This week for our Move & Learn series I was inspired by my little toddler who loves driving cars under chairs and tables. I thought he and my 3-year-old would have fun driving through some tunnels too!
We created these quick and easy alphabet tunnels for our cars and trains and all three of my kiddos (ages 6, 3, 1) got involved. It was a blast!
We also made this activity harder for my kindergartener and constructed some words! Make sure you scroll down to check out what we did AND see the cool Word Construction set GIVEAWAY from Learning Resources.
Materials Needed: colored cardstock, painters tape, cars/trucks/trains, marker, paper cutter or scissors
Prep ahead: Ahead of time you'll want to cut your paper into 4.25 X 11 strips and then write alphabet letters on each strip. I wrote capital on one side and lowercase on the other side so that once they were stuck in the tunnel position both types of letters could be read properly.
Once you've written all of your cards out, tape them to the floor. I used painters tape so it wouldn't leave any residue on the floor. Painters tape also makes it really easy to move these around.
Next, grab your vehicles!!
Here are a few of our favorite vehicles for little kids...
The purpose of this activity is to move around while exploring the alphabet a bit! For most of our alphabet activities we just talk about the letters while we play and I do a little sportscasting and it is amazing what the kids pick up on!
My 3-year-old daughter was especially interested in driving around and finding the letters in her name, since we do a lot of name activities and her name is an important word to her!
Sportscasting means that while the kids drive I might say things like, "Catie you just zoomed your car under the letter E tunnel. So cool!" or "Ryan is driving his truck through the letter H tunnel. The word house starts with the letter H." I also might say things like, "That tunnel has a letter that is in your name! Do you remember that one?... You're right, it's a C!" I try not to drill or quiz the kids on the letters though!
The kids loved to see how many cars they could drive through the tunnels all at one time!
Once my kindergartener got home from school he came up with an awesome idea to move the tunnels around to do some WORD CONSTRUCTION!
He also really wanted to make the cars drive through 2, 3, or even 4 tunnels in a row! His idea was a success and all of my littler kiddos wanted to join in too!
The awesome part about using the cardstock was that it was pretty durable. If you are worried about your kids ripping these down, you could also use thin cardboard.
Some of your little tunnels WILL be knocked down or ripped down as your little one explores! Just set them back up and remind your child what to do.
That is part of the fun and isn't a big deal! Just refocus your kids on driving or rolling things through the tunnels (you could even add some little balls) and they'll be having so much fun that they'll skip ripping down the tunnels.*
If you are worried your child might just be a destroyer and not actually use the tunnels, put 2 tunnels up and practice. If your child can't help himself and keeps ripping the tunnels down, pin this activity for later and skip doing it now!
I thought my 18 month old would destroy our tunnels so we started this activity while he was napping. I was pleasantly surprised with how focused he was during this activity and how little destruction there was! You never know till you try!
Once we were done playing I picked up the tunnels and taped them to the wall inside our guest closet so that we could play again soon... but didn't have to keep stepping on them!
Along with this activity we also did some word building using our cool Word Construction set from Learning Resources.
Word Construction Set Review & Giveaway
The Word Construction set from Learning Resources is geared for kids ages 5+ but my littler kids loved playing with these as well.
Here's what we liked about this Word Construction set...
- The colors are vibrant and we liked how the vowels were all green
- The nuts & bolts design really was intriguing to my kids
- The storage tub was large and could fit all of the materials easily so the kids could clean up quickly!
- Once the nuts were on the bolts they were easy to turn so that kids could read several different words
- The materials were really durable and my 18 month old dumped them out again and again and everything stayed intact!
- The nuts and bolts were large, perfect for little hands to manipulate!
Here's what we'd change about this set...
- We'd love all alphabet letters to be included. There were a few missing when we tried to spell some of our favorite words.
- We'd love the nuts & bolts pieces to be a little bit easier to manipulate. Even I had a hard time getting the pieces onto the bolts the first few times until I discovered the little grooves and taught the kids how they worked.
In addition to having my kindergartener come up with his own words to spell, I also worked with my preschooler to copy words.
I would make a word... and then she would build the same word. It was fun to work together.
My kindergartener also loved to spin the nuts to read the other words on the bolt... and he got a kick out of the nonsense words.
This Word Construction set would be fun to add to your collection of learning materials or to your classroom (if you teach older preschoolers or kindergarteners). This set is definitely one that will require some adult help as kids get used to using it and practice putting the nuts on the bolts.
Today I am excited to give away a Word Construction set to one of our awesome Toddler Approved readers! Read below for the details...
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- This giveaway is open for entry from Thursday, May 1st to Thursday, May 8th at 12:00am (PST)
- The winning entry will be drawn on Thursday, May 8th. I will notify the winner via email.
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- See our Official Giveaway Rules for complete guidelines. US Residents only.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Learning Resources.