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Create Holiday Magic with This Easy Christmas Train

Create holiday magic this winter through this easy Christmas train invitation to play. No special materials needed!

Train-themed activities for children to enjoy after reading "The Polar Express"

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This week, we read The Polar Express and Silver Packages: An Appalachian Christmas Story. Then we built a train track around our Christmas tree. As a child, I admired the model trains some people place around their trees. This year I realized that we have plenty of wooden trains and tracks, and that we could put those around the tree. I pulled out our bin of blocks and train pieces, and the kids got to work.

Creating Our Christmas Train

Create a magical Christmas with this easy Christmas train!

All four kids worked together to create a track that went all the way around our tree. They were able to use up all but a couple pieces of track! We have one small Brio train set that I was sent to review years ago. The rest of our trains and tracks come from IKEA. The Brio set is clearly superior quality, but the much more affordable IKEA sets still work pretty well.

Build a train track around your Christmas tree this winter!

I have our train tracks mixed in with the wooden blocks. Soon the kids were using the wooden blocks to build houses, schools, and other structures. Most of our blocks come from this Melissa and Doug block set, but there others I found at yard sales when Emma and Johnny were small.

Christmas Train learning activities for kids.

Four-year-old Anna and seven-year-old Lily spent HOURS playing on this train track after we built it. We put it together in the morning, and they were still playing after dinner.

Train-themed activities to go along with reading "The Polar Express".

I see our Christmas tree as a very special toy we get to have in the house for one month of the year. Adding the track adds another layer to my children’s enjoyment of the tree.

Build a Christmas train and other train-themed learning activities for kids.

Unlike model trains, which are set up and stay put together, I think we will see a lot of evolution on this track and its surrounding decor between now and Christmas. Especially since we will have to use at least part of the living room rug for other things between now and December 25th.

Train themed learning activities for preschool through early elementary.

 More Train Themed Learning Fun for Kids

The Polar Express was this week’s pick for the Virtual Book Club for Kids. As always, my co-hosts came up with fun train-themed learning activities to go along with this book! I also recommend  Silver Packages: An Appalachian Christmas Story as an alternate picture book to go with this theme.

Train Themed Literacy Activities

Train Themed Math Activities

Sensory Train Activities

Active Train Activities


2016-17 season virtual book club for kids books and activities

Click on the image above to see all of the themes, books, and activities for this year’s 2016-17 Virtual Book Club for Kids! I am updating the page as new posts go live.

Do you know of another fun train themed learning activity we should try? How about another book we need to read? Let me know in the comments. You can also share photos on my Facebook page, or tag me on Instagram

MaryAnne at Mama Smiles
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MaryAnne is a craft loving educator, musician, photographer, and writer who lives in Silicon Valley with her husband Mike and their four children.

8 thoughts on “Create Holiday Magic with This Easy Christmas Train”

  1. I’m with you on loving the Christmas trains around the tree. I got the Lego Christmas train set this year, and thought about putting it around the tree, but all of my kids vetoed that idea opting to put it up and take it down from the dining room table.

  2. Natalie PlanetSmartyPants

    I love how your tree serves as a centerpiece for play. We are looking forward to getting out our LEGO trains and LEGO sets this weekend and enjoying them over the break!

  3. Oh, MaryAnne, I sure miss our trainset. We gave ours away (or garage sale-d it; can’t remember) when the kids stopped playing with it and we wanted to make room for other things like Lego. I wish I hadn’t – this would’ve been such a fun Christmas thing. I keep forgetting that as they get older, there is a part of my kids that is still very young and moved by the simplest playthings. Thanks for the shot of nostalgia and good memories!

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