If you have a child fascinated by trains or are looking for a project having to do with transportation, there are a variety of railroad crossing crafts for children. Use craft supplies you probably already have, or take the youngsters on-site for some up-close inspiration, when leading kids in these crafts. Not only will the youngsters showcase their creative sides but they'll also learn valuable lessons about road and train safety.
Help children recognize that a railroad crossing is ahead by leading them in a coloring activity based on the roadside warning sign. For younger children, draw or print-out an outline of the railroad crossing sign, which is circular with an X through the middle and an R on the left and right side. You can print a copy for free from the ABC Teach website, found in the Resources section. Older children can draw the warning symbol themselves if you show them a picture of what the sign looks like. Instruct the youngsters to color in the background of the sign yellow and the X and Rs black.
Children can construct a miniature version of a railroad crossing sign using wooden craft sticks. Show the youngsters how to use one vertical stick as the post of the design, and how to break another stick in half to use as a cross at the top of the post. Paint or markers can be used to write "Railroad" and "Crossing" down either of the crossed sticks. Add a red-and-white colored Popsicle stick across the middle of the post to represent the dropping protective arm of the railroad crossing. Place a brass paper fastener through this arm and the post so that the arm can pivot up and down.
Kids can practice what to do at a railroad crossing by creating a life-sized version of the sign and a protective dropping arm. Use cardboard to draw the general shape of the designs, including the long post and the X on top. Show children how to attach them with glue and instruct them to paint the sign with poster paints. Separately, create the red and white arm of the device, also with cardboard. When it's finished, have children practice what to do at the railroad crossing with one child holding up the post and another operating the cardboard arm. Ask these operators to make a bell sound and put down the arm when an imaginary train approaches.
Show older children how a railroad crossing operates in real life by taking them to local train tracks. Find a safe place near the railroad crossing, such as in a nearby park, that has a clear view of the crossing. Give each child a notebook and pencil or even an easel and array of paints. Ask them to watch how the train system works, then to draw or paint the scene as it unfolds before their eyes. For an extra educational angle, invite someone from the city to talk to the children about train safety as they create their crafts.
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