Freight Train by Donald Crews
Gathering Activity: Train Play
Our little engineers had fun playing with our wooden train tracks and trains. I also had train themed books for them to look at together. Because sharing can be difficult at this age, I set up several small train sets, instead of one large one. This insured a happy play time with the trains and reduced the frustration of train crashes when two trains come from opposite directions on the same track. Or when one two year old wants to rebuild the tracks as another two year old is just about to reach the bridge! It worked beautifully. They moved from train set to train set. Sometimes 2 children chose to play at one together, sometimes they chose to play alone. But there were no disagreements. The gathering activity lasted a little longer than normal, because they were so focused on play and enjoying themselves. As is always our rule at Mommy and Me, we let the children set the pace of the morning.
Circle Time: Freight Train by Donald Crews
We read Freight Train by Donald Crews. This is a very simple book with very few words on a page. The story introduces each train car, one by one, introducing its color and the kind of train car it is, as the train moves slowly down the track. The book is a Caldecott Honor Winner.
After reading the story, we retold the story using flannel board pieces using these cute pieces I bought on etsy. You could also easily make your own. Each child was allowed to come and choose on of the train cars. When I called his color, he came forward to place the train car on the flannel board.
Of course we had to sing fun train-themed songs! I had a train whistle, which made a fun addition to our music time.
“Little Red Caboose”
Little red caboose chug, chug, chug
Little red caboose chug, chug, chug
Little red caboose behind the train
Smoke stack on its
Back, back, back, back
Coming down the
Track, track, track, track
Little red caboose behind the train.
“Down by the Station”
Down by the station
Early in the morning.
See the little puffers
Standing in a row.
See the station master
Turn a little handle.
Chug, chug, chug, chug,
Off they go!
Art: Egg Carton Trains
With 3 train obsessed kids, I have done my share of train crafts these past few years, but I had never seen this one before on the Getting Messy with Ms Jessi blog. I loved it, and couldn't wait to try it! It was a huge success with our little group!
Materials Needed: Egg cartons, toilet paper tube, paint, glue, cotton balls, paint brushes
1-) To keep the paint colors from getting to mixed up, we provided one cup per color with one brush. We had two cups and brushes for the engine color, since it takes longer to paint. As the children finished painting with one color, it rotated around, until everyone had used all of the colors.
2-)Paint the toilet paper tube for your engine. Some of the children found it helpful to have a mom hold the tube, while they painted it.
3-) Paint 5 of the egg dividers, using a different color for each.
4-)Glue the tube onto the unpainted egg divider to make the engine.
5-) Stuff the engine with cotton balls. (Although you might want wipes near by in case they stick to your gluey fingers). :)
Snack: Train Shaped Tortillas and Fruit Salsa
It is easy to make tortilla chips to match any preschool theme! We used a train cookie cutter to cut out our tortillas and then followed this super yummy (and easy) recipe on allrecipes for fruit salsa and cinnamon tortillas. Anything that close to 3000 people have given a five star rating to has to taste delicious!
Activity: Sidewalk Chalk Tracks
The moms drew the outside rails of a long winding train track. The children helped fill in the tracks on the inside. Then they had a fun time pretending to be trains running up and down the tracks. And then drawing more tracks. This is a great activity for fine AND gross motor skills. It is rare to find an activity that strengthens both.