Thursday, 6 September 2012

Choo, Choo!

Tunnel from IKEA
After a recent trip to IKEA, we were all in our living-room to assemble our new furniture. E had a great time stacking her new DRĂ–NA boxes and lining them up with her new tunnel and potty. She sat on the potty and told us that she'd made a train. I don't have a photo to share, but the boxes were the engine, the potty was the driver's seat and her tunnel was the carriage. I just love her imagination! It's not unusual for her to "make a train". It's her favourite thing to do with her wooden blocks at the moment. She'll line up all the larger blocks as the track and sort all the small, coloured blocks into different coloured train carriages. I'm not sure where her fascination with trains came from, but it made for a great theme day (well, two days, actually).

Steam Train
We began with our usual colouring-in of a picture of a train. I showed E a few choices and she chose one of an old American steam train. We coloured it using coloured pencils and stuck it up in our "picture spot" on the side of the kitchen counter. There's a different picture there each week and it's a useful spot because it's at E's eye level.

I have a set of Thomas the Tank Engine books from when I was young and we read a story from one of them before watching Thomas and Friends on TV. E was pretty excited to find out that Thomas has his own show and as soon as the episode finished, she asked "Again?" Now E will often request to watch "Tom Train".

Then lunch was ready: a cheese and vegemite sandwich (one of E's favourites) with a bit of a twist. I made it look like a train by cutting it up and adding some carrot 'wheels', stuck on with a bit of peanut butter, and a dill pickle 'funnel'.

Train Sandwich

Taking E's lead, we made a train from wooden blocks. This time, instead of using more blocks as the track, I drew a train track on our blackboard (laid flat on the floor) and E pushed the block-train along on that.
The next day, we made a bigger train using cardboard boxes, masking tape and a few paper plates. We didn't paint it and make it all pretty like this one, but it was still fun. One of E's dolls became the driver and E sat in a carriage along with some of her other soft toys. Toy Tigger wasn't allowed in the train because he's "too bouncy". E had a turn at being driver, too, sitting where her doll is in the picture with one leg either side of the funnel.

Cardboard box train

Looking around online, I found a lot of 'train' ideas and activities for kids. It's a popular theme. One printable that I found is this set of papercraft trains from Sanrio. They are so cute. Each page has a train and a carriage as well as other accessories such as houses, boats or farm animals. The site is all in Japanese, but they're so simple that it's not necessary to be able to read it. There's little pictures to show you what the models should look like. E's not ready to make crafts like these, but I couldn't resist making some for her. She had great fun playing with them on another chalkboard track.

Sanrio Paper Train set

For a train-themed song, we sang 'Down at the Station'. E didn't know what "puffer-billies" were (who could blame her?). Once I explained it to her, it was requested again and again as we rode along in our cardboard box train. At night, as E lies in bed, I almost always sing 'Morningtown Ride' to her and she was quite pleased to realise that this, too, is about a train.

Chugga-chugga, Choo-choo!


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