2. Circle/Whole Group: Use a toy train to introduce the topic. Show the engine, cars, and caboose. Ask kiddos to guess the purpose of each part. Show them pictures of trains that carry different things (freight trains, passenger trains, etc.). A library book may be helpful. Make a group train where each child decorates a paper car and then assemble the train on a wall. (To prepare for this, you will need a blank coloring-book-style car for each child to color/decorate/fill, markers, a paper engine and caboose, and tape to put it on the wall.)
3. Song: Little Red Caboose. As you sing the song, line the kiddos up like cars on a train. Give the last person a red sweater…let them take turns being the caboose!
Little Red Caboose
Little red caboose, chug, chug, chug. (repeat)
Little red caboose behind the train, train, train.
Smokestack on my back, back, back, back,
Coming down the track, track, track, track,
Little red caboose behind the train! (clap, clap)
4. Story: The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper. Who helped the toy train? Why was it hard? What do you do that is hard? Chant, “I think I can, I think I can!”
5. Craft: Construction Paper Shape Trains. Make the following construction paper shapes available to each child: a large circle or square (for front of train), a large rectangle (for train body), a small rectangle (for smokestack), two medium circles (for wheels), and a long skinny rectangle (to connect the wheels). Let the kiddos assemble the train with glue sticks and color it with markers. Review the shapes as you assemble. Also compare the circles and rectangles using words like bigger and smaller.
6. Learning Activity. Numbers Train Ride. Arrange enough chairs for each child like the chairs on a train. Wear an apron and a hat–you are the conductor! On the back of each chair place a tall number. Give each child a “ticket” with pictures of trains on it. Welcome all your passengers and instruct them to find the seat that matches their ticket. If their ticket has two trains, they need to find the #2 seat. If their ticket has 6 trains, they need to find the #6 seat. Pretend to take a train ride to see an elephant. Collect the tickets. Look at the elephant, then play the game again to go home, giving each passenger a new ticket. Play the game again, letting the children take turns being the conductor and deciding where to go.
7. Snack: Train Crackers. Use crackers (one square or rectangle and one circle) to make a train. Spread peanut butter on them! Use banana slices (or more round crackers) for the wheels. Eat up!
8. Learning Activity. Train Tracks. Use a low profile ladder (or rope, or brooms, or sticks, or markers lined up, etc.) to make a train track. Set up a destination (an imaginary park, waterfall, party, etc.) at the end of the track. The kiddos are each a train and must travel along the track by walking over each rung. As they pass each rung, they must count it. For the return trip, count each rung in Spanish. If you repeat the game, have the kiddos jump over each rung (or walk backwards, or elephant-walk, etc.).
9. Freeplay outside. Begin with Hiding Train Cars. All the “cars” hide and the “conductor” finds them all. Take turns being the conductor.
10. Circle to review and summarize day.
Supplies for the day:
train pictures–perhaps a library book
red sweater or scarf
The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper
construction paper shapes (a large circle or square, a large rectangle, a small rectangle, two medium circles, and a long skinny rectangle for each child)
train tickets (with different numbers of trains on each ticket)
numbers for train seats (corresponding to train tickets)
crackers (round and square/rectangle), peanut butter, bananas
ladders or other props for train tracks
props for destination at end of train tracks
blank coloring-book-style paper car for each child
paper caboose and engine