I love trains! And I love summer! And I love books!
In a nutshell, all these things put together with a bunch of happy, energetic and excited kids, and you have day 2 of our summer program.
‘Let’s Go!’ was today’s theme. And these were the very same words we kept hearing over and over again until we were all finally happily loaded together into the cars….today we were heading off to the railway station! The excitement was palpable.
All the way there, little conversations were happening…things we’d see at the railway station, what your favourite car is and where we were going to go on the train!
When we were finally there, our little summer camp train made it’s way to a spot where we’d chosen to settle down. Following which, we played a round of Railway Station I Spy. Neven spotted the tracks. Luke spotted the flag. The littlest one, Arnav, spotted something red. There was much to see all around!
It was Stephen King who once said ‘Books are a uniquely portable magic!”‘ and good Bookworms that we are, we had not forgotten to pack the extra magic! Our story choice for the day was Shortcut by Donald Crews; a story in which a group of children experience the thrill (and scare) of a lifetime as they encounter a freight train that they had not anticipated whilst on their way home, having taken a shortcut via the train tracks. Added to the story are the illustrations and wonderful effective onomatopoeia that add a great charm during a read aloud.
And so there we were, in a tight little story theater (with the odd occasional fidgeting among the younger ones) on the platform of Karmali railway station, with a number of onlookers getting caught up in the story too! Our reading had progressed to the part when the kids in the story had realised that the train was coming and they needed to get out of the way! ‘WHOOOOOOOOO! WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” came the sound of the train whistle (enhanced by Priya who stood behind the kids blowing a whistle at the appropriate moments) and then came the train- KLACKITY KLACK! KLACKITY KLACK! KLACKITY KLACK! KLACKITY KLACK! ….and then came the train! The train! A real train at Karmali Railway station! The timely Chandigarh Express chugged onto the tracks just as the kids made klackity klack sounds.
Magic! They were super excited (I admit, I was too!) and all of them were on their feet, some thinking that this was the train we were to get onto! 😀 ‘Teacher! The train really came!” trilled Adhish as he pointed happily. Soon enough, the train chugged out of the railway station, yet again accompanied by the sounds of the children klackity klacking. And we got back to our story. When the last page was turned, there was an audible satisfied sigh from both, story teller and listeners.
We proceeded to make a craft based memory of our visit to the railway station and got our fingers into glue and paper. “What kind of train is yours?” Eric asked Luke. Evan proudly proclaimed that his was going to be a freight train!
The finishing touch to this was in fact a freight train that passed by at that point. And the kids went wild! They waved and proudly displayed their crafts to the passing train and yelled ‘Train! Teacher! One more train!”. David exclaimed, “It’s a freight train, like from the story!”
Ahhhhhhhh! A perfect story for a perfect setting! And a perfectly coincidental timing of the trains passing by! Surely somewhere, the Story Gods were smiling down upon us!
And ofcourse….there were stories to tell on the way back to the library, and then all the way home!