Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Little Engine that Could

My boys love trains!  In celebration of the upcoming remake of "The Little Engine that Could," starring Whoopi Goldberg, I'm making my first post about this classic tale.  We like to read the story, then re-enact it using our wooden train set... the boys painted the freight cars, which I bought at Trains Galore for just a few dollars each.

S. gets so into it that we keep acting it out on our walks around the neighborhood, too, with me playing the broken down train and him playing all the other engines.

Here are a few of our favorite versions of the story, some optional songs and videos, a train craft to keep little hands busy, and finally a fingerplay.  Enjoy!

Watty Piper's telling is perhaps the most famous one, and in 2005 a new version (above left) was released with fun art by Loren Long.  We also like the pop-up version (pictured above right).

For older kids it's fun to read Shel Silverstein's version with an alternate ending.  Warning: it's not a happy one...  Check it out, "The Little Blue Engine" in his book, Where the Sidewalk Ends.  Or you can read the full text here.

And, thanks to wikipedia, I now know that John Denver sings his own version of the tale in the album All Aboard!  We found the CD at the library.

Here's a fun train craft that was described on e-how.  Trace the child's hand and arm, with fingers stuck together (the hand part will become the engine):

Cut on the traced line and separate sections for the train cars:

Add wheels, steam, tracks, and other finishing touches:

 Here's our favorite train fingerplay, which I found on :

Train Fingerplay

This is a choo-choo train
(Bend elbows)
Puffing down the track
(Move arms forward)
Now it’s going forward
(Push arms forward)
Now it’s going back
(Push arms back)
Now the bell is ringing
(Pretend to ring bell)
Now the whistle blows
(Hold fist near mouth and pretend to blow)
What a lot of noise it makes
Everywhere it goes.
(Cover ears with hands)

That's it for this week, come back next week for some fun with the three bears!

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