Happy Healthy Childhoods - Child Care Blog

Happy Healthy Childhoods

Child Care Blog

Circus Train on Suspension Bridge

Tammy Aronson, the director at Joseph H Messina Children’s Center in Fort Myers recently told me about two of her teachers named Sabrina and Kimberly who decided to build a circus train in their classroom.

After some of their students had seen the circus, they were absolutely thrilled about it! So in order to capitalize on their children’s enthusiasm and to turn it into a learning experience, Sabrina and Kimberly seized the moment.

If you’re looking for preschool craft ideas, this is a great one!

I’ll let Sabrina tell the story.

I think it was back in November of 2012 that the circus arrived here in Fort Myers. A few of our children were fortunate enough to be able to go see it. The children couldn’t stop talking about what they saw at the circus when they got to class the next day.

Jazmin, one of the children that  got to go, even brought some pictures in that her family took at the circus. When Jazmin showed the class the pictures and explained what was happening in them, the class wouldn’t stop talking about it.

This interest sparked our circus project. We then made a project web where we discuss how we could take this topic and have it represented in each learning center in the class room.

We also listed different questions that we wanted to answer throughout the project. One of those questions had to do with the traveling aspect of the circus.

After reading about circus trains we decided to make one of our own. If you’re thinking about creating a circus train in your own pre-school classroom, hopefully this will help. :)

Here are the steps we took to create our circus train:

  1. We began collecting cardboard boxes, like cereal boxes and cracker boxes.
  2. We then colored in different pictures of our favorite circus animals
    1. Cut out openings in the boxes
    2. Pasted the animal pictures
    3. Used straws to represent the bars
  3. We decided to glue Popsicle sticks together to make the track. Due to the size of the train, we had to suspend the train from the ceiling.
  4. We used string to suspend the track and saw that it would flip as soon as we put the boxes on it.
  5. After some more class brainstorming, questioning, and reading we realized that we’d have to suspend it, the same way bridges are suspended.

Once we changed the positioning of the strings we had a beautiful suspended circus train!

After this experience, Ms Kimmie and I noticed that our students had a major interest in suspension bridges and trains. We’re hoping to coordinate a class room visit by an engineer so that the children can learn even more!

On February 27th, Cory Owen, one of our students’ parents, was nice enough to come in early and paint some faces and Laughing Jack the Clown showed us some tricks and gave out balloon animals.

All of the photos below were taken during their Circus Closing Celebration. Click on each to see a larger photo. As our teachers come up with more craft ideas for their preschoolers, we’ll be happy to share them with you.

If your children live in Southwest Florida, we have six child care centers where they can partake in these creative learning activities too. All of our early learning centers build the learning curriculum around the children’s interests.

The most important piece of learning is to engage the children in something THEY are interested in first and build the curriculum around that topic.

For more information or for a tour, please contact us online or call (239) 278-1002.

-Beth Lobdell

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