Friday, November 23, 2012

Drawing diagrams of trains and keeping carriages in order

My three year old likes to have his train built in a certain way. He can get very upset when it is broken or when we have to put it away. I had been thinking of a way to help him with this and came up with a matching and sorting activity. We have a wooden train with 13 carriages and engines of four different colours. Using paper and crayons I showed my son how we could draw a diagram of the train and record how the carriages are positioned.
Boy with train carriage

First we organised all the carriages according to colour. B loves catagorising things at the moment and enjoyed seeing them all lined up neatly.

Then we counted them and drew the right number of boxes on a piece of paper.

Diagram ready to be coloured
Then B built a train. Together we coloured the boxes, well, I did most of the colouring. He prefers line drawings at the moment. I decided that the idea of the activity was to talk about diagrams, and colouring was a secondary and less important skill at this moment.
Finished train
Then he decided to make a little change. So we drew the boxes again and coloured them accordingly. He was very pleased.
Two slightly different trains
I hope to add to our list of trains in the future, if he builds different trains. But at the moment, he likes them in this order, so in this order they go!

It was lovely to talk about the differences in the carriages and how they should go together.  I’m sure my little boy developed some important skills as we
  • talked about colour, shape and size
  • created a picture diagram of something real.
  • matched carriages as we built a train.

He also get less upset when the train is damaged as he knows it can be easily put together again - in the same order!

Little Red Caboose and Dad Playing Guitar

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