Let’s raise the roof for some riveting construction activities that will engage and excite our little learners! There is something that naturally draws us all to building – maybe it is the creation of something new, the expression of an idea, or maybe it’s the fact that we get to smash objects with hammers! For our preschoolers, construction is such an interesting topic, especially when we add in real tools to drill in some learning. Here’s a look at our week full of construction activities:
This post contains Amazon affiliate links, which means I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you by linking to Amazon.com.
Construction: Books We Love
Building a House by Byron Barton is a simple, yet informative, introduction on how to build a house from the foundation to the walls to the roof. I love how the text is kept simple for our little learners, while the illustrations add an immense amount of information for us to learn about building a house.
Next, we read Little Excavator by Anna Dewdney. The big rigs and the little excavator are ready to transform a vacant lot into a park, and all little excavator wants to do is help; however, every job seems too big for little excavator. That is, until they find the perfect job for him.
This next one was a sure hit! Whose Tools? by Toni Buzzeo and Jim Datz introduces many people who work in the construction industry by having the reader predict who would use the pictured tools. Such a great way to build the inquiring mind!
Roadwork by Sally Sutton was the perfect introduction to how we build roads, from digging the path to flattening the gravel, to pouring the asphalt and painting the lines. The onomatopoeia in this book coupled with the bright, vivid pictures adds just the right amount of “Bump! Whump! Whop!” This book is also the right road to drive into our dramatic play this week!
What Can You Do With a Toolbox? by Anthony Carrino and John Colaneri explains the tools and their uses as they work on constructing a playground throughout the book. As each swing and cargo net is added, the anticipation builds as to what exactly we can do with a toolbox. I love how the questioning title can also lead to imagining what else we can build with the tools in our toolbox.
Construction: Literacy Activities & Centers
Hammer the Letter
“Stop! Hammer time!” But instead of “U Can’t Touch This,” we want kids to be completely hands-on with this Hammer the Alphabet activity! Go ahead and pound golf tees into the construction-themed alphabet. Just place them on a carpeted surface or a foam board so the golf tees will poke through with the wooden hammers. Love that the kids are learning practical skills, letter identification, construction-themed vocabulary, and having a great time!
Want to build engagement with letter formation practice? Add sand! Or salt. Or really any sensory tray will make kids want to draw the shapes of the letters. This week, we used sand for our construction theme paired with paintbrushes, golf tees, screwdrivers, or just fingers as our writing tools. Grab the Construction Alphabet cards here!
Next, we paired up the pipes by matching uppercase letters cut out from one sheet to the lowercase ABC Pipes. We also played “Pipe Burst” by drawing a card, saying the letter sound, and creating a set of connected pipes. If we drew the “Pipe Burst” card, we had to put back one of our cards.
Hammer the Sound
My little one loved this Hammer the Sound activity so much! We pounded our way through some initial sound identification by using a wooden hammer to hit the picture that began with the same sound as the letter at the top!
Next up, we have Toolbox Syllables for some phonemic awareness practice this week. One way to use this is to count the syllables in each word and stack the corresponding number of snap cubes on top. Another way is to play a game with a partner by spinning the spinner and placing your color marker on top of a word with the same number of syllables. We used hex nuts and definitely allowed bumping! The third way is to create a key and color the tools according to the number of syllables. Did I mention this is also a great way to build vocabulary?
Construction: Math Activities & Centers
I loved seeing the wheels crank on this first math activity: Board Measure. I set out different lengths of boards from 1 inch to 9 inches. Then, we had to find two different boards that equaled the 10 inch board by matching up the lengths underneath. Finally, we measured the boards using the nail ruler (you could also use an actual tape measure) to see which two numbers made 10! Lots of number sense, counting, and visual prediction with this one!
Load the Dump Truck
These counting sensory bins are always a hit with my kids! This week, we pretended to be excavators with Load the Dump Truck. We counted out the number of scoops of gravel listed on the card and loaded them into the dump truck with the matching color! I just taped the dump trucks onto wooden boxes found at the Dollar Tree. Dollar Tree for the win again!
Next up, we worked at the Shape Construction site by building shapes out of short and long road pieces. Then, we added cones as the vertices. We recorded the number of road pieces used and the number of cones used to build early geometry skills. Don’t forget to add in some construction hats for added engagement!
Count & Wreck
Count & Wreck has been the most anticipated activity of the week! Once the wrecking ball was spotted (which I hung on PVC pipes that we usually use for our sensory bin), this is all they have wanted to do. We first counted the number of blocks displayed on the card and marked it with a clothespin. Next, we built our block tower, following the pattern on the cards. Finally, we came in like a wrecking ball and destroyed the tower! So much fun!
Nail the Pattern
Let’s nail in some pattern skills! We just used an egg carton with wooden hammers and colored golf tees. These Nail the Pattern cards come with AB, ABC, AAB, ABB, and AABBCC patterns to easily differentiate for your students.
Construction: Other Activities
Construction Play Dough Exploration
Squeeze the dough. Hammer the nails. Roll the bolt. Press in the rocks. Dig with the excavator. Load the dump truck. Press the hex nut. So many actions and items to explore with this construction play dough invitation. Seriously, it kept the girls busy for an hour!
Construction Sensory Bin
New discovery this week: Lower the arms on the PVC pipes to keep all of the popcorn kernels from literally popping out of the sensory bin! Such a simple set up, but tons of pretending to load the dump trucks and use the excavators and bulldozers with this one!
Close the Circuit Geoboard Science
We explored a simple science concept this week: how to close a circuit to light a bulb, just like electricians in the construction field. First, we talked about how a circuit is a circle, so we must connect one side of the lightbulb to one side of the battery, and the same on the other side. Then, we practiced with a Geoboard and rubber bands. Finally, we even whipped out the Snap Circuits! So neat! These lightbulbs and batteries are a bonus when you purchase the Construction Bundle!
Road Construction Dramatic Play
Get your hard hats on and get ready to build some roads with this Road Construction Dramatic Play! First, draw a plan by tracing over the various road plans. Second, use a bulldozer or excavator to dig a path and create the layout using magnetic tiles (dirt squares on one side and road squares on the other). Third, pretend to add a layer of gravel with the dump truck. Fourth, pretend to steamroll the path to make it flat. Fifth, pour the asphalt by flipping the magnetic tiles over to reveal the road. Last, trace over the yellow dotted line using a paintbrush. Loads of skills packed into play!
Three Little Pigs STEM
Our week ended with a STEM challenge: Can you build a house out of straw, sticks, or bricks that the wolf can’t blow down? I modeled some basic building stacks, and then let the kiddos test it out with pine needles, blocks, sticks, and pigs. Then, the big bad wolf (AKA me) tried to blow their house down. Finally, we drew pictures of our designs on the grid for this “Three Little Pigs” STEM Challenge.
This week, we have built new skills, new memories, and new fun with these construction activities. I hope that you and your students can enjoy them, too! Let me know if you need anything to make these construction activities work for your classroom by emailing me here. Here’s a look at the entire construction bundle, which is 20% off!