Train Crafts and Learning Activities
As a boy mom of three under the age of five, there are days when my life revolves around trains. Even my husband is obsessed with trains. In fact, when you ask him what his dream house would have, he would tell you an entire room for his model trains. During the holidays, he looks forward to putting up his model train that goes around the Christmas tree, and the boys do, too. Our household train obsession is so deep that my youngest son's first word was “choo choo.”
This summer, I have embraced the train craze with fun crafts and learning activities. Here are a few ways you can get on board with the train obsession in your house.
Toliet Paper Roll Train
Help your child create their own choo choo train using empty toilet paper rolls, clothespins, paper clips, paint, construction paper, and cotton balls. This is a great way to teach your child about mixing paint colors and the concept of first and last. It also helps them develop fine motor skills (like cutting and pasting) as well as visual-spatial skills. For the detailed directions on how to make these, read Homeschool Creations‘ full blog post.
I'm a sucker for print crafts. I love the idea of forever capturing just how small your child's hand, foot, or finger is with a simple print. My boys had so much fun making their own trains using their fingerprints. Whenever I do a print craft, I find it's best to show my boys the final product before we get to work. That way they won't get annoyed when I want them to just do their print. Then, once the print is done, I let them paint whatever they want on another piece of paper. For more details on this project, be sure to read Jamie's full blog post.
This summer, I have been teaching my 5-year-old letter recognition to prepare him for kindergarten. I came up with this simple yet fun train letter-matching activity that hangs in our playroom. Now he loves to race the clock to match up the letters to the wheels. I used cardstock paper for the wheels and train cars and stuck the wheels onto the cars with velcro.
Train Story Telling
Encourage your child's imagination and story telling by building a train track layout based on a book, such as The Little Engine that Could. Once you have made the track, teach your child about the elements of a story (characters, beginning, middle, end, setting) by making up a story.
Most play train cars have numbers on them. Teach your child about numbers by helping him or her line up the cars in numerical order. You can also teach your child about simple addition and subtraction using the train cars.
Search for train tracks in your town. Better yet, track the train schedule and help your child count the train cars when they pass by. Visit local train museums so your child can explore a train up close.
My boys are always searching for new train books when we go to the library. Here are their recent favorite bedtime train books.
1. The Goodnight Train by June Sobel and Laura Huliska-Beith
2. The Big Book of Trains by DK Publishing
3. Curious George Takes a Train by H.A. Rey
4. Trains Go by Steve Light
5. The Little Engine that Could by Watty Piper
If your child is train obsessed, how do you foster their love of locomotives?Read More