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TRAINS

CREATIVE TRAIN
Set out building materials, such as small boxes, short cardboard tubes, margarine tubs, thread spools, egg cartons, yarn, glue, tape, and child-safe scissors. Let your children work together to create a train, using the materials any way they wish. Make tracks on the floor with masking tape for the finished train to travel on.
 
TRAIN PICTURES
Cut small train car and engine shapes out of colorful construction paper. Give each of your children a set of the shapes plus a long piece of paper to use as a background. Let the children decorate their shapes as desired. Then have them glue their shapes in a line on their background papers to make "train pictures."
 
LEARNING TRAIN

Paint five open shoeboxes any color you wish. Then hook them together with string to make a train for these games.
Mark each train car with a different color. Invite your children to place matching colored toys in the cars.
Number the train cars from 1 to 5. Let the children fill the cars with matching numbers of small objects.
Label the train cars with different geometric shapes. Have your children sort matching paper shapes into the appropriate cars.
 
ALL AROUND THE TOWN
Invite your children to help make a floor map that includes railroad tracks plus roads, buildings, and trees. Show them how to add railroad crossing signs where appropriate. Then let your children have fun driving toy trains and cars on the map.

 

QUICK TRAIN IDEAS
Sing "Down by the Station" and let your children act out the song.
Line up cardboard cartons on the floor for train play.
Make paper tickets to punch with a hole puncher when taking "train rides."
Read "The Little Engine That Could."
 
TRAIN MOVEMENT FUN
Outdoor Train: Use chalk to draw train tracks on a playground area. Let your children take turns being the Engine and leading the other "Train Cars" along the tracks from start to finish. Encourage train whistle sounds as they go!
Tunnel Time: On the floor, make a tunnel using large cardboard cartons fastened together end to end. Let your children crawl through it, pretending to be trains.

CHUG, CHUG, CHUG
Tune: "Jingle Bells"

Chug, chug, chug; chug, chug, chug,
Chugging down the track.
See our little choo-choo train
Chugging down and back.
We are cars all lined up,
Chugging just like so.
Hear our whistle toot-toot-toot
As down and back we go.
Elizabeth Scofield
Line up with your children and chug around the room as you sing.
 
LITTLE SNACK TRAINS
For each of your children, staple several small paper cups together in a line to make a "mini-train" (or use a line of egg cups cut from an egg carton). Add a yarn pull handle, if you wish. For "cargo," set out such snack foods as raisins, nuts, and tiny crackers. Then invite the children to load up their train cars with the cargo before eating.