10 Essential Trucks Every Mom of Little Boys Must Know

Toy trucks in a sandbox

My son’s love of trucks began around his first birthday. We lived in a neighborhood that was undergoing a lot of construction and, oh man, did he love to watch those trucks. Of course, never having been a little boy myself, I had no idea what any of these machines were called, or even what some of them did. But I could see it in his eyes, my son had to know.

Thus began my crash course in heavy machinery (identifying it, not operating it). I began by asking a friendly construction worker to identify the trucks at his site and moved on to books, YouTube videos, and Wikipedia searches. I wouldn’t call myself a truck expert, exactly, but I know a heck of a lot more than I used to.

If your little one is just beginning to frantically point at strange, behemoth yellow trucks and look inquiringly into your clueless face, I hereby present, for your edification, 10 trucks every mom of boys must be able to identify.

1. Dump Truck

Okay, I’m assuming you know what a dump truck is. But, did you know that they come in lots of different shapes and sizes? Including one so large it can’t even drive on regular roads and has to be shipped, in pieces, to the construction site! On all dump trucks, the part that lifts up is called the bed, and most are operated by hydraulic pistons which push one end up so the gravel, or dirt, or whatever, slides off. If you want to know the names of all the different kinds of dump trucks, click here.

2. Excavator

This truck is super common but I had no idea what it was called when I first encountered it. It’s the one with the long arm that has a scooper thing at the end. Its job is to dig holes, or scoop things up into dumpsters. There are lots of other trucks that look like excavators but aren’t, particularly backhoes (see below). So, before you tell your kid that something is an excavator, make sure it doesn’t have any other attachments on it, just the arm and the scooper thing (which is called a shovel). Excavators usually have tracked wheels (you know, the kind that look like the wheels of a tank, instead of the wheels of a car) that help them travel over rough ground and make it so they don’t fall into holes.