Here’s a simple train craft for kids inspired by the book, Freight Train by Donald Crews. This sponge painted train art project is perfect for toddlers, preschoolers, and kindergarteners!
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The Preschool Book Club is back this week with creative activities for kids inspired by the popular children’s book, Freight Train by Donald Crews! Every other week we’ll be sharing some fun activities for kids based on the book of the week. (Be sure to check out all my activities for kids inspired by children’s books!)
Sponge Painted Train Craft Inspired by Freight Train
The story, Freight Train, is such a wonderful book for toddlers and preschoolers! In this story children are introduced to different colored train cars and then taken on a journey as the train travels through all kinds of interesting places. The illustrations in the book are absolutely stunning- with the cars blurring together as the train begins moving and traveling through the pages. Theo always wants this book read again and again!
Freight Train really lends itself to all kinds of learning: colors, color words, counting, directional words, and retelling- so many possibilities!
(Also be sure to check out the companion book, Inside Freight Train! Kids can slide open the pages to reveal what’s inside each train car!)
Because Theo is such a fan of sponge painting (we’ve sponge stamped caterpillars, eggs, triangles, and even Elmer the Elephant), we just had to create sponge painted trains based on the story! Theo was thrilled to make trains that looked just like the train in the book and was also inspired to create his own trains using the sponges and paints.
Sponge Stamped Train Craft
Materials for Sponge Painted Train Craft
- Kitchen sponges
- Tempera paint (This is our favorite brand of tempera paint.)
- Paper plates
- White paper 12 inches x 18 inches
- Tape or glue dots (if making the long train)
- Black marker
Directions for Sponge Painted Train Craft
1. Start by cutting the sponges into the shapes you will need.
- We made two different versions of rectangles for the train cars: The large, long, straight train was made with the sponges cut in half, and smaller, curvy trains were made with the sponges cut into fourths.
- You’ll also need to cut some small circles to make the wheels.
2. Squirt tempera paint onto paper plates and place one rectangular sponge near each color.
3. Place your white paper onto the table to be stamped.
- For one long, straight train, cut your paper in half horizontally and tape or glue the two pieces together to create one long piece of paper.
- For a smaller, curvy train, just one, uncut sheet of 12 inch x 18 inch paper will work.
4. Dip the sponges into the paint and stamp them onto your paper to create a train. We had the book open on the table as we made our train so we could stamp the cars and engine in the same order as in the story. (To make the engine, we stamped the sponge with black paint horizontally and then vertically.)
- If making one long train, just stamp the cars in a straight row.
- For the smaller, curvy train, use the smaller sponges to stamp a train in a curvy line.
5. Now it’s time to make the wheels. Dip the small, circular sponge into black paint and add wheels to each train car.
6. Use a black marker to draw lines connecting each train car.
7. Let it dry, and you’re done! You can hang it up to display and/or use it to retell the story!
- After making the initial train craft that was identical to the one in the story, Theo wanted to make more trains in his own way. Here he is making a train with three, red cabooses!
- If your child is having trouble making the curvy train, you can lightly draw a line in pencil for your child to stamp along.
- Invite your child to add even more details to the finished train. Draw some tracks or a bridge like in the story!
More Freight Train Activities
Be sure to check out all the creative Freight Train activities created by the other members of The Preschool Book Club!
Freight Train Math Game from Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails
Freight Train Block Building from Homegrown Friends
Train Track Paper Play Mat from Mama Papa Bubba
Freight Train Snack Idea from Sugar Aunts