Tying together activities for preschool children about spring and transportation may seem unusual until you discover just how many transportation milestones occurred in the spring. From the space race to the iron horse, the spring months have provided the backdrop for many engineering feats. In fact, so much has happened in the spring regarding transportation that National Transportation Week occurs every year in May.
Activities for Preschool Children About Spring and Transportation
National Transportation Week is the third full week of May each year. What better time than in the weeks leading up to Transportation Week to come up with activities for preschool children about spring and transportation?
Lewis and Clark
In the spring of 1804, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark set out on their expedition to the Pacific Coast to open up a route of communication and travel from the East Coast to the West Coast for the purpose of commerce. Along the way, members of the expedition mapped important transportation routes, including the Columbia and Missouri Rivers, as well as passes through the major Western mountain ranges such as the Rockies and the Cascades. in doing so, they established major pieces (although not all) of what would later become the Oregon Trail, which was a 2,000 mile long trail that extended between Missouri and Oregon and ultimately allowed people to move across the country in wagons.
As people moved west, they needed to communicate with one another. In April of 1860, the first Pony Express carried mail across the country. At the time, horses and wagons were still the main modes of transportation.
Americans needed something better than wagon trails and horses to move supplies, mail, and people across the new, larger country. In May of 1869, the first intercontinental railroad was completed, causing large towns to spring up around major railroad hubs. Many kids' songs come from railroading traditions, and preschoolers will enjoy singing "I've Been Working on the Railroad" or "Down by the Station" to celebrate the cross-country advancement of the train.
In May of 1903, the Wright brothers patented their new invention, the airplane. Twenty-nine years later, Amelia Earhart completed a transcontinental flight. Airplanes changed the world, making transporting goods, mail, and people all around the world quicker and easier.
Even very young children can make a simple paper airplane and learn the principles of flight. Try this creative and educational activity with children three and up, and see who can fly his or her plane the farthest.
Before airplanes, the way that people traveled between countries was on ships. This was a very slow mode of transportation, and it was often dangerous. It was so dangerous, in fact, that in April of 1912, the "unsinkable" Titanic hit an iceberg and sank in the North Atlantic. Help young children learn about life during that time by reading Polar the Titanic Bear.
In May of 1937, the Golden Gate Bridge, connecting San Francisco to Oakland, opened. Today, more than 120,000 cars and trucks cross the bridge each day.
Help your kids build this cereal boxcar as you talk about car transportation.
Within 30 years of Amelia Earhart's cross-Atlantic flight, the world had entered into the space race. In April of 1961, a man from the Soviet Union named Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space. Less than one month later, America's Alan Shepard followed suit, becoming the first American in space. The first American woman also went into space in the springtime. It was Sally Ride, in June of 1983 -- more than 20 years later.
Transportation Learning in Spring
With all of the transportation milestones occurring in spring, you can easily tie the two together so that kids can learn about transportation during the entire spring season.