The Holiday Train came through our town recently, so I thought it would be a great idea if we made one big train! So after we went over rules, I told my kiddos that everyone would be making a train car! They could make it a holiday train, but they could really make it anything. Like a ghost train, an Old West train being robbed, a passenger train, a cargo train, whatever they want!! The only thing was, they had to come up with some way to link it up in both the front and the back, because at the end of the hour we were going to make ONE BIG TRAIN!!
Once kids started building, I showed them the example I built really quick. Basically all I was asking for was some sort of hinge or bendy piece in both the front and back of their cars. That way everything could be linked up a bit easier than just used a regular Lego as the connection. Plus it gives a bit of a STEM element to the whole challenge. Most kids got it, but during my rounds I kept my eye out for extra hinges and other good connector pieces, since I knew kids would need some last minute help getting their train cars ready.
At the end of the build, each kid got to share what they built really quick. At the end of each kid’s turn I would ask if they wanted their car to join the train. I know from past experience that kids get really protective of what they build and don’t want people messing with it, so I wanted to make it a choice.
So at first, no one wanted to combine their trains together. But then I came up with an idea and asked kids if they wanted to join their cars to MY train. That phrasing made it better I think, since now it seems like I’m inviting them to something as opposed to asking them to do something. By the end nearly everyone was joined up to make one big train.
After that, we went to our display area and I tried my best to link everyone up! Asking everyone to use hinges or similar pieces on the front and end made it a lot easier and less stressful. It also adds some engineering/problem solving, since kiddos have to account for a way to attach their car to the train. Our train length was over 20 cars long!! Lots of fun as always!!
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