Playing on the tabletop train station in preschool

by Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. on January 8, 2012

in Boxcar Math, Children's Books, Freight Train, Mathematics

We have been exploring different types of transportation and today we threw in a little fun with trains. We started by reading “Freight Train” by Donald Crews.

This book is a very simply illustrated book of different colors and types of boxcars you will find on a freight train…

After reading the book, I set out foam rectangle shapes and we worked together to build our own freight train. We used the same colors found in the book as a way to reinforce color recognition and to retell the story. We had to go back through the book to remember which color came next…

After reading the book, the children were invited to come on over and check out the table top train station. At the train station, the children found foam shapes (the same ones used earlier), plastic lids (for wheels), and permanent markers….

As a group, we first took a few minutes to explore a little math. The children started by counting wheels and adding them to their boxcars on the train tracks…

Then the children were invited to decorate the foam box car shapes with the markers and play with the materials anyway they wish…

Some of the children stayed and explored the box car materials for quite some time.  Others chose to go off and play in other centers…

I have been saving lids all year long and decided this would be one good opportunity to play with them…

The train grew longer and longer throughout the morning and each box car had a unique design.  The children continued to add designs to the boxcars as they stopped by throughout the afternoon…

By the end of our time for play, we had a nice long freight train to admire…

When it was time to go, some of our students chose to take a boxcar or two home with them.  One of my little girls selected a foam rectangle from the table and as she went running out to the car she shouted, “Look mom! I made a train!”

I am sure there are times when some of my parents take one look at the materials that come home and wonder what in the world their child is doing in preschool!  But my parents are awesome and always supportive – even when all that is brought home is one foam rectangle…

Thanks parents for all your support – and we really did make a train!


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