Things that Go: Books and Activities for Kids

Lately, my little guy has developed quite the personality. He is expressive and happy and obsessed with all things that go (especially trucks). Some highlights from his usual week include watching the garbage truck go down our street, seeing semi trucks from his car seat, and watching the construction workers at the new apartment complex near our house.


He is also finally to the point where he will listen to me read longer books. This is excellent news because I think I have read Moo Baa La La La at least 1,235 times (it is a fun book but anything can get old). So, with our new found book freedom we are exploring the world of things that go. Trucks. Bulldozers. Trains. Etc.

In addition to longer books, it is nice that I can tell that he has a definite interest. This has given me a reason to find all kinds of truck/car/bulldozer activities to keep him busy and we want to share them with you!

Things That Go Books

Things that go is pretty broad for a book list. My kid hasn’t really honed in on a favorite thing that goes yet, he seems to love them all. However, these are some of the books that we read all of the time!

Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle and Jill McElmurry

This book features a little blue truck as well as a dump truck. It also includes farm animals and a good moral about friendship.

Freight Train by Donald Crews

This book teaches both colors and the names of the different cars on a freight train. As a side note, there is a pull apart book called Inside Feight Train by the same author.

Dump Trucks on the Move by Judith Jango-Cohen

This is an informational book we found at the library and have since had to check out 4 times. It has minimal words and basic information about dump trucks, front end loaders, and excavators. My son just grunts in happiness at every dump truck shown.

A New Toy Truck: Touch and Feel Board Book by Rufus Downey and Amy Cartwright

This is a book pre-made with STEAM activities on each page. It’s about a little dog who builds a toy truck for his brother.

Tractor Mac: Friends on the Farm by Billy Steers

This is a lift the flap book and just one of many Tractor Mac books. In this adventure, Tractor Mac helps Carla the Chicken find her ten chicks all over the farm and under the flaps. It includes a train, firetruck, plow, airplane, and more.

What Can A Crane Pick Up? by Rebecca Kai Dotlich

This story is a comprised of a whole bunch of silly rhymes that detail exactly what a crane can pick up. Turns out, a crane can pick up not only another crane but men in business suits, boxes of underwear, and even you. My son thinks this one is hilarious.

Toot! by Kristen Hall

This story is about a little train who saves the day despite being picked on and coming up against obstacles. I like it because it teaches something. My son likes it because there are three trains and a crane.

I Stink by Kate McMullen

This book is told poetically (more rap than Shakespear) from the point of a garbage truck. It’s full of trash examples and includes an alphabet. (This is not my favorite book but my son loves it.)

More Things That Go Books

This is such a small sample of books for such a broad topic. One day I hope to break this down into more specific groups of books and activities but for now, here some links to other blogs that have reviewed many of these books (and some).

Things that Go Activities


  • As you read the various books, take the time to say the correct names for the different types of trucks, cars, and other construction equipment. Learn the terms for the parts of the trucks as well (piston, cover, load etc..) It may not interest you to know the difference between a front end loader and excavator but if you have a truck loving kid they will remember the names and be better for it.
  • Help your child find the same item in multiple books. For example, give them the term dump truck and point out the dump trucks in several books.
  • Create a Name Train as seen on Tippy Toe Crafts.

Field Trips

  • Visit a construction site (from a safe distance). Identify the equipment present. See this reference sheet.
  • Ride on a train or in a taxi. Identify other vehicles that you see on the way to your destination or at your destination.
  • Visit a farm and identify the farming equipment.
  • Point out trucks, construction equipment, airplanes, and trains during your normal daily activities. Things that go are absolutely everywhere.


  • Look for things to count in the books. In Freight Train we count the train cars, in Tractor Mac we count the lost chickies, in What can a crane pick up we count the objects on each page (pairs of underwear, men in business suits, etc.)
  • Count things in real life (at home or on a field trip). Three trucks. Four cars. Three cranes.
  • Add things in real life or on field trips. How many machines are at the construction site altogether? If Mommy can see five cars and Daddy can see three cars how many cars can they see in total? These kinds of questions are precursors to story problems and using the vocabulary early will help them in math later on.
  • Count how long a specific machine takes to do something. How many seconds does it take for the train to get to the next stop? How many times does the excavator move the dirt?
  • Build trucks made of basic shapes. See the tutorial on Little Family Fun.
  • Monster truck race math game as seen on Stir the Wonder.





Social Skills

  • Teach your child to look left, right, then left again before crossing the street. Ask them why it is important to do that each time.
  • Ride a train and talk about train etiquette. Look at the signs on the train and discuss what they mean. Ask your child why they think the rules are what they are and how rules keep us safe.
  • Visit a construction site (stay behind the fence) and talk about why the fence is there.

Whew, that is a lot of information. Does your child have a favorite “thing that goes” and a book that goes with it?

15 Kid Friendly Destinations in Salt Lake City

Let me start by saying that I was never one to actively look for destinations in Salt Lake City, even though it is like 10 minutes from my house, until I was a stay at home mom. Then, suddenly I wanted to be outside doing stuff rather than on my couch watching Netflix (which is all I ever wanted to do after teaching for ten hours a day).

So, after my son turned one and was a little bit more fun to take on adventures, my husband and I started looking for kid-friendly destinations in Salt Lake City. I was lucky enough to stumble upon a Groupon for a *Salt Lake Connect Pass which has enabled us to go to all kinds of new places this year without breaking the bank.

So, if you find yourself wanting some adventure in your life or if you are planning a trip to SLC, then check out these destinations! My list starts at the center of the city and moves outwards. I have put * next to the places that are on the connect pass.

-As a side note, kids under two are free at many of these places so if, like me, you have a one-year-old, now is the time to try them and see what is worth going back to later.

Temple Square

City Creek Center

  • Address: 50 Main St. Salt Lake City, UT 84150
  • This is an outdoor/indoor mall and is free to visit. It has a creek running throughout¬†and is the home to many shops, restaurants, and retailers. It is directly across the street from Temple Square and is easily accessible¬†by Trax.
  • Huge underground parking complex that is free for the first two hours (2017).
  • List of Restaurants
  • List of Stores
  • My one-year-old’s favorite things are the centrally located splash pad and fountain, walking along the indoor creek, getting a free balloon from the Nordstrom’s kid section, and crossing the covered see-through bridge from one side of the street to the other.

*Discovery Gateway

  • Address: 444 W 100 S, Salt Lake City, UT, 84101
  • Admission and Parking Information
  • This place is perfect for kids. My one-year-old loved it but so did my fourth and fifth graders. There are several sections of the museum and many learning through play opportunities.

*Clark Planetarium

  • Address: 110 S 400 W, Salt Lake City, UT, 84101
  • Admission and Parking Information
  • This one is a bit over the head of my one-year-old but he does like to wander around and look at the different exhibits.

Memory Grove Park

  • Address: 300 North Canyon Road, Salt Lake City, UT 84103
  • No admission this is a city owned park.
  • This park is kind of famous for being ideal for photography. It has a beautiful stream, greenery, pillars, scenic buildings, etc.
  • My one-year-old mostly likes to walk through it and look at the water. But it is a great scenic area for a walk and/or a picnic.

Utah State Capitol

  • Address: 350 North State Street, 120 State Capitol, Salt Lake City, UT 84114
  • This is a public building so there are no admissions, however, if you want to see everything, you may want to book a tour.
  • Parking Information
  • I have not taken my one-year-old here yet but have visited many times with my family and students. Depending on the age of your kids, you may want to prep them with a virtual tour or an activity sheet to help them get more out of being there.
  • For older kids (and adults) I highly recommend visiting while the legislature is in session.

*The Leonardo

  • Address: 209 East 500 South, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
  • Admissions and Parking Information
  • I personally found the website for the Leo super confusing but it has been one of my favorite places to visit. It is perfect for adults and kids older than two or three. I did not take my one-year-old when we went there and I thought that that was a good call.
  • Just know that the many of the exhibits change regularly, most of the museum is very interactive, and there are often extra things going on (I participated in a pie eating contest when I was there). So, check out the calendar on their website so you can pick a day that you want to go.

Liberty Park

  • Address: 600 E 900 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84105
  • No admission to the park itself, however, there are things in the park that require money if you want to participate (Tracy Aviary, paddleboat rentals, concessions, and rides).
  • There is a lot to do and see in this 100-acre park. Some of our favorites are Tracy Aviary (see below), the playgrounds, the splash pad, the lake, and the other water features.

*Tracy Aviary

  • Address: 5 East 1300 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84105
  • Admission Information
  • Free parking directly outside of the aviary.
  • My son loves this place but he is a little bit obsessed with birds. There is a fun bird show (about 30 minutes), several indoor exhibits, and many outdoor areas as well, there is also a playground and a river. This is definitely worth going to if you have small bird lovers.
  • Wednesdays are usually free in the winter months but check before you go.

*Red Butte Gardens

  • Address: 300 Wakara Way, Salt Lake City, UT 84108
  • Admission Information
  • Free Parking right outside the entrance
  • We love just walking through the gardens, they are spacious, gorgeous, and full of water features, plants, flowers, and animals (specifically fish, squirrels, chipmunks, and birds, though I once saw a bobcat).
  • There are many paved trails but there are also areas that look more like real mountain trails. You can also walk back into the canyon or play in the water features in the children’s garden.
  • Information on Summer Concerts at Red Butte

*Natural History Museum of Utah

  • Address: 301 Wakara Way (literally right next to Red Butte Gardens), Salt Lake City, UT 84108
  • Admission Information
  • Free Parking and Overflow Parking
  • Content/exhibit wise this museum is great for older kids and adults. However, my baby loved walking through it and seeing the fake animals, dinosaur bones, and other exhibits. He also enjoyed digging for bones, playing in the erosion tank, and exploring the children’s room on the bottom floor.
  • As a side note, there is access to the Bonneville Shoreline trail right outside of the museum. If the weather is good and you are prepared it can provide a nice walk or hike. The Living¬†Room¬†trail is quite popular.

*This is the Place Heritage Park

  • Address: 2601 E Sunnyside Ave, Salt Lake City, UT 84108
  • Admission Information
  • Free parking
  • This place offers many activities and a lot of historical experiences including a treasure house, ¬†pony rides, train rides, hiking, a Native American village, and more. My one year old liked walking the streets and seeing the animals.

*Hogle Zoo

  • Address: 2600 Sunnyside Avenue (across the street from Heritage Park), Salt Lake City, UT 84108
  • Admission Information
  • I am not personally a fan of zoos but my little boy loves them. This zoo is not super huge but it is big enough to explore for several hours depending on how much time you spend on each animal.
  • During the winter it usually offers free days if you are willing to bundle your little guys up and brave the cold. In the past, they have been the last Wednesdays of November, December, January, and February but you will want to look that up before you go.

Seven Peaks

  • Address: 1200 W 1700 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84104
  • Admissions Information¬†but if you are going to go more than once then just jump through the hoops and get a Pass of all Passes. These can often be purchased for even less if you go through third party websites like Groupon or CityDeals¬†and use current coupon codes which are easy to google (valpak often works on CityDeals).
  • A parking pass costs 10-20 dollars depending on where you purchase it. However, there is a public park across the street (no crosswalk). Do with that information what you will.
  • This park is a bit of a mess. As an adult, I looked at it and thought that it was in pretty sad shape. As a kid, I didn’t notice any of the less desirable qualities and thought it was awesome. My one-year-old loves playing in the kiddy area and the wave pool and the lazy river. He thinks it is a great time and with the Pass of all Passes we can just go for an hour or two and not feel bad, I think it is cheaper than most rec centers.
  • They do have a no food policy and charge for tube rentals. My advice would be to go with very low standards and know that your kids will probably have a great time.


Whew, that’s my list. It is by no means a comprehensive list but it does comprise all of the kid-friendly destinations in Salt Lake City that I can personally vouch for.

*The Connect Pass includes several other destinations not in Salt Lake City but in Salt Lake County. The ones on my list are all within the city itself.

My question for you is, what family friendly activities would you add to my Salt Lake City list?

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