Old MacDonald’s Things That Go, by Jane Clarke

Old MacDonald has a farm, and a whole collection of transportations that go!


  • 1 paper plate per child in the classroom and tape to tape to floor.
  • Roll of aluminum foil
  • 3 large circles cut from construction paper. One red, one yellow, one green
  • Transportation counters or cards, enough copies to make patterns with


  • Transportation (ways to get from here to there)
  • Transporters (vehicles used in transportation like a car, a boat, an airplane to go from here to there)
  • Combine harvester (a transporter that helps farmers to cut and move his crop)
  • Wheels (rollers for vehicles in the shape of a circle)
  • Buoyant (able to float)

 Introducing the Story

Sing Old McDonald with the children. After singing, tell the children that your story today is about a different Old MacDonald who really likes transportation vehicles, things that go. Ask the children if they know what transportation means. Reiterate that it means getting from one place to another. Get out a piece of paper and ask the children to name different transporters. Write their answers on the paper. After the children have listed transporters that they can think of, introduce the book by saying, “let’s find out what kinds of transporters, things that go, Old MacDonald loved”.

Language Development/Speaking & Communicating; uses an increasingly complex and varied spoken vocabulary.

Reading the Story

This book can easily be sung to the tune of Old McDonald. Practice it once before singing with the children so that you comfortable with the rhythm of the text. As you turn each page and sing “and on this farm he had a ______”, pause and let the children name the vehicle is they can. As you sing each page, encourage the children to join along making the various vehicle sounds.

Creative Arts/Music; participates with increasing interest and enjoyment in a variety of music activities, including listening, singing, finger-plays, games, and performances.

After Reading the Story

Have the children recall all the modes of transportation in the story-song. Look at the list the children made before reading the story, is it on the list? If not, add it to the list. When your list is complete, ask the children to help you check all the transporters that have wheels. Put your finger next to each mode of transportation and name it, ask the children if they think it has wheels. Put a mark next to all the ones that do have wheels. Then ask the children if they can remember which transporter Old MacDonald had that did not have wheels (boat).

Literacy/Book Knowledge & Appreciation; shows growing interest and involvement in listening to and discussing a variety of fiction and non-fiction books, and poetry.

Music and Movement

Sing The Wheels on the Bus but turn to various pages in the book and sing about different transporters. The wheels on the _____go round and round,

Round and round. Round and round.
The wheels on the _____go round and round
All through the town.

Science/Scientific Skills & Methods; develops increased ability to observe and discuss common properties, differences, and comparisons among objects and materials.  AND Approaches to Learning/Reasoning & Problem-Solving; develops increasing ability to find more than one solution to a question, task, or problem.

Give each child a paper plate and ask them to stand somewhere in the room where they cannot touch another child or a piece of furniture. Make a loop of tape for each and have the children tape their paper plate to the floor. Tell them that you are going to play a balance game on their circle. Ask them to stand up straight on their circle with their hands at their side. Can they stand on one foot? On their knee and one foot on their circle? Can they squat down low on their circle? Can they stand with one foot on their circle and on leg behind them? In front of them? Can they kneel on their circle with one leg up? Take any children’s suggestions and play until they are tired. Make sure you are modeling all the movements with the children.

Physical Health & Development/Gross Motor Skills; shows increasing levels of proficiency, control, and balance in walking, climbing, running, jumping, hopping, skipping, marching, and galloping.


Tell the children that today you are going to build buoyant boats. Show the children two aluminum shapes that you have made, one a ball, and one a simple boat type shape. Have the children guess what will happen when you put your shapes into the water. Explain to the children that the boat shape floats because it is buoyant. Give each child a square of aluminum foil about 10 to 12 inches.   Encourage them to make a boat shape and then test in in a tub of water. Is it buoyant? Encourage the children to say, “I built a buoyant boat” as their boat floats in the water.

Science/Scientific Knowledge; shows increased awareness and beginning understanding of changes in materials and cause-effect relationships.


Put out a variety of cars today and show the children show to build a ramp using the long blocks. If you do not have long blocks, you can make a ramp from a long piece of cardboard. Let the children experiment rolling their cars down the ramp as they raise/lower the ramp angle.

Science/Scientific Knowledge; shows increased awareness and beginning understanding of changes in materials and cause-effect relationships. Social & Emotional Development/Cooperation shows increasing abilities to use compromise and discussion in working, playing, and resolving conflict with peers.


Bring over several small toy cars. Put out large sheets of paper, and paper plates of tempera paint. Have the children dip the cars into the paint and roll it back and forth on their paper. As they work, encourage them to sing, The Wheels On The Car Go Round and Round.

Creative Arts/Art; gains ability in using different art media and materials in a variety if ways for creative expression and representation.

Sand and Water

Put water in the table today and let the children use it to see if their home-made aluminum foil boats float.

Approaches to Learning/Reasoning & Problem-Solving; grows in recognizing and solving problems through active exploration, including trial and error, and interactions and discussions with peers and adults.

Library and Writing

Get many books about transportation and add them to your center. Encourage the children to talk about and name the different kinds of transporters in the picture. As they look at the books, ask the child if this is something that goes on the land, on the water, or in the sky.

Literacy/Book Knowledge & Appreciation; progresses in learning to handle and care for books; knowing to view one page at a time in sequences from front to back; and understanding that a book has a title, author, and illustrator. AND Mathematics/Patterns & Measurements; shows growth in matching, sorting, putting in a series, and regrouping objects according to one or two attributes such as color, shape, or size.

Dramatic Play

Use one or two of your paper plates and draw a simple steering wheel upon it (a circle to be the horn). Encourage the children to pretend that they are going on a trip. What kind of transportation will you use? Invite them to bring chairs, boxes, or large blocks into the center to use to make their transporter.

Creative Arts/Drama; shows growing creativity and imagination in using materials and assuming different roles in dramatic play situations.

Math and Manipulaties

If you have transportation counters or cards, use them to make patterns for the children to copy. (train, train, helicopter). Have two children play together. One makes a pattern using 4-5 counters/cards, and the other child has to copy it.

Mathematics/Patterns & Measurement; enhances abilities to recognize, duplicate, and extend simple patterns using a variety of materials.

 Outdoor Play

Play Red Light, Green Light with the children. Make two goals on opposite sides of your playground (the fence and the tree). Have the children stand at one goal and you at the other. Explain that when you hold up the green circle, the children must (walk, jump, gallop, crawl) towards you. When you hold up the yellow and shout warning!, the children will know that it is almost time to freeze. When you hold up the red and yell Stop! The children must freeze in their place until you hold up the green and shout Go! again. Play until the children have all reached you. After several rounds, a child might be able to be the caller alongside you.

Social & Emotional Development/Self-Control; demonstrates increasing capacity to follow rules and routines and use materials purposefully, safely, and respectfully.  AND  Physical Health & Development/Gross Motor Skills; shows increasing levels of proficiency, control, and balance in walking, climbing, running, jumping, hopping, skipping, and marching


Use the Old MacDonald book and say, I am a thinking of a kind of transporter that Old MacDonald loved. Sound it out slowly and phonetically and have the children see if they can guess the word before you finish. It begins with /b/b/b/u/s/.

Literacy/Phonological Awareness; shows increasing ability to discriminate and identify sounds in the spoken language.

Dear Parents, today we read Old MacDonald’s Things That Go. In it was many forms of transportation. As we read about transportation, it might be a good time to talk to your child about safety rules both in the car and around cars. If you use public transportation, share safety reminders about these also.


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About Kerry CI am an Early Childhood Educator who has seen daily the value of shared book readings with my preschoolers. I use the book theme in my centers and can daily touch upon a variety of Early Childhood Domains which makes assessing the children easy and individualized.