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Box Trains
Type: Crafts   Skills: Critical ThinkingPhysical & Motor Skills
In this activity, you'll learn how you and your kids can create your very own train set made out of everyday boxes.

When playing with box trains, kids will develop their physical skills by using their muscles to pull, push, and move the box train. Kids also learn to think critically when they experiment with maneuvering the box train and discovering how it works. Finally, the immediate response kids get from pulling and pushing the box train is teaching them cause and effect.
Box Trains
What We Learn
Physical development
Critical thinking
Cause & effect
Supply List
Construction paper
Train sets are a perfect example of an open-ended toy. Babies and toddlers can play with the trains in a variety of ways. If they're still very young, they can merely load objects, such as blocks, into the boxes. As they get a little older, they can push the trains along and also talk about what they're doing, from loading things into the trains to where they're going with the train. There's no right or wrong way to play with the train, which is what makes them so appropriate.

You can make a train set from just about any small or medium sized box from around the house. Shoeboxes, tissue boxes, sandwich bag boxes or milk cartons are all suitable.

If the box is already open on top, such as a shoebox, all you need to do is decorate the outside with construction paper so that it resembles a train.

If it's an enclosed box, such as a milk or juice carton, then cut out one side of the box first so that the top of the box train car is open for kids to fill.

Finally, you can poke a hole in the sides of the boxes and put yarn through the holes to tie several boxes together to form a boxcar train set.

Introduce your baby or toddler to the box train and teach him or her about the movement, the sounds, and new words about trains. Then allow time for your child to explore the way he or she wants to use the train. For instance, your child may want to fill the box cars with toy animals. Pulling or pushing will come when the child is ready. As your child starts to push or pull the train you can start to introduce sounds and words related to the train.
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