Showing posts with label trains. Show all posts
Showing posts with label trains. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Train Themed Preschool Craft: Shape Train

Similar to our shape dinosaurs, we made shape trains for our train unit last month. I used a Walmart ad instead of construction paper, to save paper. This time I also let Aaron cut out some of his own shapes free form with preschool scissors. He did surprisingly well, and it was additional fine motor skill practice.

Train Themed Preschool (or Tot School) Craft: Shape Train

  • Paper or coloring sheets 
  • Shapes cut out of construction paper (or already colored on paper or ads)
  • Glue sticks or glue (homemade glue works great!)
  • Preschool scissors for an older child to cut (optional)
You can choose how much freedom or direction your child has with this activity. A coloring page and shapes to match is the most directed way; whereas blank paper and a vast choice of shapes (or even letting them cut their own) is much more opened ended. Both have benefits. Whatever method of doing this activity, the goal is to help the child recognize the shapes and colors they see and how they fit together to form pictures.

You can do this shape craft with just about any theme. You can see more details of shape crafts and more ways to do them in this post about our Shape-a-saurus crafts.

    Tuesday, October 11, 2011

    Train Themed Preschool Craft: Train Whistle

    This is a simple train themed craft that can be made out of recycled household items. These train whistles sound more like kazoos, but the boys still like them a lot.

    Preschool (or Tot School) Craft: Train Whistle/Kazoo

    • cardboard tube (TP tube, paper towel tube, tube from plastic wrap, etc)
    • wax paper or celephane
    • rubber band
    • markers
    • hole punch
    1. Let the kids color the outside of the cardboard tube to decorate them.
    2. Punch a hole near the top of the tube.
    3. Put the wax paper or celephane over the top of the tube, and secure it in place with the rubber band.
    4. Make funny noises by blowing and humming in the hole!

      Sunday, October 9, 2011

      Train Themed Preschool Snacks

      Like I did for dinosaurs, I made some special snacks to go along with our train unit study. These are simple foods I was going to make anyway just cut and colored to look like trains. If you have train cookie cutters, these would be even easier.
      Train soda crackers
      Eating train crackers
      Eating a carrot train
      Train themed lunch: Train egg salad sandwiches and carrot trains
      Carrot trains are fun to eat

      Saturday, October 8, 2011

      Train Themed Preschool Craft: Dough Trains

      Here are a couple more train themed crafts. The boys love drawing pictures and coloring pictures of trains, but sometimes, it is fun to do something more 3D. These two sets of dough trains were a lot of fun to make.

      Train Themed Preschool Craft: Salt Dough Trains

      Let the child create whatever kind of train they can imagine. You can also show them how to make trains out of shapes stuck together. Or if you want more uniform trains, roll out the dough and cut it with train cookie cutters. Bake or let dry to harden the dough. Paint if desired.

      Train Themed Preschool Craft: Playdough Train

      • Playdough

      Aaron and Daddy made up this fun project on the spur of the moment. We don't usually open a bunch of colors of playdough at once, but daddy helped Aaron create the details for Thomas and carefully arrange them without smashing it all together. I think the train they made is super cute!

        Thursday, October 6, 2011

        Train Themed Preschool Craft: Train Buttons

        This is another fun train activity we did. A friend of ours gave us a couple of these create you own buttons. This makes a quick easy craft, and the buttons are reusable. I am thinking we might try to change out the button design to go with each month's unit.

        Train Themed Preschool (or Tot School) Craft: Train Buttons

        • Create your own button
        • Small train coloring pages (or plain paper to draw trains on)
        • crayons or markers
        • scissors (for a parent or older preschooler to use)
        1. Have the children draw or decorate their trains.
        2. Open up the button.
        3. Show the child how to trace around the circle and cut it out, or do this step for a younger child.
        4. Put the button back together, and you're done!

        My boys think the train buttons that they made themselves are really neat, but they do prefer to have the buttons on their backpacks instead of their shirts, so they can see them more easily.

          Wednesday, October 5, 2011

          Train Themed Preschool Activity: Island of Sodor Sensory Play

          We've had so much fun with our train unit that once again I didn't get to write about all the things we did during the month of our unit study. The boys play with trains a lot every day, but this was one way I changed things up a little for this unit.

          Train Themed Preschool Activity: Giant Island of Sodor Play Mat

          • Blue blanket
          • Some green felt or other green fabric
          • Train tracks
          • Trains
          I have constructed more elaborate play mats for each boy, but for this activity I wanted to keep things simple, fast, and reusable. So I just laid down a large blue fleece blanket we already had. After quickly consulting my Island of Sodor map, I put some green fabric I cut out on top.  I then helped them find their train tracks and trains to bring to the island. I helped them set up the tracks and start playing. I asked about the colors and numbers on the trains for a while, and then just let them make up adventures with their trains. Both boys played for a long time with this very simple activity.

          This activity is good for reviewing basic numbers and colors, as well as simply encouraging imaginative play.

          Sunday, October 2, 2011

          Train Themed Preschool Activity: Let's Ride a Train

          For our train unit, we did two fun activities where we pretended to ride trains. These were a big hit. Now the boys pretend to ride or drive trains on their own. Aaron even likes to make his own "tickets" out of small pieces of paper.

          Train Themed Preschool Activity: Chair Train

          For the first activity, I simply lined up three chairs near our big window. Right before we did this, I had the idea that the boys might like to have their own tickets and punch them. I quickly drew some 10 ride tickets and driver and conductor badges.

          I hung a couple of laundry clips so the boys could clip their tickets to the seat in front of them. We took turns being the driver, the conductor, and the passenger. Since there were only three of us, we just had one of each at a time.
          Conductor Aaron
          Driver Andrew

          The boys had lots of fun pretending to stop at different stations and choosing where to go next. Aaron also liked being the conductor and punching the tickets (with help) a lot.

          Train Themed Preschool Activity: Box Train

          Driving Thomas
          We did the train activity another way by using milk boxes with pictures of Thomas, Annie, and Claribel on them. The boys loved driving Thomas and riding in his two coaches. I sat this trip out, but they had a lot of fun and played with this train for a long time too.

          You could also sing train songs while doing these activities to add in some music appreciation.

          Sunday, September 25, 2011

          Train Themed Preschool Activity: Numbers or Ten Commandment Train

          We're having a lot of fun with our train themed preschool activities this month. Trains are a great tool to help teach young boys about sequencing things correctly. We also did fun alphabet train activities that used these same methods. You could apply this idea to other things you want them to learn in a sequential order as well.

          Ten Commandments or Numbers Train

          • Ten commandments train printed out and cut apart (or numbers written on flashcards and an picture of an engine)
          Have the child arrange the numbers in the correct order; offer help as needed. Once they get all of the numbers in the correct order, they can put the engine at the end to pull the train!

          Numbers Train Writing Practice

          I thought these cute worksheets were a nice addition to our train themed reusable preschool book. Aaron and Andrew can write on them over and over again.

            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.

              Saturday, September 17, 2011

              Train Themed Preschool Activity: Thomas the Tank Engine Game

              The boys have been having a great time with our train unit study. This past week we got out the Thomas Board Game that I made for Aaron's birthday. The boys had a great time playing with all of the engines together and driving them around the Island of Sodor. The free printable game cards also emphasize the positive morals taught by these cute stories. Right now, they mostly just play with all of the pieces, although Aaron also likes to read the cards, but they are still having lots of fun with it.

              Tuesday, September 13, 2011

              September Unit Study: Train Up a Child

              We've been having lots of fun adding unit studies into our days here, with America the Beautiful in July, D is for Dinosaur in August, and now Train Up a Child in September. We had so much fun with our dinosaurs it took me a while to find time to write about it all. If possible we've been having even more fun with trains the last couple of weeks.

              My boys love Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends, and we like that the stories promote good values. So I decided to do a whole month of train preschool activities, as well as focusing on positive morals to be learned from the engines and their stories.

              I made up a calendar with one train, color, and verse for each day. I used some of these pictures and some from other sites. We talk about these things each day at breakfast. I also like this ten commandment train, and the verse on the Engine is our memory verse for this month. When I put the train stuff up on the fridge, you would have thought that it was their birthday all over again. The boys were so excited on September 1st.

              I refilled the clearbook we used for dinosaurs with train themed preschool worksheets and activities so that the boys can use them again and again. I used some pages from this tot kit, this tot book, and this spelling train for our clearbook. The boys have been having lots of fun with these activities.

              Apparently we aren't the only ones who love trains as other people have lots of fun ideas for train themed activities. As we have time this month, we'll work in some of these extra fun things and maybe come up with some more of our own ideas.


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