Hello, Teaching Friends!
Making your manipulatives motivating goes a long way toward getting them used again and again and again ... and eventually toward deeper understanding and greater automaticity of the processes involved, whether they are math or literacy! Trucks and cars are hugely motivating for lots of our students, so today I thought I'd share some great ways for using them as part of your classroom games and centers. Ideas courtesy of Pinterest, of course!
First up, from Samantha at Stir the Wonder, here's an easy-prep giant floor game that uses toy trucks as playing pieces. It's a winner because it's BIG (and we all know how our kiddos like THAT!) and because it's so versatile. Samantha suggests playing this as a simple roll-count-move activity for younger students, but notes that it can be extended to practice with operations by using two dice instead of one. Another thought would be to have your students correctly answer a question or solve a problem before they roll and move their truck ahead. What a great way to use flash cards or task cards for whatever topic you are currently teaching!
If you're working on estimation or measurement, check out this neat idea from Amanda at The Educator's Spin on It. Begin by measuring just one or two toy trucks or cars at a time. Have your students find cars and combinations of cars that they think will be lighter or heavier than the first ones they weighed. Then move on to having them gather a collection of cars that they think will equal exactly one pound. Check by weighing, and then record the results (great use for a math journal page!). Don't you just love this idea?
Amanda suggests this activity for preschool, but I can definitely see it being a hit in K-1 math centers! Working on measuring length? Imagine the fun of measuring around the classroom using a toy truck as the unit of measure! Then some estimation: How many trucks long is one foot? How many trucks will it take to equal the length of one yard?
Finally, from Marsha at A Differentiated Kindergarten, take a look at this ABC Parking Lot, a great way to keep the fun in learning while practicing the skill of matching uppercase to lowercase letters.
It's a free download at TpT! The same idea could easily be extended to other skills. Wouldn't this be great for matching visually similar sight words, for instance all those crazy confusing words that clog up the t- and w- sections on your word wall? How about math: match the numeral to the domino, match the number model to the sum, match the missing addend to the number model, etc.
It's summer! Spend some time accumulating a great collection of little cars and trucks - search the Dollar Spot, dollar stores, and best of all garage sales. You'll be ready to roll with these great activities when school starts!
If you have some little learners who are in love with trucks of all kinds and could also use some extra practice with addition and subtraction, here's a freebie that has just what you need!
As you see, this set includes an activity for basic addition and subtraction and another at a slightly higher level, adding and subtracting multiples of ten... making it good for K-2, and easy for differentiation within one classroom or by math specialists! Click here or on the picture to download your copy!
If you're looking for more activities for your little learners who love cars and trucks, here are two you'll like!