Winter Train Table Sensory Play

Just because you haven’t gotten any snow doesn’t mean your kids can’t play with it! We are lucky enough to have a train table that my dad made ( he’s been hacking Ikea since before it was hip) and this week we took some time to play with pretend snow . This is a wonderful multi- age sensory activity and worked great for my 5 year old son and 18 month old daughter, they each explored and played learning different things but having the same amount of fun.

 

  1. Gather your materials. We used our train table , extra trains and some cotton balls. If you don’t have a train table grab a bath mat, large shallow bin or just a coffee table and set up some trains or trucks then add in the “snow”.
  2. Start by being a little goofy and pretending to be clouds that are snowing . Give the kids the cotton balls and let them decide where the snow goes. I talked to my son about weather, asked him to look outside and tell me if he thought it would snow today in our yard. For my daughter we focused on the color white and the word “soft” feeling the soft cotton balls in our hands and on our faces.
  3. Play.  This is where some kids and many parents ( and even teachers) clam up. Now what? Here are some things we did that were fun.
  4. My son pretended to be delivering snow from one end of the train table to the other and we counted the snow as we loaded up the train, and then the pile when we dropped it off. 
  5. My daughter had a ball putting the snow into the little train house , through the windows. Hello, fine motor and hand eye coordination practice!
  6. We made a blizzard.
  7. We pretended to be the wind and blowed the snow.
  8. And more play.  What I loved so much about this was that it made the train table feel new again and we played with it and the snow on and off for days.

Books About Trains

Freight Train by Donald Crewes. Donald Crews’ Freight Train is a classic book.  It is rather simplistic in nature, but it is good for the younger train fans as it talks about the different kinds of freight cars and teaches about colors. My son loved this book at 2 and will still grab it at the library and read it when we are there three years later.

Tracks by David Galef and Tedd Arnold is a hilarious book about a man named Arnold who is in charge of directing the crew who lays down the train tracks.  Arnold’s glasses break, and his vision becomes a bit skewed.  What will the mayor think of this wacky track?  You’ve got to read it and find out!

Terrific Trains by Tony Mitton is another great book. My parents bought my son this whole set and at first I was sceptical of it just because it is a set and I guess I judged a book my it’s cover because I love all the books in the set. They are informative, fun, have great rhyming text and my son will sit for them and often requests them at bedtime too!

Letter of the Week – Guest Post !

Train & Tracks t !

T for trains

I am blessed to have wonderful creative readers and this post comes from Stephanie at The Helping Mommy. I loved the simplicity of this craft , but the learning potential is big. Trains and tracks are both wonderful t words that even the youngest letter of the week artist can relate to.

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Train tables, train rugs, tracks on the floor….most kids will play trains anywhere that there is a hard surface.  With this project, you can teach about lowercase t while helping your kiddo make a new and interesting surface to run his or her trains on.

  1. We cut the “t” shape out of brown construction paper.
  2. Pasted it onto regular white copy paper.
  3. We drew racks with crayons and extended the tracks out to the edge of the page.
  4. My son plastered train stickers on the tracks. ( remember peeling those stickers are an all important fine motor skill too!)

We wanted to preserve the “t” look as much as possible for this project, but feel free to add grass, trees, cows or any other embellishments that you can think of.  Somehow we were completely out of Thomas the Tank stickers, otherwise those would have been on there too.

Train Books

Thomas The Tank

Thomas and the Shooting Star by W.Audry
My son is a BIG Thomas the Tank Engine fan, though I’ll have to admit that not all of the books pass muster in my opinion.  Thomas and the Shooting Star is one of the cuter Thomas books that talks about how Thomas struggles to fall asleep.  Gordon tells Thomas the tale about how shooting stars go around helping engines fall asleep.  Follow Thomas on this nighttime adventure as he follows the shooting star and chases sleep.

Frieght Train

Freight Train Big Book by Donald Crewes
Donald Crews’ Freight Train is a classic book.  It is rather simplistic in nature, but it is good for the younger train fans as it talks about the different kinds of freight cars and teaches about colors.

chugga-chugga-choo-choo

Chugga Chugga Choo Chooby Kevin Lewis
Chugga-Chugga Choo-Choo is a sweet book that takes a train-trip through a little boy’s room.  This book reminds me of my boy because he used to literally play with trains ALL day long.  The pictures in this book are jut adorable, too!

Tracks

Tracks
Tracks by David Galef and Tedd Arnold is a hilarious book about a man named Arnold who is in charge of directing the crew who lays down the train tracks.  Arnold’s glasses break, and his vision becomes a bit skewed.  What will the mayor think of this wacky track?  You’ve got to read it and find out!

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Stephanie Dakin is a mommy to a 1-year-old and a 4-year-old.  She enjoy helping other parents by sharing some of the insight that she’s gained ‘deep in the trenches’ of parenting.   You can find  her at The Helping Mommy . She is currently participating in a blog internship and also writing at Crafts for Kidlets.

Chuga Chuga Choo Choo !

Cut and Paste
Train

This craft does have a little prep, but don’t get turned off by the cutting, older kids can do it all themselves, and younger ones won’t care if your lines aren’t perfectly straight! My son loves trains and when I asked him what he wanted to do for art today he pointed at a train ornament on our tree and this is what we came up with !

  1. Gather your materials. You will need various colors of construction paper I used scrap paper, one piece of white paper, glue, scissors, a round paper punch if you have one and markers or crayons.
  2. Have your child color the background , if they are old enough you can have them draw tracks and scenery, if they are younger just let them at it. My son drew a “ringtone” and “onion” <------ Reindeer and a snowman.
  3. While they do that here is the cutting that needs to get done, if your child isn’t the type to color for a long time do this before settling your wee one down in their chair.My son drew two pictures while I cut.
  4. Cut out 8 wheels. I cheated and used my paper punch.
  5. Next for the engine you’ll need 2 skinny rectangles, one with an angled end ( that’s the top of the engine, the other is the base), and 2 fat shorter rectangles, 1 with an angled end and the other with 2 U shape windows.
  6. For the cargo car you will need one rectangle and a few various shapes to be the cargo.
  7. When your artist is done with the scenery, add the glue for the wheels.
  8. Put the wheels on.
  9. Now add the glue for the base of the engine
  10. Add the piece
  11. Add the glue for the front and cab of the engine and add the pieces on.
  12. Now the glue for the engine roof
  13. Add that piece on.
  14. Add the glue for the cargo car and it’s cargo and add those pieces.
  15. Let dry !

Books!

“Tip Tip Dig Dig “ by Emma Garcia was an instant classic in our house. My son loves vehicles and this book was the perfect length with the right amount of text and awesome almost Eric Carle like illustrations. Usually books about vehicles just name the trucks and diggers but this book shows children not only what they do but how they can work together to make something. Great book for the digger and backhoe obsessed!


“Terrific Trains” by Tony Mitton is another great book. My parents bought my son this whole set and at first I was sceptical of it just because it is a set and I guess I judged a book my it’s cover because I love all the books in the set. They are informative, fun, have great rhyming text and my son will sit for them and often requests them at bedtime too!

Painting With Toy Vehicles

painting with toy cars 


This is one of my favorite super simple art activities. Kids love using their cars, trucks and trains to leave tracks on the paper, a huge hit with boys and girls alike! Painting with toy vehicles also helps kids develop creative thinking since we are using the toys for something other than their intended purpose.

  1. Gather your materials. For this art you will need at least one car per child, although I like using a few different ones so there is some variety on the paper. Some paint or an ink pad, paper and a plate or tray for the paint.
  2. Pour enough paint in the plate or tray so that the wheels get sufficiently covered. I put in a little at a time so that there are no globs, just a thin layer to make tracks.
  3. Roll your vehicles in the paint and transfer it to the paper!
  4. Add another color of paint to the plate switch up the vehicle and keep going!

* For older children you can even make a designated road, and then add to the activity by making some houses and buildings to glue on it!

Song!The Wheels on the Bus

The wheels on the bus go round and round,
round and round,
round and round,
The wheels on the bus go round and round,
all through the town!

The driver on the bus goes move on back,
move on back,
move on back,
The driver on the bus goes move on back,
all through the town!

The money on the bus goes clink clink clink,
clink clink clink,
clink clink clink,
The money on the bus goes clink clink clink,
all through the town!

The people on the bus go up and down,
up and down,
up and down,
The people on the bus go up and down,
all through the town!

The babies on the bus go waa waa waa,
waa waa waa,
waa waa waa,
The babies on the bus go waa waa waa
all through the town!

The wipers on the bus go swish swish swish,
swish swish swish,
swish swish swish,
The wipers on the bus go swish swish swish ,
all through the town!

Books!

John Deere: Loader (John Deere (DK Hardcover)) by John Deere is a fun toy/ book for little ones. The pages Velcro together to use it as a toy with real wheels but when you open it they have real life pictures of heavy building equipment and if your child is like my son , this book will be well read!

Tracks: All Aboard for the Wackiest Train Ride Ever! by David Galef is a funny book about what happens when the man designing the railway tracks breaks his glasses and can’t see properly. Very funny book for your little train enthusiast!

Construction Countdown by K.C Olsonis a counting book that uses backhoes, dump trucks and cement mixers among other things to count. Before I even closed the book my son was signing for more. I read it 4 times since getting it out of the library today. A huge hit here!

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