Freight Train is both written & illustrated by Donald Crews. It is a delightful choice for young listeners and early readers alike.
Some targeted learning areas: colors, counting, transportation, fuel, building and spacial awareness.
As we read Freight Train, we discussed the colors, the names of each train car, where it was going, and what it passed. We do a lot of fill-in-the-blank when reading. As the train passed the cities, the builder announced that it was passing the temples. Cute.
For our activity, we chose to build a very large track with as many of our tracks as possible. The kiddos were anxious to engineer and plan our track. Soon they were trying out the hills, filling the cargo cars with wooden people, adding trees and landmarks, bridges, and arches. We’ve made several different tracks in the past. We’ve used books to make tunnels for our vehicles, layed them in a line to make roads or book tracks, and dug tracks in our sandbox.
Whatever you choose, building with the kiddos is a great learning experience for all. Opportunities for problem solving, sharing, and various design opinions. Sometimes it is difficult to not just solve each problem for them. I’m learning to let them take it as far as they can on their own, and then to assist when they need it most. There is greater learning and stretching for them this way. Tonight, one of the problems was fitting the tall people in the train cars under the arch. We used books to elevate the arch and the result was a happy builder.