This activity is suitable for students aged 5-7, you can download a free, printable PDF version here.

Print out images of different types of transport from the collection such as:

Locomotion I

SS Great Britain


Montgolfier hot air balloon

HM Bark Endeavour

Forth and Clyde steamboat

Find images of modern-day equivalents to print out for each one, such as a high-speed inter-city train, an ocean liner, a mountain bike, a passenger aircraft. A space shuttle would make a good match for Endeavour which made dangerous voyages to explore parts of the world unknown to people in Britain, just as astronauts make dangerous voyages to explore space today – there is even a Space Shuttle named Endeavour after Captain Cook’s famous ship.

Make a pairs game with the images. The first child turns over two cards to see whether they are a pair (an old mode of transport and its modern day equivalent). If they are, they keep the cards. If not, they put them back exactly where they found them and it’s the next child’s go. Keep playing in turn until all the pairs are found.

Every time a pair is found talk about why it’s a pair – it goes on rails, it has two wheels. And why it’s similar/different. At the end of the game, make a list together of similarities and differences between transport in the past and transport today.

Try replacing the modern-day images with the name of the mode of transport: steam train, bicycle, air balloon. Or its actual name: Locomotion I, SS Great Britain. Children match the picture to the word.

Extend this further by getting children to match all the images – historical and modern-day – to words or names.