Fun Train-Themed Ideas for Locomotive by Brian Floca

This month’s book theme was transportation. I had to think pretty hard to come up with a book about transportation for two little girls- my two willing book nook participants. I looked around at the library, and I had them look around at the library. Surprisingly we found several transportation-themed books we liked. When I picked up Locomotive by Brian Floca, however, I knew that we had found this month’s book.
Train-themed books and activities
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Locomotive is a beautifully illustrated, Caldecott award-winning picture book about the creation of the Transcontinental Railroad. Even though it’s a picture book, this book is easily appropriate for upper elementary kids. It is a longer picture book, and the information about the railroad, where it was built, when it was built, and other details is information worthy of an upper elementary history study. The book does an excellent job tying in descriptions of the railroad along with the history of its building and the experience of riding in a steam train along the railroad. Even though my girls weren’t sure about a book about a train, they quickly became rather enthralled as I was.

After we read Locomotive, we did these two activities.

I had a piece of poster board, and I actually had planned for the girls to make a railroad collage of sorts. But they had a different idea, and it actually turned out to be fun.

The started on separate ends of the poster board using two different colors of marker and drawing a railroad in their color. They met somewhere near the middle of the poster board- although we could tell from the map in the book that the real Transcontinental Railroad didn’t meet in the middle.

When they met in the middle they worked together to place a “golden spike” (thumbtack).

I also had some construction paper and glue to make train collages.

Simply cut the construction paper into any shapes desired and glue them onto a background page to make a train picture.

As you can see, mine isn’t a beautiful work of art!

Train-themed books and activities
Besides these activities, I found some others that would be fun to do when reading Locomotive or other books about trains.

~ Try this really cute train fingerprint craft from Frogs Snails and Puppy Dog Tails.

~ For a little science try making baking soda and vinegar trains.

~ This train counting activity is especially cute for preschoolers.

~ Do you have kids who would love to ride on a train? Check out this video from riding trains in California.

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