Like many little boys his age, William loves trains. Each night when his dad and I tuck him into bed, William requests, (usually from his dad), “You talk to me about trains?”
It typically follows up with, “What can you tell me about trains?”
“Trains carry cargo and make stops and drive on tracks, and have pistons and they go pop, pop, pop…” and the list of what William knows continues and repeates itself several times over. This has become part of our bedtime ritual.
So it only makes sense that to encourage William to learn his letters to include trains in the activity. Currently, William can identify most of the letters of the alphabet, both upper and lower case, and can also the most of the common sounds for each letter. We play alphabet review games frequently because of the research that supports it. Check out my post here for more information.
Today I thought I’d share an easy game that reviews letter names. Alphabet Train.
Supplies include several paint samples, a permanent marker, and a train. I made one out of crafting foam, but a print out from the internet or clip art would work just fine, too.
Use the permanent marker to draw a line down the center of each paint chip, like the line down the center of a domino chip. Then, fill in each side with letters. Be sure to make it obvious the difference between upper and lower case by making the upper case letters larger than the lower case.
The premise of the activity is really simple. Line up the paint chips after the train by matching upper and lower case letters, much the same way you would play a game of dominoes.
I recommend using this activity for review of previously introduced letters. Your child may respond well to finding one or two new and unfamiliar letters within the train, but any more than that will probably result in your child feeling discouraged and not wanting to participate. To make this game slightly more advanced, ask your child to name the sound of each letter as the chips are matched up.
William loves this game, I think, mostly because he loves trains. He likes to challenge himself to see how long he can make the train and gets really excited when he runs out of room on the kitchen table. When that happens, he then takes the game to the wood floor and continues to build until all the matches have been made. Sometimes he’ll sing the alphabet song when he is finished, before scrambling the chips and starting again.