Choo Choo Train

Father and son playing with train set

Social: Begin to foster your toddler’s social skills in playing beside children or adults and set a foundation towards positive co-operative play.

Age Groups: ,

Overview

This choo choo train activity will encourage toddlers to become comfortable in a social environment with another child or adult and to begin to gain a sense of cooperative play.

You will need:

  • Space for your child to build train tracks
  • Plastic or wooden train tracks
  • Plastic or wooden trains
  • The following simple, repetitive rhyme: Chugga-chugga, whoo-whoo, The choo choo train is here for you! (Davies 2005)

Directions

  1. Setup the materials in an open space with a bin of train tracks and another bin for the trains. A child-level table or floor area is best. In front of the bins, connect two tracks as a starting point for your child.
  2. Let your child wander to this area, observe their actions, then sing the Choo Choo rhyme above.
  3. Introduce the people you might see at a train station (i.e. train conductor, passengers, ticket collector). Keep it simple, three roles is a good start. Follow your child’s lead to bring the trains to life.
  4. Recite the rhyme a few times, to help the children learn the words.  Encourage your child to join in on saying the words. For example, “All abroad! Time for the Choo Choo song”.
  5. During play, support your child’s development in social play by saying, “This is my train and that is your train”, “My train and your train are choo choo-ing together”.

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Accessibility IconThe accessibility icon suggests tips, such as materials or tasks, which will make an activity easier for children with a range of abilities to practice skills that support social, emotional, gross motor, fine motor and intellectual developmental milestones.

Nurture

  • Spend time being involved in your child’s play
  • Feel safe and comfort in using imagination to add to existing materials or story

Explore

  • Encourage your child to sing with you
  • Feel safe to explore the concept of playing beside another individual through singing a song
  • Repeating the rhyme multiple times
  • Start to develop memory for the rhythm

Enriching Learning Through the Everyday Moments

  • Challenge your child to switch trains with you to foster the concept of sharing. For example you might say, “You can my train if you want” then ask “Can I play with your train?”. You may have to ask for your child’s train a few times, be patient, your child will share their train when ready.
  • Another challenge can include reciting the Choo Choo rhyme as a child places stuffed toys into a wagon to pull behind them.

Recommended Reading

  • Down by the Station by Will Hillenbrand
  • Animals on Board by Stuart J. Murphy