Many children love playing with trains, and love to imagine themselves the engineers of their own little engines. Let your child take his imagination to the tracks with this fun arts and crafts activity. The best part: it's green! Household items that usually get tossed in the trash get a second life: watch as an empty milk carton and toilet paper tube morph into a fun toy train.
This project will help your child practice creative thinking and develop his fine motor skills. By envisioning the perfect design for his engine and constructing it with his own hands, he'll sharpen his critical thinking and problem solving skills. Tracing shapes onto construction paper also offers good practice in shape recognition. And once his train engine is complete, he'll have a blast chugging the little thing around the house. Toot toot!
What You Do:
- Help your child place the milk carton on its side on a sheet of construction paper. Have your child trace out the shape of the carton and cut out the resulting rectangle. Make one rectangle cutout for each side of the carton.
- Help your child cover each side of the milk carton with the rectangle cutouts. Have your child cut out four circles from black construction paper to be the train's wheels.
- Help your child cut out a long rectangular piece of construction paper to cover the toilet paper tube. The width of this rectangle should equal the length of the toilet paper tube. Help him paste the paper onto the tube. This will be the train's smoke stack.
- Lay the milk carton on its side and ask your child to glue the wheels onto the train where he thinks they should go. For reference, the pointed part of the milk carton will be the front of the train.
- Help your child glue the toilet paper tube to the top of the train.
- Have your child use markers to draw in the rest of the details on the train. He can also glue squares of white paper along the side of the train like windows and draw passengers or the train conductor sitting inside. Let your child's imagination run free. When he's finished decorating, tape a piece of string to the front of the train so he can pull it along behind him.
Now your child can turn the living room into his very own train station. All aboard!