Monday, November 21, 2016

Trains for Christmas!

Planning for Christmas activities already?
There are so many great stories about trains for children!
A very special story for the holiday season is the classic
"The Polar Express" by Chris Van Allsburg's.
Some other examples are:
1. Smokey by Bill Peet
2. Crack in the Track (Thomas the Tank Engine Story)
3. Little Train by Lois Lenski
4. The Little Engine that Could by Watty Piper
5. Steam, Smoke, and Steel: Back in Time with Trains by Patrick O’Brien
6. Big Book of Trains by DK Publishing
7. The Goodnight Train by June Sobel
8. The Potty Train by David Hochman
9. Dinosaur Train by John Steven Gurney
10. Freight Train by Donald Crews
I have two special train activities that can be used for Christmas!
The first one is a creative arts and writing activity.
This activity includes the cover sheet, 2 train engine templates and parent letter.

One train template is a simple black and white version. For older children there is a more detailed gray version. Print the train template you decide to use, on heavy paper and send it home with the parent explanation letter.
Parent and child will decorate it together. The train can be covered with whatever, but it must stay attached when hung up. Plus, it shouldn’t be so heavy that it won’t stay taped to a wall.

Suggestions for decorations: glitter, pompoms, tissue paper, pipe cleaners, felt, foam, lace, paper clips, sprinkles, colored rice, pictures, beads, sequins, shells, feathers, flowers, cotton, fake jewels, nature materials, sand, popsicle sticks, toothpicks, fabric, papers, foil, string, recycling materials, whatever you have around the house.
They need to put a picture of their child in the engine cab, so it looks like he/she is the engineer. When finished the student will bring back to school a Christmas Train to share with the class. It then becomes a prompt for story writing and telling.

It is always fun to see the different ways to decorate the train! They make a wonderful seasonal wall or bulletin board display! It can also be done in class instead of sending it home or send it home with older students that do not need parent help.
I have many different products similar to this to do during the year! Parents love doing these with their children!
The next activity is a free product and has been very popular, so I am sharing it again!
This fun product incorporates 5 geometric 2D shapes into the building of a train engine, plus a creative literacy activity.

There are 3 complete train engine choices; 1 has red and green colors, 1 is grayscale colored, and the last is black and white. The train can be made as a stand-alone, but that is better printed on heavy paper. It can also be made by gluing the pieces down on another piece of paper. This project is excellent practice for the fine motor skills of cutting and gluing. It is a good idea to give each child a baggie to hold their cut pieces until they have glued them all.

Introduce or review the five shapes; circle, square, triangle, rectangle, and hexagon. Decide if posting the picture of the finished Key that is included, so the children may use it for reference. When doing the black and white or grayscale engines, the children can color or decorate them when finished.
It can also be used in a center, but it is better if the pieces are laminated first. Again some of the pieces are small so a baggie helps to keep any from getting lost.

  The literacy activity has a black and white train paper with lines for writing and reading their creative stories. There is a cover sheet to make these stories into a class share book the students can read and reread again and again.
I also have many other products for 
that can be used during the year.
Wishing you a fun filled holiday season!

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