By Awnali Mills
In honor of all the families heading out to Thanksgiving meals with relatives, my storytime theme this week was Trains. There are just so many good songs, activities, and books around this theme that it’s hard to choose just a few!
The books I chose were And the Train Goes…by William Bee, I Love Trains by Philemon Sturges, and Freight Train by Donald Crews.
In my magic bag, I had a wooden puzzle engine that I pulled from a train set. Then, we made our own train:
Everyone rubs their hands together in a circular motion to make the noise, slowly at first, getting faster, and the librarian says the following:
Choo, choo, choo, choo
Too-too, too-too, too-too
Choo-choo, choo-choo, choo-choo
Ding-dong, Ding-dong, Ding-dong, Ding-dong
The kids really enjoyed getting to make their own trains. Then we read our first book, And the Train Goes… There are so many fun sounds and voices in William Bee’s books—I just love them! This led me to my early literacy tip: Playing with environmental sounds is a lot of fun, and helps kids learn the sounds that will help them with phonics when they start school.
Then we all stood up and sang The Wheels on the Train, sung, of course, to the tune of The Wheels on the Bus.
The wheels on the train go round and round, round and round, round and round.
The wheels on the train go round and round all through the town.
The conductor on the train goes “All aboard!”
The whistle on the train goes “whoo, whoo, whoo!”
The cars on the train go “clickety-clack”
The grownups on the train say “Find your seat.”
The children on the train go wave, wave, wave.
Then, I did the flannel Train and read the story I Love Trains.
After the story, I had everyone hold up their hand and we did the fingerplay Engine on the Track:
[Point to fingers as rhyme indicates.]
Here is the engine on the track [Hold up thumb.]
Here is the coal car, just in back [Pointer finger.]
Here is the box car to carry freight [Middle finger.]
Here is the mail car. Don’t be late. [Ring finger.]
Way back here at the end of the train. [Little finger.]
Rides the caboose through the sun and rain.
Credit: SurLaLune Storytime
Then I played a recording of I’ve Been Working on the Railroad and we all stood up and did motions to it. The kids really enjoyed blowing their horns and strummin’ on their old banjos.
I did another magnetic “flannel” that I borrowed from a co-worker. Unfortunately, it decided not to stick to our magnetic board, and fell off the little ledge repeatedly. So, to everyone’s laughter, I just tossed the pieces onto the floor in front of me as I talked about them. The flannel goes:
“Clickety Clack.” By Melissa Depper
Here comes the train on the railroad track!
Here comes ENGINE number one.
Here comes COAL CAR number two.
Here comes BOX CAR number three.
Here comes TANK CAR number four.
Here comes COACH CAR number five.
Here’s the CABOOSE, that’s number six.
There goes the train on the railroad track!
Even though we had a “flannel malfunction,” the kids enjoyed chiming in on the numbers.
I finished up storytime with Freight Train, then pulled out the big guns for playtime afterwards. I had a Thomas the Tank Engine pop up tent, and two alphabet train puzzles as well as the usual Legos.
I was a popular librarian today. 🙂