Friday, August 23, 2013

Fingerplay Fun Friday!

Choo! Choo!!  Here's a rhyme all about trains: Down By the Station

Down By the Station

Down by the station
Early in the morning
See the little puffer-bellies
All in a row
See the engine master
Pull his little lever

Puff, puff
Toot, toot
Off we go!!


This should come as no surprise.. toddlers and preschoolers love trains!   Perhaps it is the orderliness of it all.  Trains ride upon very specific routes, predetermined by their tracks.  There isn't much room for them to veer off.  As children begin to make sense of the world around them, it can be comforting for them to know that some things follow very specific rules and orders.  Check out this NY Times article about the very special place trains have in the lives of many children on the autism spectrum.

I like this rhyme because it has some fun vocabulary.  "Puffer-bellies" is an old-fashioned name for steam locomotives.  Here is a great video that shows over 35 minutes of steam locomotives in action: Four Seasons of Steam

Another great vocabulary word is "lever".  A lever is a simple machine that lets someone move an object in one location by pressing/pulling/applying pressure on another location.  Here is a picture of a brake lever from a diesel locomotive:

Borrowed from: http://locomotive.wikia.com/wiki/Brake_Lever
 And here is a picture of another familiar lever:


When children hear lots of words it helps them build their vocabulary.  It is easier for children with large vocabularies to learn how to read because they are able to understand or make sense out of the words they sound out.

First hand experiences in the real world give kids the opportunity to build their vocabularies.  The Oregon Rail Heritage Center (open Thursday-Sunday from 1pm-5pm) is located in Portland near OMSI and is a great way for kids to learn lots of new words and see some steam locomotives up close!!

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