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13.09.2014
The Preschool Book Club is back this week with creative activities for kids inspired by the popular children’s book, Freight Train by Donald Crews! Every other week we’ll be sharing some fun activities for kids based on the book of the week. Freight Train really lends itself to all kinds of learning: colors, color words, counting, directional words, and retelling- so many possibilities!
Because Theo is such a fan of sponge painting (we’ve sponge stamped caterpillars, eggs, triangles, and even Elmer the Elephant), we just had to create sponge painted trains based on the story! We made two different versions of rectangles for the train cars: The large, long, straight train was made with the sponges cut in half,  and smaller, curvy trains were made with the sponges cut into fourths. For one long, straight train, cut your paper in half horizontally and tape or glue the two pieces together to create one long piece of paper. After making the initial train craft that was identical to the one in the story, Theo wanted to make more trains in his own way. If your child is having trouble making the curvy train, you can lightly draw a line in pencil for your child to stamp along. Be sure to check out all the creative Freight Train activities created by the other members of The Preschool Book Club! You can see all kinds of activities for kids based on children’s books on our Preschool Book Club Pinterest board! Please join our closed FB group for interactions with other teachers, childcare providers, and parents of preschoolers! Last week after reading Freight Train we decided to make our own rainbow trains and do some painting as we created them too!
Before we started building our trains we sang one of our favorite rainbow songs and talked about the colors we saw in the book. Before we started creating I cut out several rectangles in different colors and I also cut out an engine for each child.


Next, I gave each kid a set of rainbow colored rectangles, an engine, and a piece of easel paper with a railroad track drawn on it.
Once they liked how their train looked then they glued the train down onto the easel paper. Although we discussed the rainbow colors and the order colors go in, it was not my expectation for this activity for every kid to make a rainbow train.
Once the kids glued their trains in place them I gave each of them a plate of paint (using their favorite color) and I gave them a fat marker. While the train crafts dried we had fun playing in our playroom pretending to be trains and walking around in a big line. You may also want to check out our Donald Crews Freight Train playdate activities post that we shared over at Virtual Book Club for Kids.
January 1, 2014 by Jessica Petersen 1 Comment As 2013 comes to a close, it’s been fun to look back on all the articles I’ve written for Play Trains! At the end of the summer and heading into fall, we went a little crazy with the discovery bottles! Here’s a cute activity from the Fall Invitations to Play series I so thoroughly enjoyed being a part of. If you liked these train activities, I encourage you to sign up for our email newsletter below and follow me on Google Plus!
Some product links on this site are affiliate links for products we think are worth checking out. In this story children are introduced to different colored train cars and then taken on a journey as the train travels through all kinds of interesting places.
Theo was thrilled to make trains that looked just like the train in the book and was also inspired to create his own trains using the sponges and paints.


I wanted them exploring the colors, talking about the colors, and learning to identify the colors in the rainbow. They used the end of the fat marker to paint wheels onto the train by dipping the marker in the paint and printing with it. With a little polishing up and a lot of new readers the second time around, it became one of our most popular posts this year.
As much fun as the play dough part was, what really made this activity special was the last minute inclusion of the markers…you’ll have to see what I mean!
Here’s a way to combine that exciting mode of play with a little bit of reading practice. An awesome way to combine sensory exploration with pretend play for aspiring engine drivers. While playing trains for the last four years, my Little Engineer and I have had a lot of fun and learned so much together.
The illustrations in the book are absolutely stunning- with the cars blurring together as the train begins moving and traveling through the pages. I moderate each comment, so you won't see your comment show up immediately when you post. However, I guess we didn’t go too crazy with them, because these posts earned first, second, and fourth place on this list. I'm excited to share our discoveries with other people who have kids who love trains in their lives.



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