The Mom’s Guide to Diggers, Dozers, and Rollers


I’m hoping other moms will be able to relate to an internal struggle I’ve been having as I attempt to parent my almost-three-year-old son with honesty and integrity.

I don’t know the proper names of construction trucks.

When my son first began noticing construction sites and pointing to trucks as we passed them on the road, it wasn’t a big deal. He couldn’t really talk, so a simple, “Yes, I see that truck!” from me was sufficient.

Time passed and his obsession with construction equipment grew. I compensated by calling every truck a backhoe loader. I figured the double name made it twice as likely that I’d be right. For a while, he bought it. I am his mother, after all, and he trusts what I say.

Now that he’s even more curious than he is verbal, I can tell that he knows I’m a Construction School Drop-out. So, I recently set out to learn the names of a few construction trucks. I took some pictures at various construction sites around Charleston and have recorded my research here in hopes of helping another mama. Maybe you?

This is a backhoe loader an EXCAVATOR:


Excavators, from what I understand, dig big holes. They are also sometimes called “diggers” because life is already complicated enough to worry with vague names that are difficult to spell.

This is a backhoe loader BULLDOZER:


My source tells me that a bulldozer pushes dirt. (My source is my husband, so if that’s not true, blame him.) A bulldozer is sometimes called a dozer. I am also sometimes called a dozer, especially when I’m listening to my husband talk about construction trucks.

This is a backhoe loader ROAD ROLLER:


I thought this was called a steam roller, but apparently that is not correct. My source explained why, but I wasn’t listening. I was busy staring at this picture of my precious son while praying that road rollers have really sturdy parking brakes.

This, my friends. THIS IS A BACKHOE LOADER!

backhoe loader

I’m still not clear on which end is the “backhoe” and which is the “loader.” I think that material is covered in Postgraduate Construction School.

Despite my exhaustive research, I fear I’m still not much of a construction truck expert. I did find, however, that there is a truck that gets me as excited as a toddler in a mud pit:


Am I right, ladies?


  1. Perfect! When Tyler (19) was coming up, we had a handy construction equipment school course called “Bob the Builder”. I say, “we” but I meant “he” …. I didn’t watch that stuff. But I did know digger and rolly. Hope your lesson educated all moms who don’t have access to Bob.

  2. Hahaha!! I was struggling for a bit but then bought the “My Big Truck Book”and that helped. Also there’s truck videos on YouTube under the name Twenty Trucks. They have really cheesy songs that play with each truck but they explain what each truck does in the song. I’m an expert now and so is my son.

  3. Lol thank God for Bob the Builder.. We used to watch him with my first kid and now again with the 2nd one ?
    Good luck to all moms ❤️

  4. I’m a mom who owns a construction company and I understand the confusion, even in the ‘industry’ there are different names for different pieces of equipment! But I love seeing how excited little kids get over watching the equipment moving around! On the backhoe loader (in case you were wondering) the thin arm is the backhoe and the wider bucket (on the right in the photo) is called a loader… you see similar buckets on smaller pieces like a Skid Loader. The other fun piece is that you can further differentiate by describing the wheels, so the first picture is a Track Excavator (it has tracks instead of wheels) and the Backhoe Loader is a Wheeled Backhoe Loader. Just FYI!

  5. My 2 year old has been obsessed with all things truck/tractor/construction related. There is a show for kids on Netflix called “Mighty Machines” that he loves to watch. It explains each of these and more, showing what they do. Anytime I don’t know what something is, I call it a “mighty machine” to be safe. 😉

  6. Have you seen the YouTube video series 20 trucks? Music video odes to trucks. You’ll be spitting telescopic booms in no time.

  7. I am a mom of 2 boys,with my youngest being 5. My oldest loved construction toys,but my youngest has since he was 2,taken to heart to know EVERYTHING there is to know about anything related to construction. He requests that I drive certain routes around our suburb just so he can “check” on the different construction sites. He knows so much information about each truck and what they are used for and why you would want to use it versus a different one.And thanks to his grandpa ,who is in construction and owns equipment, when he was 3 he got to drive his grandpa’s excavator, backhoe, bulldozer,and other trucks.
    His favorite show to watch is mighty machines

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