blocks or Legos
  • magnets
  • popsicle sticks
  • solo cups
  • dominos OR Jenga blocks

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