Alphabet Train Activity

Alphabet Train Activity

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Do you have a train-loving child in your home? My three-year-old adores trains. She spots them as we drive down the road and loves to watch them roll along the tracks.

For her birthday last year, she asked for a wooden train set. A year later, it’s still one of her favorite toys to play with. She’ll often set up a pretend village for the track to go through and use miniature figurines as the passengers. 

Her love for trains made me think about activities we could create using those train tracks. I know many other parents have these classic wooden tracks and trains lying around their house. Why not use simple items you already have to practice skills needed for preschool?

This Alphabet Train Activity is a breeze to set up and can be used to practice several skills. Whether your child is working on letter names, letter sounds, or basic reading skills, this is for you. 

So grab your child’s wooden train set and some alphabet magnets. Follow along to create this simple and fun Alphabet Train Activity. 

(Are you worried that your train set is old and dirty? Wooden toys are actually naturally antimicrobial and easy to clean! Check out these tips on how to safely clean wooden toys.)

Alphabet Train Activity: What You’ll Need

Alphabet Train Activity carrying a letter down the tracks.

We only used a few items to create this alphabet activity. No need for a special train table, but if you have one, I’m sure it will add to the fun. All you need is space to set up your tracks and these items:


How to Make the Alphabet Train Activity 

To set up the alphabet loading zone and tracks, follow these steps:

Step 1: Create a Loading Zone

Alphabet train activity loading dock.

I stacked wooden blocks up to create an alphabet loading zone. This is where your child will pick up the letters that need to be delivered on the other side of town. You can also just place the letters in a bowl or pile. 

Step 2: Setup the Tracks

Alphabet Train Activity carrying a letter down the tracks.

Create a large track of whatever shape you’d like. Your child will drive the train around the tracks to pick up letters and deliver them to the other side.   

Step 3: Lay Out Cookie Sheet

Alphabet Train Activity creating words on the cookie sheet.

Lay out a cookie sheet on the opposite side of the loading zone. Make sure the magnets will stick to the cookie sheet you chose. 

Time to Play

After that speedy setup is over, it’s time to play. There are several ways you can use this simple set. No matter what level your child is at, you’ll be able to find a way to use this activity.   

Letter Identification

Alphabet Train Activity carrying a letter down the tracks.

Being able to identify all of the letters of the alphabet is an essential skill for preschoolers. Call out letter names and have your child drive the train to the pickup pile to select the correct letter. You can also have your child pick up any letter and name it after selecting it. 

I love teaching the alphabet with 3-dimensional letters because it helps a child retain the information. When a child can see and touch the letters, it helps it stick. Much like our tactile alphabet cookies or braille alphabet tubs, this activity allows your child to use multiple senses with the letters.

Letter Sounds

Letter sounds are just as important as letter names. Try calling out letter sounds instead of names and having your child pick up the correct letter. If your child is just beginning to learn sounds, have them select any letter and repeat the sound after you as they drive it down the track. 

CVC Words 

Alphabet Train Activity creating words on the cookie sheet.

Simple CVC words make great practice words for budding readers. The simple consonant-vowel-consonant pattern is easy to sound out. Using the magnets and cookie sheet, your child can make a variety of CVC words. 

To do this, call out a simple CVC word, such as cat. Have your child drive to the pile and pick up the first sound in the word cat. Driving to the other side of the track, your child will place the letter on the cookie sheet and repeat until the whole word is spelled out. 

Practicing CVC words through games, like our CVC Word Snowball Toss, will keep kids engaged and excited about learning to read. 

Missing Letter Mission

Alphabet Train Activity carrying a letter down the tracks.

Isolating beginning, middle, or end sounds is crucial for reading success. Give your child extra practice by spelling out a word on the cookie sheet and leaving out either the beginning, middle, or end letter. Have your child hunt for the missing sound in the pile of letters and bring it over on the train.  

Name Spelling

Does your child know how to spell their name? This is a life skill that is frequently used in preschool. Your child will have a head start if they know the letters that make up their name. 

Your child can build their name on the cookie sheet using the magnetic letters. Depending on your child’s name, you may need to use several sets of magnetic letters. 

Number Identification

Switch out the alphabet magnets for number magnets to use this set for number identification. You can call out numbers for your child to find in the pile. Or you might have your child pick up the numbers in order and lay them in a number line on the cookie sheet. 

What Can I Use Instead of Letter Magnets?

Magnetic Wooden Alphabet Train Set
  • 27 Magnetic Wooden Alphabet & 42 Word Cards: Our alphabet train sets include 26 letter trains, 1 locomotive, 42 pcs flash cards and 1 storage bag, which is designed as the preschool learning activity sets for toddlers aged 3+. It is easy for kids to memorize words by combining the letter trains with the word cards. It is the indoor toys that are suitable for various places. Kids can play alone at home or with other children in the kindergarten
  • Learning Educational Toys: Learning in happiness. Our toys are designed for 3-5 years old kids toddlers boys girls. It is not only entertaining, but also practice children’s logical thinking, cognitive skills, hand-eye coordination and concentration. What’s more, it can be used as an interact toy, parents can interact with their baby through the train with double-sided word cards, so it is a good way for parents to strengthen the bond between parents and children
  • Safe and Premium Quality: Wooden alphabet train toy is made of sturdy and durable natural wooden material, which is non-toxic, odorless and Environmentally friendly. Besides, we take advantage of innovation technology to manufacture round edge train part, The wheels on the bottom of the letters have been strengthened to prevent the wheels from accidentally falling off which has no sharp so that children can be carefree to enjoy themselves hilariously.
  • Special Mighty Magnet Design: Our expectation is that you and your child will have a wonderful play experience. That’s why the magnets on our wooden train sets have been extensively tested and carefully selected according to specialized criteria, which means that ours will have a stronger suction than the magnets in other train sets. As the child arranges the ABC train toys correctly, a strong magnetic is created between the magnets of the train, which connects the letters together

If you don’t have letter magnets, no problem! You can use alphabet stickers or sticky notes with the letters written on them. Have your child lightly stick the letters to the train and place them on a piece of paper or tray at the end of the track.  

You might also have fun playing with an alphabet train set that uses letters for the train cars!

What Other Ways Can I Teach Letter Names and Sounds?

Letters are all around and you don’t need special games to introduce them to your child. Try pointing out letters on road signs or packages in the grocery store. This will tune your child into the world of letters around them. 

If you’re looking for unique activities or games, try our Feed the Bunny Alphabet Game or some of our preschool literacy activities. We like to play a game of Go Fish with alphabet match flash cards. On warm days, we’ll draw letters on the driveway with chalk and play alphabet freeze dance. 

What Else Can I Add to this Alphabet Train Activity? 

Magnetic letters aren’t the only thing you can use with a wooden train set. Try adding any of these items to extend the playtime:   

  • Wooden blocks (My kids like to create buildings and bridges around the set using blocks.)
  • Small figurines 
  • Miniature artificial trees
  • Wooden train table

What Are the Benefits of Playing With Wooden Train Tracks? 

Wooden trains and tracks are classic childhood toys. They’ve stood the test of time and have proven to be among the best toys for children despite their lack of batteries, lights, and sounds. What makes wooden train tracks so great for children?

Here are a few benefits your child will receive: 

Builds Fine Motor Skills 

Pushing the little train cars along the track takes effort and attention. Your child’s fine motor muscles are working hard as they grab the train and move it along the grooves in the track. Each time your child picks up a letter and sticks it to the train, the small muscles in their hand have to coordinate to pinch and push. 

Fine motor activities for preschoolers don’t have to be difficult or elaborate. Playing with Unicorn Sensory Rice, cutting paper, or playing lacing games are all great ways to strengthen those muscles. You can also use items you have on hand, such as playdough, to create activities like our Rainbow Playdough Cutting Station

Provides Sensory Exploration 

Children constantly receive sensory input and make connections about the world around them. Through the five senses, a child learns what things taste, smell, sound, look, and feel like. The chunky, three-dimensional letters provide tactile input about what letter shapes look like. 

The sight of the letter on the cookie sheet helps children form mental pictures of letters and words. The sounds of the train pushing forward on the track and the letters clicking on the magnet spark interest in science. Sensory play is a great way to encourage innovation, problem-solving, and exploration. 

Sparks Creativity

Pretend play is an important piece in the stages of play. Pretend play, such as playing with train sets, encourages a child to imagine new scenes and ways to play. This creativity will help them think outside the box in their adult careers. 

What Other Ways Can I Enrich This Activity? 

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • Bill Martin Jr. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 32 Pages – 08/01/2000 (Publication Date) – Beach Lane Books (Publisher)

If your little one loves trains and alphabet letters, try any of these activities:

  • Read the book Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. 
  • Draw letters on the driveway using chalk
  • Use thin pretzel sticks to create train tracks at snack time
  • Roll the wooden train wheels through paint and then roll on paper to create a train track painting
Alphabet Train Activity

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