My son Oliver has always been a train fanatic. Instead of watching episodes of Thomas the Train or Chuggington, he would watch YouTube videos of trains—steam trains, maglevs, even Amtraks—chugging down the tracks. So the rails chapter in my new book, Project Kid: Crafts that Go! was really a no-brainer.
If you have a kiddo in your life that knows what shunting, huffing, puffing, and coupling tenders means, then I think this craft might be a must-make for you!
What you’ll need:
- T wo 5-foot long, 1-by-2-inch oak planks
- 60 Popsicle sticks
- Black and white acrylic paint
- Painter’s tape
- White pencil
- Measuring tape
- Wood glue
- Six 1-inch wood circles
- 3⁄4-inch number stamps
- Red ink pad
- 2 small D-rings
- 2 screws to suit your wall
- 1 red tongue depressor
- Washi tape
1. Paint the oak planks and Popsicle sticks black. Let dry.
2. Lay the oak planks on the floor, skinny side down, 2 inches apart. (Use painter’s tape to secure them to the floor at each end so they can’t move.)
3. Starting at the one end of each plank, make marks every inch with a white pencil.
4. Glue a Popsicle stick across the two planks at every inch mark. Let dry, undisturbed, for 30 minutes.
5. Stamp numbers 1 through 6 on the wood circles.
6. Glue the “1” circle to the very first rung. Have the child count up twelve rungs, to the point where he should glue the second foot marker. Continue until you reach 6 feet.
7. Once the glue is dry, flip over the growth chart and have an adult hammer the D-rings into the top back side of each rail.
8. Measuring so that the bottom of the growth chart is 1 foot above the ground, insert the screws at the point where the D-rings hit the wall and hang the chart from them.
9. To make the railroad-crossing gate, paint white diagonal stripes on the red tongue depressor. Once the paint is dry, glue it to one flat side of the clothespin, lining up one end of the tongue depressor with the pinching end of the clothespin. Use this to mark the height of your child on the corresponding railroad tie.
10. Use the washi tape to mark children’s heights on the wall. Write their names and ages on the tape.
Excerpted from Project Kid: Crafts that Go! by Amanda Kingloff (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2016. Photographs by Alexandra Grablewski and Amanda Kingloff