Like many little boys their age, my boys love trains. Love them. As in, that’s what they do most of the day! So I know I can count on any train-themed alphabet activity to keep them interested in learning letters! And this alphabet train letter activity happens to come with a free printable and four creative variations on how to use it!
***I’ve joined the very best kid activity bloggers to create new activities for how to use letter manipulatives. Be sure to read all the way to the end of this post to see all their creative ideas, as well as to grab your free printable. ***
Each night we tuck our boys into bed, one of them is sure to ask, “You talk to me about trains?”
It typically follows up with me asking my boys, “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 the little boys know continues and repeats itself several times over. But trains excite them so much that this has become part of our bedtime ritual and cannot be left out.
So it only makes sense to encourage my boys (and my preschoolers) to learn letters by including a few (or a lot of) trains. This alphabet train activity is a fun way to reinforce letters that are familiar, as well as to introduce new letters with guidance.
Alphabet Train Letter Activity
Whether or not you have a train fanatic in your preschool, this alphabet train is a fun way to teach letters. You can create your train together as a class or have students work individually at the literacy center.
Be sure to keep reading for my ideas on how to spice up the traditional alphabet train activity! (This printable can be used for many different letter activities!)
- FREE printable (at the end of this post)
- heavy cardstock
- laminator (for added durability)
- letter manipulatives
Print in color on heavy cardstock, then laminate and cut apart. I like to use a rotary cutter to save time, instead of just a pair of scissors. Leaving out the engine, shuffle the alphabet cards and place them in a pile face up. Grab some manipulatives and lay them out on the floor. This activity takes some space, so just start on the floor, and invite your preschooler to join you in making an alphabet train!
A New Way to Play Alphabet Train Letter Activity
Now, you can simply print out the printable and invite your child to assemble the alphabet train in the traditional way, lining up the cards in alphabetical order, making a long train and calling it good.
Here’s how I like to play Alphabet Train with my sons.
- Lay out the engine card where the alphabet train should begin.
- Invite your preschooler to pick a letter manipulatives. Find both the upper and the lower case of the same letter. Identify the letters.
- Then, invite your preschooler to sift through the pile of train cards to find the card with the matching letters. Lay the letters on the template and add the train car to the train.
- Continue to play until all the letter manipulatives have been added to the train cars and added to the train.
I like this version of Alphabet Train because children get double the letter practice as they work. They select a letter and identify it and then have to identify the letter again as they search for the correct card to add to the train.
Five Variations of Alphabet Train
I love a good printable. And one thing that makes a printable great, rather than just good, is when I can use it for more than one single activity. So here are three variations to use this printable.
- For younger preschoolers, present them with only letters with which they are already familiar. Or, present only upper or only lower case letters at a time. This will help them not feel so overwhelmed.
- For additional fun, do the activity as above, then invite your preschooler to sing the alphabet song in the order the letters were drawn.
- For a greater challenge, invite the preschooler to select letters in reverse alphabetical order.
- Teach name recognition by presenting only the letters from the child’s name. (You may need more than one set of letter manipulatives and you may need to print two copies of the train game).
- For kindergarten children or first graders, you could even practice spelling or sight words this way!
Want More Ways to Use Letter Manipulatives?
Then check out these new ideas from the best kid activity bloggers around! No stale ideas here!
(And if you’re looking for your free printable, keep on reading).
FROM LEFT TO RIGHT:
Magnetic Letter Name Search Sensory Bin //Powerful Mothering
Elkonin Sound Boxes // Playdough to Plato
Self-correcting Magnetic Word Work // Differentiated Kindergarten
Alphabet Magnet Beginning Sounds Center // The Letters of Literacy
Pull and Trace Alphabet Magnets // The Kindergarten Connection
Magnetic Letters Sequencing Cards // Sara J Creations
Secret Code Seasonal Words // Mom Inspired Life
Editable Sight Word Mats // Mrs. Jones’ Creation Station
Letter Identification Alphabet Train // Stay at Home Educator
Beginning Sounds with Magnetic Letters // Pages of Grace
Number Word Mats // Fairy Poppins
Sorting Magnetic Letters // Fun-A-Day
Magnetic Letters: From Beginning Sounds to CVC Words // Liz’s Early Learning Spot
Magnetic Letters Nouns Game // Teach Me Mommy
CVC Word Spinners // Sweet Sounds of Kindergarten
Magnetic Letters Center for All Year // The Simplified Classroom
Get Your Free Alphabet Train Printable!
How else can you use this alphabet train printable to teach letters?
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I am Sarah, an educator turned stay-at-home mama of five! I am the owner and creator of Stay At Home Educator, a website about intentional teaching and purposeful learning in the early childhood years. I’ve taught range of levels, including preschool and college, and a little bit of just about everything in between. Right now, my focus is teaching my children and running a preschool from my home. Credentials include: Bachelors in Art, Masters in Curriculum and Instruction