Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Making the Polar Express

The Polar Express is one of my favorite books.  Building the Polar Express is one of my favorite activities to do with children.  All that is required is a box, paper, markers, tape, bells, and an imagination.

Sometimes we spend so much time trying to make our dramatic play center just perfect that we forget what they are all about . . . creativity, imagination, language, and play.  Throw in some books and some tickets and you add reading and writing to their play too.

The Polar Express train in the picture above is my favorite as my grandsons and I built it together.  It's our first of hopefully many more to come. Since they are young, I decided to cut small pieces of duct tape and put all over the box.  My grandson chose bells and ribbons along with some repurposed circles I had saved from a craft box.  They had fun taking the bells on and off and repositioning them to get them "just right."

We also added "windows" to our train using black construction paper to make it "dark." My grandson wanted rope for the train (red paper by wheels).  I asked him how we were going to make rope and he said with the red paper.  I cut long strips and he started twisting it like rope.  Young children are so creative.

When we finished the train, we sang Jingle Bells and read some stories.  Of course getting in and out of the train is the most fun and you need a new ticket each time. My favorite quote of the day came from my 3 year old grandson: "Nana K we need one of those tall things for our train."

I was going to get poster board for our "tall thing" but I stopped and asked. "What does the tall thing look like?" Reply:  "Like a man taking the tickets!"  He was referring to the conductor.

We recently took a ride on the official Polar Express Train in our area. And from my grandson's eyes, he was tall!  And he was also an amazingly fun conductor.  Unfortunately, I couldn't grant my grandson's wish of bringing that conductor to our house so we just pretended that I was the conductor and took the tickets. We also brainstormed what we would need to dress up like the conductor.  Pretend play is such a great time to build vocabulary while having fun too!


This week will mark one year from the hardest time in my life so far.  I lost my mother to cancer on December 21, 2013 and the week leading up to it was gut-wrenching.  My Mom was awesome. We didn't have much money growing up, but I didn't know it.  We used our imagination to create all kinds of things to play with.  My Mom was the best Grandma.  She could take a box and turn it into hours of fun for my own children.  My children have the best memories of time spent with their Grandma.

So this week, I am remembering my Mom in the way that she would want - preparing for her favorite holiday and making memories to last a lifetime for my own grandchildren.  

During this busy, hectic holiday season, remember to take the time to make your own lasting memories with the special people in your life.  I am so thankful for the many wonderful ones that my Mom made for me and my children.

Thanks for stopping by!

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