Thomas the Train Party Games

by Petra Turnbull

"Thomas and Friends" is an animated television series featuring a group of talking trains on an island. The characters are based upon The Railway Series of children's books by the Reverend W. V. Awdry and Christopher Awdry. The television series has been screened worldwide since 1984 and birthday parties with a "Thomas and Friends" theme are popular among boys of kindergarten and preschool age. There are several games that fit within the train theme.

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Guess the Train

Next to Thomas, there are several other trains and characters on the island and children know the names of most of them. Choose one player who pretends to be the Fat Controller -- the head of the railway. Let the child pick a train or character without saying the name aloud. All the other guests now ask 20 questions, all of which must be answered yes or no by the Fat Controller. The party guest who calls out the correct engine or character name becomes the Fat Controller in the next round.

The Conductor Says

In this special Thomas version of Simon Says, one child pretends to be the Fat Controller, whose real name is Sir Topham Hatt. The child pretending to be the Fat Controller will shout commands to the other party guests. The other children must follow the commands, but only when they start with the words "Sir Topham Hatt says." Anyone who moves when the Fat Controller fails to say "Sir Topham Hatt says" is out. The last child standing will become the new Controller.

Musical Train Seats

For this version of musical chairs, place seats in rows of twos as if in a train car. There should be one chair less than party guests. Get a whistle and turn on some music. Let the children dance to the music, but when you blow the whistle, they must sit down. The child who can't find a seat is out. Before the next round, remove another chair. The game continues until there is only one child left, who is the winner.

Get Coal

For this game you need to prepare two "tracks." Prepare a cardboard box as an engine shed at the end of each track. On the other end of each track, place a stack of "coal" in the form of crumpled newspapers. Divide the children into two groups and line them up in front of each of the engine sheds. A child from each team then runs the track, fetches a piece of coal and brings it back to his team's engine shed, and then the next child runs. The team that gathers all its coal first wins.

About the Author

Based in the U.K., Petra Turnbull has been working as a journalist since 1989. Her articles on the film and book trades have been published in "Screen International," "Dagens Naringsliv," "Film Magasinet" and other Scandinavian newspapers and magazines. She now manages her own book shop. Turnbull holds degrees in law and economics from Goethe University, Germany and Oslo Business School in Norway.

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