Storytime at Home: Trains

Posted about 4 months ago by Sarah Fenninger

Welcome to the Storytime at Home series! Every other week, we share a list of book options tied to a kid-approved theme, a craft you can set up to go along with the theme, songs/rhymes you can do during storytime, and additional enrichment activities. All books are available at Richmond Public Library, and crafts will involve items you likely have at home already! Our hope is that we can make it easy for you to share stories with your little ones and create a little bit of library magic at home. 

P.S. Love library storytimes? Take a look at all in-library storytime options here. There is a storytime for your child every morning at our various branches!

Okay, now to the fun stuff…

Trains seem to be universally loved by young children, and this topic is sure to please. You can make so many fun train sounds and even chug around your house like a train yourself! The library has many wonderful train book options, and we’ve included some of our favorites below. When you visit, you can also search ‘trains’ in our catalog, or ask a librarian to help you find the perfect one for you and your child.

Reading to your kiddos turns them into confident thinkers. Making books a regular part of your daily routine is a great way to build children’s love of reading and learning. Storytimes also help build excitement around reading to support their literacy development. 

Here are a few book options you can choose from for your train-themed storytime.

There are many ways to make reading fun and engaging for your little one! Click the arrow below to see some of our favorite tips for bringing stories to life at home.

Click here to see some of our favorite reading tips
  • Point at the pictures and ask your child what they see. Help build their vocabulary by pointing to pictures and saying the word aloud. 
  • Ask your child questions about the story: What do you think will happen next? How do you think this character is feeling? This character is going to the park; do you remember when we went to the park? 
  • Read with expression and enthusiasm, and use different voices for different characters. 
  • Act out what’s happening in the story. For example, encourage your child to make train sounds as you read them. 
  • As your child gets older, count objects in a book, discuss the different colors they see, point out shapes in the story, etc. 
  • Snuggle up and be patient. Reading is great bonding time for you and your child. Take your time walking them through the story. If your child wants to turn the page or be finished with reading, that’s OK too. You don’t have to read every word or even every page for reading with your little one to be beneficial for their development. 

We love adding songs and rhymes to our storytimes. This is a great way to practice language with your child and support their physical (motor) development through movement. 

Here are two songs and rhymes you can use for this themed storytime.

Rhyme: Choo Choo Train
Do the motions in italics as you are singing

Choo-choo-choo-choo, The train puffs down the track. (Bend arms at elbows and imitate chugging)
Now it’s going forward. (Chug leaning forward)
Now it’s chugging back. (Chug arms back to sitting position)
Now the bell is ringing. (Imitate ringing clapper of bell)
Now the whistle blows. (Imitate pulling chain of train whistle up and down)
Chugging, chugging, chugging, chugging. (Move bent arms back and forth)
Down the track it goes! (Fall down toward the floor)

Sing: Down By The Station
Down by the station early in the morning
See the little train cars all in a row
See the engine driver pull the little whistle (mime pulling the whistle down)
Toot toot – chug chug – off they go

Adding a craft along with a book is a great way to continue allowing your child to learn, explore, and grow. Crafts are a nice supplement as they encourage motor development, creativity, self-confidence, and more. 

In fact, art and craft activities:

  • Build fine motor skills. Actions such as painting, coloring, gluing, and cutting develop small muscles in small hands and improve coordination skills as children learn to use both hands at the same time. 
  • Support early literacy. When children make art, they learn vocabulary and how to follow directions when getting verbal instructions from parents and caregivers. They also boost their communication skills via talking about their work!
  • Teach early math concepts. Math skills are used frequently in arts and crafts. Kids learn about and recognize different shapes, count and sort art supplies, and even measure out materials. 
  • Encourage creativity. Art helps develop creativity, self-expression, problem-solving, and curiosity. 
  • Boost self-esteem. Doing arts and crafts can give children a sense of achievement and allow them to take pride in their work, which builds confidence. 
  • Offer bonding time. Kids love spending quality time with parents and caregivers, and arts and crafts are a great opportunity for this.

Here is a craft activity you can do along with the train theme. 

Materials Needed

  • Colored construction paper OR various colored paints
  • White construction paper or cardstock
  • Option: pom-poms, q-tips, cotton balls, packing peanuts
  • Black marker
  • Glue


  • Draw train tracks on the white sheet of paper
  • If using paper…
    • Cut out rectangles in various colors
    • Cut out an engine as well
    • Give your child the rectangles, engine, and paper with track on it
    • Have them place the train cars along the track
    • Glue all paper to the paper
    • (Optional) Use paint to add wheels to the train. Your child can use their finger, fat end of a marker, etc. to make dots.
  • If using paint…
    • Give your child various colors of paint
    • Help them add train cars but using their fingers to stamp out each color (you can also use cotton balls, pom-poms, packing peanuts, etc. to stamp the paint)
    • Use finger or q-tip to add wheels to each car
    • Use pom pom to add coming from engine smoke if desired
    • Add details to the train with a marker if desired

The fun doesn’t have to end at books, songs, and a craft. There are many ways to enrich a storytime with additional activities and lessons. Here are a few ideas for you and your child: 

  • Sing “I’ve Been Working On The Railroad”
  • Create stuffed animal “trains” at home, build trains using play dough, or tie a rope to a laundry basket and go on a train ride around the house
  • Draw train tracks on a sidewalk with chalk and go down the tracks in various ways (jumping, bear crawling, hopping, tip-toeing, etc.)
  • Go ride the train at Short Pump Shopping Center
  • Visit the Richmond Railroad Museum
  • Visit the Science Museum of Virginia and see the trains outside
  • Visit Ashland to see trains chugging right through the town
    • Bonus: Take an Amtrak train from Staples Mill Station to Ashland (about a 12 minute ride)
  • Visit Barnes and Noble (5501 W Broad St, Richmond, VA 23230) and play with the train table in the children’s section
  • Make a train-themed snack for your child like the one below

We share these Storytime at Home posts twice a month, so be sure to check back soon for more. You can also search “#storytimeathome” to see all past posts.

Sarah Fenninger

Sarah Fenninger is a lifelong book worm and library lover, and an enthusiastic appreciator of puns, creative outlets, silliness, and FUN. She considers herself lucky to be able to combine all of these things into a role as a Library Associate in Youth Services and Outreach with Richmond Public Library. Sarah loves interactive children's books and singing songs that promote motor development and movement. When she's not at work preparing crafts or reading silly books about dinosaurs in underwear, Sarah can be found at one of Richmond's many local parks/trails and spending time with family, including her husband, daughter, cat, and two chickens.

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