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{Ten for Tuesday} Things That Go Series -- Bikes!

In the Fall of 2012, I embarked on a Ten for Tuesday Series focused on Things That Go. Inspired by National Bike Week (last week) and the awesome bicycle books that What Do We Do All Day shared from The Cath in the Hat, I am reprising the series to bring you this post focused on bicycles -- one of my FAVORITE childhood items. (I loved riding my bike as a child and hope that my sons will also love this wonderful childhood pastime. I have really enjoyed seeing kids out on bikes all day today since, for most students, school is out! Summer Fun!)  

1. Read - I always start with books that connect to our selected mode of transportation, and this time it is no different. The book list from The Cath in the Hat: Books for Bike Month definitely has great bike books, and we also love Duck On A Bike. Growing Book By Book shared a great literacy activity to go with Duck On A Bike as part of the Virtual Book Club for Kids in April when David Shannon was the featured author. In the link-up at the bottom of her post, you will also find other activities for David Shannon books, including more activities for Duck On A Bike.

2. Create an Invitation to Play - We used black buttons and washers for tires and pipe cleaners for the bicycle frame. I threw in a letter B magnet, and set it up with a B is for Bicycle Flashcard. Oh, and I added a whistle at the last minute and two small stop signs I found on his train table. Simple! (But fun!) The bin also got him very excited about counting - he counted the tires, and loved that he had two bicycles and two stop signs. P.S. The whistle was a big hit. I did not realize he had never played with one before we did this activity. 

He liked to just explore the buttons and washers. 
We also worked together to make a bicycle (can you tell) with a Letter B seat.
Of course, since trains started this whole series,
he had to add his trains into the mix - carrying the tires.
3. Bicycle (well, technically tricycle) Painting - This one was a big hit! Rarely do I love that we have gravel, but this time I definitely was glad as they could ride through the paint and all over the rocks all they wanted! This activity is a great way to use old paint that might not be so good for other art activities, and if you do not have wood chips and gravel to ride on, you could always put a down a paint tarp if you have one. That would be quite perfect. After the trike painting, we also ended up painting with rocks and rolling small plastic golf balls through the paint too. 

The other cool, unexpected thing about painting with tricycle
wheels on gravel and wood chips is getting to go on a "hunt"
for your paint markings. Wild Thing took this picture himself. 
4. Bicycle Bookmobile - We also did a Things That Go post that was focused on community helpers. In addition to firetrucks, police cars and ambulances, we also highlighted bookmobiles (since that is our main library, and librarians are definitely community helpers). Wild Thing turned his tricycle into a bookmobile. I've also seen a cool short film, in the past, about a mobile library that is on the back of a bicycle and services the homeless, but for the life of me couldn't fit it to share in this post!  

5. Bicycle Food Delivery - Similarly, we had fun making muffins and delivering them to neighbors by putting them in the back of Wild Thing's tricycle. (This is a very fun Random Act of Kindness! -- For more ideas like this, check out Coffee Cups and Crayons.) 

6. Geography and Cultural Explorations - Bicycles are a major form of transportation in many countries, including in Thailand where my brother lives. Also, the ways that different cultures use bicycles (and the types of bicycles that are popular) can vary, so I asked bloggers that are also part of Multicultural Kid Blogs, many of whom live in lots of different countries, to share their bicycle posts so we could learn about bicycles around the world: 
Plus, when I read Things We Couldn't Say about Dutch resistance during the Nazi invasion in World War II, it was clear that bicycles were the primary form of transportation. It is cool to see that they remain a staple way to get around. I love it! 

7. Teach Your Child Bike Safety - and Have Fun Too! I recently came across a great post on the Melissa and Doug blog that demonstrated really creative (and fun) ways to teach your child bicycle safety.  

8. Explore a Bike Store - Head to a specialty bicycle store, if you have one, to look at all the different types of bicycles that exist. Talk about the color of the bikes and the sizes of the bikes. This is a fun way to reinforce these concepts. 

9. Learn to ride a bike - Help your child learn to ride their bicycle with no training wheels. Frugal Fun for Boys has a great post all about this experience with her four year-old. Baby for Scale also shared a great post recently about balance bikes for little ones that are nowhere near even riding with training wheels, but want to get in on the bicycle riding action -- and they will learn a lot about balance and gain valuable pre-bicycle riding skills too. I may have to add one to our wish list!
I think Caterpillar needs a balance bike - his feet still
do not quite reach the pedals on the trike, but I
still pushed him through the paint and often help him
"ride" the tricycle too! This is the first step to learning.
10. Get out and ride!! Whether it is sitting in a trailer hooked to your bike or on their tricycle, getting out and riding is so much fun! What are you waiting for? Get off your computer and go! JDaniel4's Mom shared about creating an Olympic Long Distance Cycling Experience for her son. The summer also often provides opportunities to do some out-of-the-ordinary cycling as many parks and beaches rent Surreys, Deuce Coups (like the one our boys rode in the back of at Irvine Park Railroad) and Tandem Bikes). 

Oh - and don't forget to wash your bicycles (or tricycles) every now and then too! 

I also have a very cool bicycle wash station featured on my Things That Go Pinboard.
This is also a fun way to practice pouring!
Bonus Activity: Movie Night! Watch E.T., one of my favorite movies featuring cool bike rides. The Goonies also ranks pretty high too and Josh Brolin riding a bicycle with training wheels is pretty classic. And my great Facebook friends reminded me about Pee Wee's Big Adventure, which is the ultimate bicycle movie! (It would be fun to have a U.S. map out and track Pee Wee's journey as you watch for some geography fun). I am also adding The Triplets of Belleville to our "need to watch" list as it also came up when I asked friends to recommend bicycle movies for families/kids. 

Do you have a favorite childhood memory related to riding your bicycle? Do you still ride a bike now? Are you children avid cyclists? Please share your cycling experience or favorite bicycle book or movie in the comments or with me on Facebook

Sharing at: Montessori Monday, Tuesday Tots, Eco-Kids Tuesday, Mom's Library, It's Playtime! Artsy Play WednesdayWe Love Weekends and The Sunday Showcase


  1. Love the amazing things you can do with a bike!

  2. What a great roundup for getting younger kids engaged with bicycles - I especially like the painting and bookmobile :) Thanks for sharing!

  3. I love your Ten for Tuesday series. It's so great! I say bring more of them on! Thanks for the shout-out to our bike activity.

  4. I like your idea of rolling through the paint on a tricycle and painting the surrounding rocks or bark. That is a great combination of art and exercise. Thanks for sharing on Artsy Play Wednesday. I pinned it.

  5. Great ideas, Jen! I love the bicycle invitation to play and appreciate all the resources you shared. Thanks so much for linking up with Montessori Monday. I featured your post at the Living Montessori Now Facebook page and pinned it to my Transportation Unit Study Board at

  6. So many fun ideas!!! Thanks for sharing at Eco-Kids Tuesday. Hope you stop by again today!

  7. So many fun ideas with are genius!We shall be trying the painting first. Sharing as part of my Kid's Co-Op feature this week...thanks for linking up!


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