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.
- 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”.
- 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 the 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- My daughter had a ball putting the snow into the little train house, through the windows. Hello, fine motor and hand eye coordination practice!
- We made a blizzard.
- We pretended to be the wind and blowed the snow.
- And more sensory 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 to Read with Sensory Play
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 skeptical of it just because it is a set and I guess I judged a book by its 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!