Trains At Home: Toddlers through Kindergarten

At the museum, we are always looking for fun ways our visitors can play with trains. Through scouring the internet and talking to parents and teachers, we have collected some really fun activities. We have included some of our favorites below. Some are educational and some are just for fun. All of the activities below require adult assistance to get started. Please remember to supervise your children if they are playing with small objects.
Trains At Home: Toddlers through Kindergarten
Train Sensory Box
This locomotive sensory box is a big hit in our family learning areas at the museum. It is a flexible activity that you can adapt to your child’s age, abilities, or preferences. For more information on this fun activity, check out the .pdf below. 

Train Sensory Box (.pdf)
Learn Train Signals
This activity is super simple and a lot of fun!

  1. Find an object at home you can use to practice the signals, such as a lantern, a bucket, a flashlight, or even glow sticks. 
  2. Practice the signals used by train engineers, conductors, and depot workers listed in the .pdf below. Talk about other types of signals people use such as lights, signs, whistles, horns, etc.
  3. Once you have learned the signals, you can play some games using them. One of our favorites is to play stop and go games with the signals at the museum. Some children get to send signals, others act like engineers and follow the signal.
Tooele Valley Railway Signals (.pdf)
*The signals in the .pdf were the actual signals used on the Tooele Valley Railway. They came from the 1910 rule book.
Make Train Cars out of Shapes
What can you learn?
Shapes, colors, and develop creativity

What will you need? 
Paper, scissors (adults only), glue

  1. Cut out some shapes. It is more fun if you can make a variety of shapes and use a lot of different colors. We recommend using construction paper, but if you don’t have construction paper use regular printer paper, cardboard boxes, magazines, or even wrapping paper.
  2. Go through the different shapes and colors with your children.  Show them how the shapes can fit together to make something different, like a train car.
  3. You can color or draw your favorite train freight on some shapes. 
  4. Make it into an art project by gluing or taping the pieces onto a piece of paper. You can also save the pieces to play with another day.
Coloring Pages
Who doesn't love to color? Below are some fun train coloring pages and books. All you have to do is print them off and enjoy!

Number Train
Use the number train to help kids learn their numbers. You can learn the numbers individually or combine them to make a long train. You can also print these pages out and use them for coloring pages!

Number Train (.pdf)
Letter Train
The letter train can be used to teach kids letters and words. You can also combine it with the number train to make one large train. These also make great coloring pages!

Letter Train (.pdf)
Make a Paper Train
Train Set ImageIf you don’t have a train set at home, no worries! You can make one!

What can you learn?
Colors, counting, and train cars

How to build it:

1. Print the templates for the cars you want to build.

Counting Train Locomotive (.pdf)
Counting Train Car (.pdf)
Counting Train Caboose (.pdf)
2. Color the cars. Paper Train Image
3. Cut out the train car along the exterior solid line.
4. Cut along the dotted line.
5. Fold along the solid vertical lines. Paper Train Image
6. Use tape or glue to assemble the cars. Paper Train Image
7. Attach the cars together using glue dots or string. Paper Train Image

How does it work?
  • Count the number of cars you add to your train
  • Look around your house or yard and find some freight
    • Load and unload the freight counting out each piece each time
  • Practice counting to 100
  • Practice counting in a different languages
  • You can also teach concepts like half by splitting freight from one car into two cars
  • Practice your even and odd numbers by counting in twos or threes