Who didn’t love trains as a child! We all did, and this is probably because kids learn through play and such imposing iron monsters are a great opportunity for it. Just go back to your days as a youngster and try to relive the memory of the first time you saw a train. What were you paying attention to? Was it the wheels? The car connectors? The way the cars aligned on the track? The way they move? There are many great movies about trains, and the three we’re about to discuss are appropriate for younger children.
The Polar Express (2004)
The plot of this film, based on the book by Chris Van Allsburg, centers around a boy who wants to meet Santa and so he boards the Polar Express and begins the journey to the North Pole. His experience is life-changing, thanks to the many special people he encounters during his journey. They all help him maintain his decreasing faith in Christmas.
Note that the animation is very realistic and thus might scare younger children. It’s otherwise great for children of all ages.
Thomas and the Magic Railroad (2000)
This fantasy adventure is centered around Thomas the Tank Engine, a blue fictional steam engine with the number one painted on the side. His best friends are Percy and Toby, Edward and James, and their story centers around a trip over a steep mountain. They encounter several challenges along the way, but the little engine makes it possible by sticking to the mantra “I think I can, I think I can ….”
Check out the rest of the movies in the British Railway Series: Thomas and the Magic Railroad, Calling All Engines!, The Great Discovery, Hero of the Rails, Misty Island Rescue, Day of the Diesels, Blue Mountain Mystery, King of the Railway, Tale of the Brave, The Adventure Begins, Sodor’s Legend of the Lost Treasure, The Great Race, Journey Beyond Sodor, Big World! Big Adventures!
The Busy Little Engine (2005)
This informative film is about a wooden toy train and his friend, Pig, learning about what trains do. Pig asks all kinds of questions related to trains and the places they visit, while the toy train pretends to be a real one on the mission to pick all ingredients needed to make cookies. The film features a Narrator who answers Pig’s questions and who, in turn, draws the viewers to the adventures of the Busy Little Engine.
Both the toy and the pig have lots of fun learning about what trains do all day. The transitions are gentle, the visuals uncluttered, and one person voices all characters and sound effects.
Watching movies with your children is quite helpful as a teaching tool, so be there when they watch them and answer any questions they might have as best as you can! You don’t need to give them a whole dissertation on the subject, simple answers are best.