Monday, March 18, 2013

Toddler Activities: DIY Cheap & Easy Toddler Train

By Deborah Pace Rowley


Toddlers love trains! In fact, you just might have a train fanatic in your house. I love all the cool Brio style trains and train tables out there. But if you are like me, I could never afford those expensive sets. 
That doesn't mean that you can't provide a train for your toddler to link, unlink, load and pull around the house. This fun DIY train is simple, cheap and easy to make. I started with 5 dollar store plastic soap holders with a top and a bottom. (They were travel set that you could use to take your soap on vacation.)  I added a set of baby links that I also purchased that the dollar store. The ten brightly colored links were also $1. So the total train set cost $6.00. It comes with ten cars once I separated the top and the bottom of each soap dish.  I was so proud of myself for drilling the holes in each side. I even found a drill bit big enough so that the links could fit through the holes. Girl Power! 
Toddlers will simply love loading the train with all their little animals and toys. You could add a pull string by tying some yarn or kite string to the end of the last link and your toddler could pull the train around the house. For older toddlers and preschoolers you could make this train educational as well. 
In the picture below, you can see that I added a colored square to the bottom of each car and Brooklyn tried to find an animal that matched each color. 
Here Brooklyn tried to put the correct number of raisins in each car. You could have your child load the cars with pretzel stick "logs" or gold fish or cereal or anything you have on hand.
Here I added an alphabet letter to the bottom of each car and Brooklyn is trying to find something to put in each car that starts with each letter. There are so many fun variations for playing with this toddler train. You could put one letter from your child's name in the bottom of each car and have your child rearrange the cars to spell his or her name correctly. You could put beginning sight words in each car and your child could link them up to make a sentence.
All aboard for lots of fun! Pin It

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