Train Counting Puzzle

Does your little one love trains?  How about puzzles?  Let’s add some counting to the mix for good measure, and we get a Train Counting Puzzle.  My inspiration for this was the Caterpillar Counting Puzzle I talked about yesterday.

This is what we did.

I cut three cereal boxes into squares/rectangles.  I thought Jamie’s idea for painting in a baggy was a brilliant idea.  So we tried it.

Aiden pretty much hated it.  I tried to sell the idea by showing him how the paint squished around.  I even pulled out a rolling pin so he could flatten it.  Yeah, not so much.  He wanted to use a paint brush.  This didn’t work in the baggy, so he just opened the bag and that was the end of that brilliant idea.  Maybe it will work for you though.  Jamie’s toddler loved it.

I gave in and let Aiden paint with a sponge brush not in a baggy.  I squirted some paint onto the cardboard and he went to town asking for more paint ever so often.

Aiden would choose to have all of the colors on every cardboard piece if I let him.  Did you notice that on his paper bag art piece?  Most everything he paints turns out gray.

I carefully limited his color choices so we would be able to vary the colors of the train.  I did let him use all of the colors on a couple of the pieces.

I painted edges after Aiden was done painting each cardboard piece.

We let the cardboard pieces dry while we went off to play.

Later, I turned our painted pieces into train cars and an engine.  I rounded corners on some of the cars and cut various shapes out to make the train.  I had a super fun time cutting out the circles.  I had a few circles leftover from our Valentine Matching Games, but not enough for all of the train.  I should have pulled out my Silhouette to let it cut out the circles for me.  Instead I traced the bottom of a paint bottle and cut the circles by hand.

I put together the engine and glued on the wheels.

Now for the puzzle creating part.  I just cut out a random shape from a train car and attached it to the car/engine in front with a skinny rectangle in between.While I was turning the train into a puzzle, Aiden decided it would be a good idea to color on the train cars with crayons.  Who am I to stop him?

I put the train puzzle in order and numbered the cars.  Then, I added animal stickers to each car.  Train car number 1 received one bear sticker, train car number 2 was allowed two snake stickers, etc…  Aiden was off doing something else at this point, otherwise I would have had him add the stickers to the train cars.

That’s it!  Aiden put the train together and we counted the animals as he did this.  Then, he decided it would be fun to march around the train to “The Ants Go Marching,” so, of course, I broke out in song so he could march.

Left click on the train image to view a bigger size.

We paired the train counting puzzle with some books as well.

We read 1, 2, 3 to the Zoo by Eric Carle  {It’s a counting book about a train full of animals – how fitting!}

We also read Skippyjon Jones 1, 2, 3 {a board book that counts some of the things a naughty kitty gets into}

Lastly, we read a Thomas the Train lift the flap book.  No numbers or counting in this one {except for the numbers on Thomas and James}, but it is fun to see the things under the flaps.  You could always count the things you find.

I’m linking up with my favorite places.

What are your favorite train or counting books? {bonus for both}


Handmade Christmas

This year I decided to make a lot of the gifts we gave people.

I used Shutterfly to make photo books of Aiden’s first 2 years for his grandparents.  Here’s a sample of some of my favorite pages.

I painted a shirt with dandelions for my niece. {I wish I had a picture for you!!}
I had intentions of painting a shirt for my other niece but her shirt was ruined by ink in the washer! The shirt I found for her was red and had cute rufflie sleeves – there was only one. I was so sad the ink destroyed it. I always check pockets. I think the pen was just in the pile of clothes…my Aiden probably put it there.
I made my niece a necklace instead. {Wrapped without taking a picture, too!}

Patrick, Aiden, and I made cookies for everyone.  I forgot to tape one of the cookie tins, so the cookies fell out when they were shipped.  Good thing I sent them more than one tin!

We made tons of ornaments.
We did salt dough.


This one is stamped with an owl. Aiden loves owls!

We did thumbprints in clay inspired by Stephanie’s post here.


Aiden’s thumbprints and initials.

 We filled, painted, and glittered glass balls.  See my inspirations here.


I made Christmas cards using Aiden’s drawings.  See post here.

My favorite thing I made was a set of birds inspired by Jessica Jane’s ornament tutorial.


The lighting in my apartment is horrendous! New house next week!!

I had so much fun creating this Christmas season!  How about you?


Making Cards with Toddler Art

Aiden loves to color.

I wanted to share his art with our family back in Missouri, but I didn’t just want to mail the coloring pages to them.  I thought it would be fun to incorporate his art into our Christmas cards!

I let Aiden color on several pages of cardstock – all different colors.  {We did this over several days – I’m not a mean mama who made him slave away in one sitting…}

Then, I cut out shapes with my Silhouette machine.

For some of the cards, I simply added a star to the inside of the card – a small touch of Aiden.

I also made a few using his coloring page as the main background.  I cut out different shapes and stamped ”Merry Christmas” on the outside.  I added some glitter for sparkly fun.


A nice message and bible verse is on the inside (and a few more cut out stars colored by Aiden).

I added one more picture on the back, a little stamp, and note saying the artwork was by Aiden.

I hope everyone likes their cards!

{I think I’ll save one for myself.}

Enjoying this Christmas season!  Much love,