Traffic Light Crafts for Preschoolers

Crafts based around traffic lights can teach the rules of the road.
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Green means go and red means stop! If you've heard this exclamation from your preschooler, it might be entertaining to do a few traffic light crafts with him. Though you probably think driving is a chore, most preschoolers are intrigued by the idea of getting a car to go, as well as getting it to stop at a red light. As an added bonus, traffic light crafts can also hone his color recognition and shape skills too.

1 Paper Crafts

Give your preschooler black, red, yellow and green construction paper. Have her cut a black rectangle to be the light, and one red, yellow and green circle. Encourage her to put the colors in the right order and then glue them to the rectangle. Print out coloring pages of traffic lights as another way to reinforce the order of colors. Do a little preparation for some more elaborate paper crafts. Cut three circles from a piece of card stock. Let your preschooler tape red, yellow and green plastic wrap, cellophane or tissue paper to the back to fill in each of the holes. Give your little artist a shoe box, colored paper, scissors and glue, and let her make a 3-D traffic light to hang in her bedroom.

2 Clay Crafts

Colored clay is highly entertaining for preschoolers and it also helps develop fine motor skills. Hand your preschooler a lump of red, yellow and green clay and ask him to make a traffic light with them. Show him how to attach the clay to a wooden craft stick and then push the stick into another lump of clay to make it stand up straight. Let your little sculptor have a piece of clay to form into a rectangle. Provide him with milk jug or juice bottle lids in red, yellow and green. Show him how to push the lids into the clay to make a traffic light.

3 Paint Crafts

Set out paper plates with red, yellow and green paint on them. Use washable paints to cut down on the mess and make clean up far easier. Give your preschooler a paintbrush and a piece of paper. Ask her to paint a traffic light. Incorporate fine motor skills by letting your child make a stop light using apple or potato halves instead of a paintbrush. Find an old box and have your child turn it into a traffic light using his paints. Reinforce that red means stop and green means go. Technically, you should teach your child that yellow means to slow down, even though drivers often speed up when they encounter a yellow light. They're not obeying the traffic light rules, but driving as the other drivers in their state drive.

4 Edible Crafts

Make snack time more entertaining by turning your little one's food into a traffic light. Tint cream cheese red, yellow and green. Spread the cream cheese onto a graham cracker to resemble a traffic light. Make traffic light pizza. Spread a hot dog bun with pizza sauce. Use a slice of pepperoni for the red light, a piece of yellow cheese for the middle light and green bell peppers for the green light. For a special treat, frost cupcakes with white frosting. Then let your preschooler decorate them with red, yellow and green candies to make traffic light cupcakes.

Sara Ipatenco has taught writing, health and nutrition. She started writing in 2007 and has been published in Teaching Tolerance magazine. Ipatenco holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in education, both from the University of Denver.