Red Light, Green Light: Two Preschool Projects on Traffic Lights
By Tracey Bleakley
Use these traffic light art projects when you are teaching preschool children about transportation or safety. They'll have fun learning about the importance of traffic signals and road signs when they make a traffic light of their own.
Traffic light art projects for preschool children have been a theme used for many years to teach traffic safety. Below are two that may become favorites with your class.
A copy of the book, Red Light, Green Light by Anastasia Suen or other book about traffic signs
One shoebox with lid, per child
One red, yellow and green circle, per child
Glue or tape
Read a book about traffic signals and road signs to the class. A good choice is Red Light, Green Light by Anastasia Suen. In this bright, rhyming book a little boy sets up all of his cars and road signs to show many different transportation situations like train crossings and traffic jams.
Talk about traffic lights, why they are important, and what the different colors of the lights mean. This could be a fun time to play a quick game of Red Light, Green Light if you have the space.
Tell the children that they are going to be making a traffic light and show them a model of the completed project.
Give each student a shoebox, black paint and a paintbrush. Have them turn the boxes over and paint the bottom with the black paint. You can have them paint the sides too, but for preschool children, it will probably be easier if they just paint the bottom of the boxes. The sides won't show very much. Leave the boxes out to dry.
When the paint is dry, give the students the lid that fits his/her box and have them put the boxes in the lids so that the painted side faces the front and the boxes stand up, like a traffic light.
Give the students a red, yellow and green circle and show them how to glue or tape the circles onto their boxes for the lights. This is a good time to review the concept of top, middle and bottom. "The red circle goes on the top. The yellow one goes in the middle. The green one goes on the bottom."
Individually ask each child why traffic lights are important and what the colors mean. Ask the students to tell you or to point out which lights are on the top, middle and bottom.
For a second activity, make a fun traffic light snack. Give each student a graham cracker. Have them spread peanut butter, cream cheese or icing on top and then give them a red, yellow and green m&m or skittle candy to place on the spread for the lights. Remind them to be sure to put the correct color on the top, middle and bottom.
Note: Always check to see if students have any food allergies or diet restrictions when making new snacks.