Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Train Themed Preschool Activity: Alphabet Trains

This is another fun activity that we have been doing as a part of our train unit study. I saw an idea for an Alphabet Train game a little while ago and thought it would be fun for Aaron. I modified the activity a little because just matching letters is not challenging for Aaron. Instead I just had him line up all of the letters in alphabetical order for the cars and then put an engine at the end to pull the alphabet train. In a preschool workbook that I got for a dime at a thrift store, I found premade alphabet flashcards that I cut apart and used a Thomas leftover from the boys birthday party for the engine, but you could just as easily draw your own on flashcards on small pieces of paper.

Alphabetical Train

  • Alphabet flashcards
  • Picture of a train engine
  1. Give the child the alphabet flashcards and have them arrange them in the correct order.
  2. Once they get all of the cards in the right order, reward them by letting them put the engine at the end to pull the train.
Help your child as needed. The first time we tried this Aaron (3 years old) got stuck a couple of times, so I would just start singing the ABC's up to the letter he had already placed, and he was always able to continue on his own from there. Aaron just did the alphabet train activity again today, while his brother was sleeping, and was able to do the whole thing by himself without any help. His train overlapped, curved around, and some of the letters were upside down, but he did correctly alphabetize them all on his own. A child who was just starting to learn the alphabet would obviously need quite a bit more help. Andrew (20 months) could find a couple of the letters he knew and hand them to Aaron but wasn't able to participate much beyond that.

Alphabet Train Writing Practice

  • Alphabet train handwriting worksheets printed or drawn

I also liked the alphabet train writing practice worksheets I found and added these to the boys reusable train themed clearbook. Aaron can practice tracing over the letters again and again, and Andrew can too, without needing to print new pages for them each day.

Reading and comprehension are definitely some areas that Aaron excels in and writing and fine motor skills are much more work for him to do well. He is just getting good at trying to draw or write carefully and intentionally, whereas his little brother is already doing that and holding his pencil correctly (without any instruction). Aaron will probably need more time and practice at writing, and Andrew is taking more time and needing more practice to learn to read.

Truly, kids learn so very differently, and it is neat to see how our boys learn in different ways. I think that providing multiple ways to learn the same concepts is very helpful to all children, and it can show you how each individual child learns best.

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