If Your Kid Loves Dump Trucks & Garbage Trucks, They’ll Love These

Lowell, my 5 year old, has been obsessed with wheels since he could sit up. He was pushing trucks before he could crawl.

OMG it’s now been 45 minutes since I started writing this post because I just fell down a rabbit hole looking at widdle LoLo pictures! 

He quickly gravitated to construction and digging and building and trash-hauling toys, and has been playing with them for a solid 4 years and still going. I feel I’m an expert at having a construction and garbage truck obsessed kiddo now, so I’ve got some opinions to share with those of you with a child in your life into these things. They’re going to love all of this!

Links may be affiliate links. Please see our disclosure page for more details.


The metal Tonka dump truck will last forever and live up to anything they can throw in it or at it. We have two- the Tonka Classic Steel Mighty Dump Truck is a bit smaller (though still pretty big), but kept Lowell occupied for years. He actually picked it out for his first birthday!

We only recently added the Tonka Toughest Mighty Dump Truck when his grandpa found an old one in a barn, cleaned it up and gave it to him. It’s seen some use and it’s STILL going strong. I’d spend the money on a new one if this one disappeared.

We’ve had some luck with some of the other Tonka Classic Steel toys, but many of them are mostly plastic, and with such high price points, it’s disappointing when those plastic pieces break.

But plastic toys have their place, and we have bought THIS SET of Caterpillar Mini Machines probably 5 times in 3 years. Not because they break easily (they are pretty tough), but because he hoards them. He requests these often when he’s allowed to pick a reward from the toy aisle. They are his water toys and dirt toys. He packs them  in his backpack for overnights at NaNa’s,  and I used to have to stop him from sneaking them to Mother’s Day Out.  You can buy them on Amazon for less than $13, but we also regularly picked them up at Target for closer to $10.


We are all SO EXCITED for TOMORROW’S  (August 14th, 2018) launch of season 3 of The Stinky & Dirty Show on Amazon Prime Video! It’s a show about a garbage truck (Stinky) and a backhoe (Dirty) and their adventures that come from asking “What if?” We came for the adorable animation and stayed for the awesome message about success and growth from failure.

Fun fact: Jessica Lahey, author of The Gift Of Failure: How The Best Parents Learn To Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed (it’s SO good, read this if you haven’t yet), consults for the show.

I strongly feel that giving our kids permission to fail and even celebrating their failures is so important, so I love that this show is not just Lowell’s favorite, but one that even the big kids will watch.

We now call all these construction and digging and trash-hauling things MIGHTY MACHINES because of the show that used to be on Netflix. (It looks like it’s not on there anymore, which is such a shame! It was our best babysitter for almost a year.) The concept of the show is they follow around these mighty machines doing what they normally do- picking up trash, digging ditches, planting fields, etc. And all of the machines have voices. The narration is pretty cheesy sometimes, but it’s cute and definitely educational.

If you’d still like to watch full episodes online, you can find some on YouTube. I recommend the YouTube Kids interface for safe(er) YouTube watching for kids, but I also think YouTube Kids needs adult supervision.

You can see more of Lowell’s construction-themed 4th birthday party, complete with lots of simple and quick DIYs here.

We wound up buying a Mighty Machines DVD for Lowell’s birthday last year, and it’s one of his favorite shows to zone out to when he needs some chill-out time.


When we moved into our RV for our year-long American road trip, we had to scale way back on books, but we were able to pack all of our very favorites. Every one of these made the cut.

Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site

And Where Do Diggers Sleep At Night are two popular bedtime books in our family.

If you have toddlers, I highly recommend getting the board book version of each so they can “help” turn the pages.

We have been Anna Dewdney fans since our oldest was a baby when we fell in love with her Llama Llama book series. Sadly, Dewdney passed away in 2016 from brain cancer, but her book Little Excavator was already in production and was released in 2017.

Just like her Llama Llama books, it’s a fun and catchy book to read, and the message is all about how being small doesn’t have to mean you can’t do special things.

This isn’t a comprehensive list of all the machine toys and books and shows Lowell has loved and still plays with, but these are some solid favorites. I hope I get to come back and add one more thing to this list soon- DIGGERLAND! We have plans to hit it up in 2-3 months when we make our way over to New Jersey.

Have you been to Diggerland? Any tips? Also, chime in with what YOUR machine-loving kiddo loves! I’m always on the lookout for new bribes  rewards.

50 Things to Do Before You Deliver: The First Time Moms Pregnancy Guide
Available now: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

  • 99


  1. My oldest (3) also LOVES trucks and such. There’s a YouTube channel (and corresponding music CDs available for purchase) called TwentyTrucks that has songs and videos about all kinds of trucks. Not gonna lie, they’re pretty catchy!

  2. We went to Diggerland this spring and my almost four year old asks to go back ALL THE TIME. No outside food in the park, but you can pack a picnic and leave it in the car and go in and out of the park to eat. My son LOVED the little race cars you can drive on your own – those were his definite favorite. I loved that he could do/ride 95% even being a petite 3. He lap rode on all the machines, but your big kids can definitely ride on their own to drive a steam roller and more. It was an incredible place and I would highly recommend it to anyone! If we lived closer, we would be there a lot.
    Don’t know when you are going, but we got tickets on Black Friday that could be used for a whole year at a big discount per ticket.

  3. That’s so good to hear! When Diggerland first opened, Lowell was much younger and a lot of people told us to wait to visit so he could do more stuff. So I was a little worried now Wallace won’t be able to experience much, but it seems like there will be plenty for him to do. Can’t wait!

  4. My son loves the book Diggersaurs, which turns heavy machinery into dinosaurs.

    He also loves his John Deere sand-appropriate tractor and dump truck (it says it’s ok for sand in the description).

    When he was littler the Playmobil 123 trucks were the only ones that he didn’t break. He has the garbage/recycling truck, the tractor, the bulldozer/front loader, the dump truck, and the fire engine. They are indestructible. The pieces that move do come off if the truck is thrown but that is by design so it doesn’t break permanently.

    The CAT excavator and dump truck, the bigger ones with no electronics, are also a favorite.

    As for videos, he loves the Blippi videos where Blippi rides on heavy machinery. There are separate ones for excavators, bulldozers (with their own original songs), and others I can’t even remember because there are so many Blippi videos. Blippi also does one at the ranch that my 2yo son recounted to me in great detail, telling me about the Skidgin truck that fights wildfires!

  5. I got a big box of trucks from a lady who was tossing her sand box a few years ago. They’re well loved and of course none of the electronics work. Some are even missing wheels. I had my hubby drill some holes in the bottom of a laundry basket and they became our “outside trucks.” We have lots of boys in our neighborhood and this is the #1 thing they request when we’re outside. So easy! (And pretty cute, too!)

Leave A Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.