Every Wednesday I will post a great book for you and your child to read together. There will often be a simple craft or project to go with it to further promote reading comprehension, vocabulary, and communication.
This classic is one my daughter fell in love with at her Mom Mom’s house. I remember my littlest brother loving it also when he was Lilly’s age:
Freight Train is a simple book about a colorful train. There is minimal background illustration and focuses on the shape and color of each car.
Lilly’s favorite part is when the train gets to the city- she associates “the city” with Daddy’s office. This book calms Lilly down. It’s rhythmic and repetitive which is sometimes just what we need. If you are looking for a new bedtime book, one that you won’t mind reading over and over, this one fits the bill perfectly.
For our project today we’re going to make a shapes train. I didn’t want to cause Lilly any confusion so here is the language I chose to explain our project to her.
“Lilly, Freight Train’s cars are all rectangles, see? (Point to all the rectangle cars) But we are going to make our own train. Our train cars can be any shape and any color. This is our shape train!”
Cut various shapes out of the colored felt. Squares, rectangles, stars, hearts, diamonds, triangles, circles, ovals, etc. Also cut out a black engine. This can be as simple as a rectangle- childrens’ imaginations will create the rest. You can go a little more in depth here than I did. Gracie was crying, everyone was hungry, I was on the phone with insurance; there just wasn’t time to be fussy about this one!
Draw the train tracks onto the white felt. Ask your child to find the black engine. Set that down in front. (Felt sort of sticks to felt which is so fun for kids! No glue or tape necessary and they can play over and over again.) Continue to ask your child for the next train car. Encourage them to tell you what color and shape they are choosing.
Instead of saying, “Lilly can you please hand me the yellow circle?”
Say, “Which car comes next?”
When your child tells you (eventually), “The yellow circle!” Repeat it back to them, “Yes, Lilly, that’s the yellow circle! Good job!” Now you’ve discussed the yellow circle more than once and also validated their knowledge.
Use the marker to help your child add wheels, car details, smoke coming out of the engine, a city background, maybe the mountains. Whatever they want.
In between two and three years of age children go through a developmental stage of cognition that is all about validation. They want to know if they are right, they want to know if you hear them, and they want to feel proud. This project gives them a great outlet for that kind of cognitive communication. I’m sure your child will want to show this project to someone else they care about so listen to what they tell that person about their special artwork. Bet you anything they repeat that this is a train with a yellow circle car, a green square car, a blue diamond car etc. etc.
Got a great kids book suggestion for my Wordy Wednesday posts? A family favorite that your child would like to make a craft about? Leave me a comment! We are always on the hunt for new books to read!