Last year, I did separate weeks for construction and transportation, but because I wanted to spend a week at my mom’s house enjoying a spring break with the girls, this year I combined the units. I think you can do it either way and have a blast, especially if your kids love transportation vehicles and construction. Both of my girls prefer anything to do with construction, so we focused more on that (also due to the fact that Aria knows most of her transportation vehicles at this point).
I actually accidentally timed this unit quite well by implementing it the week before traveling, and I recommend you doing the same. Not only did we pass by plenty of examples of different vehicles and even an airport while driving that we could talk about, but we passed by loads of construction on almost every major road we drove on. The girls would shout from the back of the car “construction!” each time and Aria would point out the different types of construction vehicles we passed by. We even guessed as to what they were trying to build, whether road, home, or building. If we hadn’t studied all of the vehicles, construction or otherwise, right before our trip, I don’t think she would have taken the time to look out her window as much and definitely wouldn’t have taken the time to shout out the names of different construction vehicles, so this was a great pre-trip refresher.
Playing with construction and transportation vehicles was still a big hit this year, especially when I found road tape at Hobby Lobby and Aria taped it all over the house and pretended to travel the roads. She also loved her name written in the shape of roads and traveled those over and over. She knows her name now and how to write it, but it is always good to refresh how to draw the shapes of the letters. The construction box from last year was great to pull back out and play with, and the girls loved digging in the beans and jewels to see what they could find.
Both girls really enjoyed building things together all week, from “laying bricks” (which Aria spent about 2 hours doing one day, she loved it so much), by using play dough to stick wooden blocks together to using a STEM tool kit to build their own vehicles. The “Where’s the construction vehicle” game was still popular this year, and Aria and I would take turns hiding a vehicle under a cone and guessing the letter or number. Aria also loved making dirt playdough, which I have to say ended up looking a lot like dirt. We also worked together to write the alphabet on a bunch of smooth rocks from Hobby Lobby and Aria put them in order from A to Z.
This week is one that I found to be really successful with a lot of prior preparation. Over time, I collected rocks, jewels, construction hats, and tape from the party section at Hobby Lobby during a sale. I also bought construction vehicles, transportation vehicles, and several coloring/sticker books from the Dollar Tree. I found a road rug for sale at a consignment store last year and a Scholastic Magnetic Pattern Transportation Blocks set at a consignment store this year. The Nuts and Bolts construction STEM set was the only thing I paid full price for and it was a birthday present last year. So, needless to say, if you give yourself time to prep this unit, you can save a lot of money. Plus, if you have multiple kids, most of the items you invest in can be used over and over for years to come and multiple preschool experiences. However, if you don't have a lot of money to invest, there is so much benefit to just driving your community and pointing out and discussion the construction vehicles you find, how they are used, and then watching them construct something over the course of several weeks by passing by the same area every few days.
Aria says that construction week was one of her favorites this week because she just loves to build. I think any preschool unit that gets kids to be hands on for most of the week is an absolute success and I love these units so much. Plus, I am just so glad that we were able to follow the week up with an accidental field trip to view everything we talked about in person. Definitely made our 6 hour drive much more interesting and hopefully this unit can do the same for you and your family!
Jessica's Homeschooling Tip:
I realize this may seem like a silly piece to some, but I know far too many people, homeschooling moms even, who simply go to the library and rummage through shelf after shelf of children’s literature trying to find a couple relevant age-appropriate books for a lesson. If you are one of these mom’s, frantically searching the rows while littles pull book after book off the shelves this post is for you. There is a better way!! As long as you are willing to plan at least a week in advance you can simply pinterest “childrens books about……(insert topic here)” and do a quick rundown to find highly rated, age appropriate, relevant material. Next, login to your member library and simply request “reserve” for these titles from any of the participating sister branches in your network. You select the location to pick up all material, and when you bring the littles to a storytime or whatever, everything is ready and waiting for you at the front desk. Easy Peasey. Add a few theme related kits, books on tape, dvds even to complete your prep. Most libraries will let you check out like a hundred titles at one time. I used to feel embarrassed, watching sheepishly as my librarian scanned 20 picture books on astronauts at one time, most of which had to be shipped in from other locations. After a few heart to hearts with these ladies who came to know me by name however, I changed my tune. The library is a state and federally funded program, which receives money and creates jobs based on the number of citizens checking out material and the staff required to manage things like shipping requests. There are more than enough books to go around if someone else just so happen to be doing the same theme at the same time, I LOVE reading new and exciting (on topic) stories to my daughter each day while watching her love of literature grow, and my system ensures I almost always return things on time (as I have to go back to pick up the next theme of books). We have amazon prime, curbside grocery pickup, why are we still perusing dust filled shelves or worse spending hundreds on a few basic titles kids may get bored of after only a short time?
It will take at least a few days for titles to ship from other branches for your “order” to be prepared, and occasionally I have to cancel a request bc something didn’t come in before I’ve completed that theme but overall this plan has saved me hours and hours of prep. Even on the weeks I don’t have the time or energy to create lots of art projects or science experiments I always have a ready supply of quality children’s books on hand to stimulate learning. And the best part, this investment in my child’s future doesn’t have to cost me a dime! If you still aren’t convinced check out this article on the importance of having a lot of books in the home ….or do your own research by googling the correlation between home literacy environment and a child’s reading skills, academic achievement, even lifetime success. It certainly made a believer out of me!!
Jessica and Ana
Our Homeschooling Mission Statement: We will strive to be patient, godly examples to our children, integrating biblical principles and morality into every subject. Learning should be fun. We will foster an attitude of lifelong curiosity and play while providing the best possible education we can through books, art, technology, food, tactile activities, and cultural experiences. Learning will not be dictated by hours on a clock but will be a way of life for our families.