Fun with Travel and Vehicles



by Elaine Lambe

How are you travelling on your holidays? Are you going by car, boat, foot, bike, train or even plane? Here are some activity ideas based round vehicles to help you think about and prepare your children for their journeys, courtesy of Elaine Lambe from

The Cardboard Box Vehicle
You will need:
Large cardboard box (big enough for your child or children to sit in!)
More cardboard boxes, cardboard tubes, paper, paper plates etc
Pens, crayons and paint (if you are daring!)
Any other bits and bobs from your craft box
Blankets, cushions (you want a comfy ride)

To make a car:
Add four paper plates for wheels, paper plate on a cardboard tube for a steering wheel and add cushions for seats. If you want the deluxe model you can try adding a windscreen, doors, lights or even a stereo.

To make a boat:
Add a sail to your box using a big cardboard tube or a broom handle with a blanket or muslin attached, or make your boat a rowing boat by making oars from cardboard tubes and a ‘paddle’ shape cut from card slotted in the end.

To make an aeroplane:
Add two wings, a tail fin, and design your own cockpit (egg boxes are good as they make fantastic buttons).

To make a train:
Decorate the box to make a steam train by adding cardboard tubes (a carpet roll inner is fantastic for a funnel) or make a modern train by adding a dashboard of buttons and dials. Add another few big boxes to be carriages now you can take teddy or dolly (or even a baby sister or brother) along for the ride.

Or make a hybrid dream vehicle:
Your imagination is the only limit here – do you want a car that can fly or go under water? What gadgets and accessories do you need?

Passports, tickets and licences
When your child is off on their travels in their ‘cardboard box vehicles’ don’t forget that they need their travel documents with them. Use paper and card to make tickets and little booklets, write in name, age and don’t forget to add their picture or photos.

You could even practice typing on the computer to make these official looking documents. Add pretty stamps to play passports as they travel round the house and garden, and use a hole punch when checking tickets on the train. If you are going away you could let your child take their pretend passport and tickets so that they have one to look after without risking them losing the real thing.

Vehicle Bingo or Lotto
If you spend a lot of time out and about draw up some bingo sheets with favourite vehicles, for example, taxi, fire engine, ambulance, helicopter, train, aeroplane, car transporter, lorry, tractor or bike and see how many you can spot. Older children could have a more advanced one with points for different vehicles (more points for the rarer ones - will they see a horse and cart, or a tandem or even a pink car?). If you are staying at home, make up two identical lotto boards and then cut one of them into flashcards for a simple matching game.

Identifying, matching and sorting vehicles
How well can your child identify vehicles? Make a collection of toy vehicles or vehicle pictures (the more varied, the better).

Can your child sort your collection into vehicles with wings, with wheels, for passengers, for flying, for the sea or even by colours or size.

When they vehicles are hidden from view, can they identify them by touch alone? What are the different characteristics of the different vehicles, which are easy to tell apart (for example aeroplane and bus) and which are very similar (for example car and taxi)?