Many kids are fascinated with the large machinery used on construction sites and others just love to build; if your children fall under either category this Theme Day is a sure way to assemble some family fun!
Print out the Family Theme Day Planner and decide which activities you’d like to do and in what order.
The children’s song “Johnny Works with One Hammer” is perfect for this Theme Day. Check here for the lyrics and actions: http://www.kididdles.com/lyrics/j105.html
Here are some other building related (sort of) songs I could think of:
“If I had a Hammer,” by Peter, Paul and Mary
“Sixteen Tons,” by Tennessee Ernie Ford
“We Built this City,” by Starship
You can find many free colouring pages online by using your favourite search engine and typing in “Construction Colouring Page” or print out my Construction Zone Colouring Page.
JOURNALING QUESTION PROMPT:
Write out one or more of the following questions in your Family Theme Day Scrapbook or on a piece of paper to glue in your scrapbook: How many different tools can you name? What construction machines can you name? What types of things do construction workers make? Which construction vehicles do you like the best?
Choose the level of your child:
¨ Toddler – discuss the answer(s) out loud first and have your child draw a picture of the answer
¨ Preschooler/Kindergartener – discuss the answer(s) out loud first and write the answer down for him/her leaving one word for him/her to write out himself/herself with your help. You could also encourage him/her to draw a picture as well.
¨ Early Grade School – have your child either write out the answer himself/herself (encourage phonetic spelling) without your help, or offer to help with spelling each word out loud one word at a time.
¨ Grade School – have your child write a sentence or two on his/her own and then read over and discuss the response. (You decide whether to correct the spelling or not)
¨ Older Child – have your child write a longer response (paragraph).
¨ As A Challenge – instead of a question ask your older child to write a story or poem about construction.
Print out a Construction Word Search:
Check here for the answer keys:
Raid your child’s bookshelves to find any books about construction or building.
Go to the library with your child to find some books about construction.
Go to the library on your own to find books about construction or building from both fiction and nonfiction to have already on hand for your theme day. Many libraries allow you to go online and search for titles based on subject (Search for “Construction” under “Children’s Books”). Reserve them if you can to save time.
Try to find some of these nonfiction/learning titles:
· Construction Zone, photographs by Richard Sobol and text by Cherly Willis Hudson, Candlewick press, 2006 – This informative book is great for beginner readers with its easy text, but it also very interesting as it shows the stages of building the unique Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Stata Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
· Cool Construction Vehicles, by Kelley MacAulay and Bobbie Kalman, Crabtree Publishing Company, 2007—with simple text and lots of photographs this is a good review of the different types of construction vehicles.
· Earthmovers, by Lee Sullivan Hill, Lerner Publications Company, 2003 – This is a book for beginner readers with its easy text and photographs of various construction vehicles.
· From Rock to Road, by Shannon Zemlicka, Lerner Publications Company, 2004 – This small book is not only perfect for beginner readers but also informative for eager little minds who want to see the process of building a road in photographs.
· Heavy Equipment up Close, by Andra Serlin Abramson, Sterling, 2007 – This large book has photographs of different machines and offers some unique life-size photos as well.
· If You Were a...Construction Worker, by Virginia Schomp, benchmark Books, 1998—This looks at all the different elements involved in being a construction worker.
· You Wouldn’t Want to be a Skyscraper Builder! A Hazardous Job You’d Rather Not Take, written by John Malam and illustrated by David Antram, Franklin Watts, 2009 – My eldest son found this book about the construction of the Empire States Building interesting.
Here are some picture books:
· Good Morning Digger, by Anne Rockwell and illustrated by Melanie Hope Greenberg, Viking, 2005 – Bright illustrations accompany this story of a boy watching an empty lot as it transforms into a community centre.
· Roadwork, by Sally Sutton and illustrated by Brian Lovelock, Candlewick Press, 2008 – This brightly illustrated picture book will appeal to toddlers and preschoolers with its use of alliterative text.
· Tip Tip Dig Dig, by Emma Garcia, Boxer Books, 2007 – The simple text and unique illustrations in this book will appeal to very young children.
Here are some books about building bridges:
· Bridges! Amazing Structures to Design, Build and Test, by Carol A. Johmann and Elizabeth J. Rieth and illustrations by Michael Kline, Williamson Books, 1999 – This is a super book full of interesting facts about bridges and bridge designs and also offers many different projects for children to try.
· The Great Bridge-Building Contest, by Bo Zaunders and illustrated by Roxie Munro, Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 2004 – This picture book is based on a true story about Lemuel Chenoweth who designed the winning bridge in a West Virginia competition in 1850, a bridge that still stands today.
For Something Different try this title:
· A Kid’s Guide to Building Forts, by Tom Birdseye and illustrations by Bill Klein, Harbinger House, 1993 – This book offers directions on how to build different types of forts including outside forts like lean-tos and snowball forts, and inside forts made using pillows and tables etc..
STICKER COLLAGE or SCENE:
Materials: Coloured paper (yellow, orange or brown work well or this theme day), stickers with various construction vehicles or tools on them, markers or crayons (optional).
Step 1: Give your child the stickers and paper and have him/her either make a scene or a collage with them.
Step 2: (Optional) See if your child wants to embellish the picture with markers or crayons by drawing a setting for the construction vehicles.
TISSUE BOX BULLDOZER:
Materials: empty tissue box, yellow or orange paint, paint brushes, old clothes or art smocks to protect clothes, news paper or plastic to cover the table/work space, black and yellow craft paper, white crayon, white glue and glue stick, child safe scissors.
Step 1: Have your child paint the tissue box yellow and then leave it until it is dry.
Step 2: Cut out two elongated ovals out of the black paper for the bulldozer treads and draw on it with white crayon to create the treads.
Step 3: Cut out a black square of paper to be used as the seat back.
Step 4: Cut out a broad rectangle out of yellow paper to be used as the shovel.
Step 5: Cut out four long strips of yellow paper. Glue two together using a glue stick in an “L” shape and then according fold them one on top of the other. Do this with the other two strips. These two according shapes will be used to attach the “shovel” to the tissue box.
Step 6: Once the tissue box is dried glue all the pieces on it using white glue to create the bulldozer. The two elongated ovals go on the side to be the treads. The Black square is folded slightly and then glued on top as the seat. The according shapes are glued to the yellow rectangle (we used glue stick for this part) and then to the tissue box.
Step 7: Once that has dried your child can use it as a toy vehicle for other toys.
POPSICLE STICK CREATIONS:
Materials: recycled popsicle sticks or craft sticks, white glue, paper, boxes, waxed paper (to cover the table and to leave the creations to dry on).
Using your knowledge of building from reading throughout this Theme Day try to create your own bridges or buildings. Allow your child’s imagination to sore. You can see in our picture that my son used modeling clay on one of his creations.
Crafts stores often have building craft sets to construction foam or even wooden structures.
Cracker Construction: Give your child the ingredients (cream cheese, crackers and pretzels) and see what he/she can build using them.
Build Your Own Sandwich: You provide the bread, toppings and spreads and then let your child build their own sandwich creation!
Rice Krispie Creation: make some Rice Krispie Treats (check here for the recipe: http://www.ricekrispies.com/recipes/the-original-treats.aspx#/recipes/the-original-treats) and cut them into squares or rectangles. Let your child build his/her own creation. We decorated ours with homemade chocolate icing.
WHICH IS THE STRONGEST SHAPE:
Materials: Construction paper (stiffer than regular craft paper), child-safe scissors, paper fasteners (we used scrapbooking brads to make them fancier), a needle or push pin (adult use only).
Step 1: Cut out 7 strips of construction paper of matching size.
Step 2: (Parent step) Using the needle or push pin make a pin hole centered and near the top of each end of each strip of paper.
Step 3: Put a paper fastener through the pin hole and then push it through a second strip as well. Do this to create a square out of four strips of paper using 4 paper fasteners and then do this to create a triangle using three strips of paper and 3 paper fasteners.
Step 4: Have your child test the strength of the square by trying to push the strips. They will move easily because a square is not a strong shape.
Step 5: Have your child then test the strength of the triangle by trying to push the strips. They will not move because a triangle is a very strong shape.
Step 6: See if you can find examples of the use of triangles to make things stronger.
BUILDING BRIDGES WITH BLOCKS AND PAPER:
If you have some wooden blocks, drinking straws, clay and paper you can try to build a bridge. This book Let’s Try It Out with Towers and Bridges, by Seymour Simon and Nicole Fauteux and illustrated by Doug Cushman, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2003, is an excellent book to have on hand for this Theme Day. We followed all the suggestions and had fun as a family building and rebuilding a block and paper bridge and then testing it with plastic army figurines. Try shaping the paper into an arch to make it stronger and to make the strongest according fold the paper!
This is a fabulous website for kids who are fascinated by construction vehicles: http://www.kenkenkikki.jp/e_index2.html
This is the perfect Theme Day to play with construction toys like wooden blocks, LEGO, K’NEX , Tonka trucks or other construction vehicle toys etc.
Q: What construction vehicle do farm animals like?
Amanda build the fence is here.
Search through your child’s DVD/ video collection (or visit your local library before hand or the Video Store) to find your child’s favourite shows with a building or construction theme.
For young children any episode of these three titles will work for this Theme Day:
· Mighty Machines
· Bob the Builder
· Handy Manny
Older kids might enjoy this title which we found at our local library:
· The Science of Disney Imagineering: Design and Models, Disney Educational Productions, 2009
If it is snowy go outside as a family and build something out of snow. Try to build a snow fort or dig a snow cave or even make an igloo.
If the weather permits go to the park or the beach as a family and take along some shovels and pails to build a sandcastle!
Drive or walk to a nearby construction site to carefully look at the different machines you see. Always be safe around a construction site and never go beyond the fenced area.
Digger at rest.
Photo: C Wright
Tissue Box Bulldozer
Popsicle Stick Bridges and other creations...
Build your own sandwich!
Rice Krispie Creation
Which is the strongest shape?
We played pin the boulder on the excavator at my son’s Construction Themed third Birthday!
Building bridges with blocks and paper and testing the strength.