Train Math Activities

Written by Mommy Cameron | Homeschooling

Thing 1 is obsessed with trains.  On a daily basis you can find him playing trains, begging you to play trains, drawing trains, begging you to draw trains or reading about trains.  With this weeks theme being transportation, I knew we would  have a day with trains.  Since we are doing kind of an off week as I restructure our home school, I am focusing more on the fun activities as opposed to some of the other things that are not as much fun (like handwriting). 

Today we did two math train activities.  We did both of these activities using our wooden Thomas the Tank Engine trains, but you could use paper trains or even cars.

Engine Shed Game


numbered parking spaces {HERE}
I die {6 sided or 12 sided}

To Play:

We used the 12 sided die, so I would roll the die and call out the number.  He would drive his car to the appropriate numbered engine shed.

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If you are using a 6 sided die that only has dots (not numerals) then you can let your kiddo roll the die, count the dots, then park his train.  {This was going to be my plan with Thing 2, but he took a much needed nap today.}

You could also turn this into an addition activity by using multiple dice and changing the numbers on the board accordingly.

Making Trains


at least one 6 sided die
trains (or cars)

To Play:

Take turns rolling the die.  The number that you roll corresponds to the number of “coaches” (trains) that you get to add to your train.  At the end of 6 rounds.  You add up the total number of trains to see who has the longest train.

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This game was a big hit.  What made it even better is that it introduced several math concepts.  The first was one to one correspondence, in counting the dots on the die as well as at the end when we counted all the trains.  Secondly, it introduced the idea of addition.  Lastly, we talked about measurement, because some trains are longer than other trains, so you couldn’t just look at the trains to see who won, you had to count. 

We played this game several times and we probably would have played a little more, but after I beat Thing 1 for the third time, he was done and just wanted to play. 

Can you think of any other variations to these games?

I linked up at:

Comments: 16

  1. We have a ton of trains this would be great for Emily to do with Juliette! Thanks for sharing :0) I like the idea of the addition too.

    • I hope they enjoy it. My original plan was to have my oldest two boys play together, but it figures that my middle son decide to take a rare nap that day.

  2. Kim S. says:

    I have a little train enthusiast that has been reluctant to learn his numbers… I think this might catch his eye. Thanks for sharing. Followed your link from Show and Tell.

    • I hope it works. My son has asked to play every day since Monday to play it again.

  3. Rachel says:

    Wow! When you said you had a lot of trains you weren’t kidding – Z-man, my fella would be green with envy if he saw them! Love the use of dice to incorporate math – I found you through It’s Playtime.

    • Thanks for stopping by! This activity made me realize how many trains we really do have and what is even more eye opening is that after we played this, I found even more trains.

  4. The amount that he’s learning from that last game is incredible. Beautifully put together! I love this idea and shared it on FB 🙂 Thanks so much!

    • I’m gald to hear it is working out so well and thank you for passing it along. Have a great weekend!

  5. Marcia says:

    Very clever…and lots of fun! Cool idea.
    Marcia 🙂

  6. I like the activities you have done, my son loves trains too. Greetings from Italy

  7. Sue says:

    Have you ever played Train Dominos with the kids, great game, under $20.00 dollars and you get 8 tiny coloured trains plus 91 coloured dominos and a train station with a button that makes the sound of a train going down the track (kind of annoying after the 5th time the button is pressed but the batteries wear out eventually). Great game for matching, counting, strategy, decision making, addition, recognizing number patterns etc.