Hi Conductor!

November 22nd, 2009 by Dionna | 9 Comments
Posted in Children, Eclectic Learning, Just for Fun/Miscellaneous, My Family, Preschoolers, Toddlers

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Kieran is obsessed with trains. It started when we discovered a local railroad depot less than ten minutes from our house. We visit the tracks frequently. Kieran likes to walk up and down the tracks making train noises. He loves climbing on the old caboose they have displayed, and he is interested in the rusty old railroad spikes we occasionally find in between the railroad ties.

2009-07-10 05“choo-choooo!”

Trains still run at our depot, and we were lucky enough to witness a big old BNSF freight train go by the first time we visited. Kieran was floored by the enormity of the cars and the sound of the wheels rushing by on the track. But what really set his train obsession in motion was the conductor – when Kieran waved at him, the conductor stuck his arm out the window and waved back.

2009-10-18 05

From then on, every time he saw, heard, talked about, sang about, or thought about a train he happily sang out “hiiiiiiiiiiii duc-duhhhhh!” (which means “Hi Conductor” in NeeNee speak).

We had to relearn our terminology after a particularly fortuitous encounter at the depot last month. My mom came to town for a visit, and Kieran insisted that we take her to see the train tracks. (Aside: I love it when Kieran gets an idea that is completely his own. No one suggested we take Grandma to see the train, that was simply Kieran sharing something he enjoys with a person he loves.)

When we pulled up, we were surprised to see several other cars in the tiny parking lot. The station was also open – something that I had never seen before. We quickly deduced that we were going to see a passenger train. When the Amtrak passenger train came chugging slowly around the bend, Kieran was transfixed. He was ecstatic when the train stopped and the conductor got out to let people on.

Kieran was able to peer into the train and hear the conductor say “All Aboard!” The conductor also spoke directly to Kieran, encouraging him to get a ticket and ride the train soon.

Now we know that the engineer drives the train and the conductor takes tickets. We also know that there are freight cars, passenger cars, tanker cars, engines, and cabooses. Whenever we see a train book at the library, we grab it. Our current favorites are A Train Goes Clickety-Clack and Hey, Mr. Choo-Choo Where Are You Going?

I was lucky enough to snag a box of wooden train tracks at a garage sale this summer for less than $5, and we currently have two wooden train pieces that we got free during a promotional giveaway. For his birthday (or Christmas) we are giving him this wooden train from Melissa and Doug toys this wooden train from Plan Toys.

But the best train present he’ll get this year will be part of a co-op class I am offering in December – we are going to ride the passenger train. Tom is taking the afternoon off of work, and we’ll do a round trip Lee’s Summit to Union Station and back. I cannot wait to see the expression on his face when we hear “All Aboard!” from the inside.

Perhaps my favorite part of his train obsession is the train song. We do “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad” quite frequently, and Kieran likes to sing along.

Do you have a favorite train book or activity? I am always looking for new suggestions! I’m also in search of some arts/crafts activities to do on our next Monday Funday – let me know if you have a good craft for toddlers.

9 Responses to:
"Hi Conductor!"

  1. DT

    Oh man. I nearly cried from laughing at that video.

  2. Mom

    You have no idea how I love these videos..it feeds my Kieran hunger until I get up there to see him again!!! Give my little engineer a big hug and kiss from his Grandma!!!

  3. Katje Sabin

    We spent many, many hours exploring Union Station, far and away one of our all-time favorite KC spots. There’s a Santa Train that pulls in every year… quite the sight! US is open 24 hours; we spent several sleepless nights wandering the giant, echoing halls and watching rainstorms from the bridge (also a great place to just trainwatch anytime). There are fabulous model trains set up during Christmas, and several that are there year-round. Go talk to the old guys when they’re doing repairs in the off-hours… they’ll run special trains for your kids just to show off. Their gift shop also has a TON of train-related gear. And of course the Rail Experience is an amazing train-lovers destination.

    If you are ever in the Sacramento, CA area, you MUST visit the California Rail Museum in Old Sac. It’s seriously the absolute BEST rail place I’ve ever seen… and with three boys all as train-crazy as your little guy, I’ve seen quite a few!

  4. wendybird

    Hi. I’m a friend of your mother’s from xanga.

    The wooden trains and track sets? Priceless. I think I enjoyed them as much as my kids did. The skills involved as they learn to piece tracks together: planing ahead, spacial relationships, halves, quarters, parts of a curve, adding and subtracting cars… a GREAT developmental tool that is OH so fun!

    Don’t forget other songs: Little red caboose, and Down by the station, and oh, there are a million of them.

    Two other train books that jump to mind are Polar Express and the Little Engine that Could.

    Have fun. They grow up too fast.

  5. Dionna   CodeNameMama

    Darin – I just emailed you, we need to chat so you can laugh live!

    Mom – Shawna will have stories when she gets home I’m sure :)

    Katje – he loved the big trains they had set up last year in Union Station, even though he was barely a toddler. I can’t wait to take him this year!

    Wendy – thank you for coming by :) I definitely need to look up more train songs, Kieran loves music and singing.

  6. MelissaAnn

    I hadn’t seen that plan toys train yet! That is on our list now, thanks!
    We went for a train ride on Sam’s birthday. It was awesome! Only problem now, is he when he hears a train in the distance he KNOWS he could ride it if we could just find it. Yesterday I was buckling him in the carseat and he said, “Train! (listening to a distant one) Hurry Mamma! Find (it)!”

    • MelissaAnn

      also… give us a call if you ever want to play trains or go see some trains (at U.S.), etc… We are into them big time here, too.

  7. Emily

    That video was ridiculously cute.

  8. raegan

    there is an awesome alphabet book that is all based on trains…types of train cars, crossings, etc. khary absolutely begged and begged for it when we got it (multiple times) from the kcmo library. it’s “all aboard ABC” by doug magee.

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