Friday, April 6, 2012

Project of the Day: Naming Trains

Our three-year-old son loves Thomas the Tank Engine. LOVES. If it was up to him, he would do nothing but play with Thomas and his friends all day long.

It all started about a year and a half ago when visited his cousin, CJ, who has quite an impressive collection of Thomas toys. Shortly before visiting Thomas Mecca, some friends of friends were selling of their son's collection and we were asked if we wanted to buy some. At that point, we were in the naive "trains are kind of nice" stage, and had no idea how much wooden Thomas trains cost new. The family was selling trains for $3 each. Since I was thinking garage sale toy prices, we bought only three trains and a few tracks. (I'm thinking the family was raising money for an adoption, so we wanted to be supportive).

When we got back home from our trip, D became obsessed  with his trains. We looked at Target and were shocked to learn that each train was selling for $8-$12! Not the kind of money we wanted to spend!

Fast forward to today. D has a sizeable train collection, but not many of the Thomas brand. We stick to the wood tracks, which work well with Ikea's train sets, Target's Circo line, and Melissa & Doug trains. We've picked up a few here and there for gifts and potty training incentives, and now he has a nice hodge podge of wooden trains and tracks.

One unique feature of the Thomas trains, other than the creepy faces, is that they each have names, which are written on the bottom of the train. It's amazing to us how D knows the name of each train in the Thomas collection. We've also noticed that he's started to name the other train.

Meet Owenini.
We're not sure when (or why!) D started to refer to this black Target train as Owenini, but once he had a meltdown over this train with that name, we knew it had stuck. 

Since I have not inherited the gene that enables me to tell all the trains apart, I had the idea to use my sticker letters to label the bottom of Owenini to look like Thomas. I already had my sticker letters out from this project. But when I removed the sticker, I saw these holes.
So, I decided to play around on PowerPoint to make a label instead. (I'm sure there's an easy, better way, but this works). I compared the text to Thomas' label, and came up with Ariel with font size of 20.

Then I cut out the label to make sure it fit. Whew! It did. I really need to find my ruler.

Next, I got out my Mod Podge and some q-tips.

I applied Mod Podge to the back of the label first.

I secured it to the bottom of the train, smoothing out the label as best as I could with the other side of the q-tip.

Then, I applied another coat of Mod Podge over the top, so young fingers wouldn't try to peel the label off.

It took about two hours for the Mod Podge to dry completely.

Here's Thomas with his (new) friend. (If your child is into trains, did you sing that line?)

When I showed Owenini to D, he ran away. I wasn't sure what to think until he plopped a handful of trains on my command center and say, "These trains don't have names either."

Fortunately for me, it takes time to come up with a good name. However, I have already made a label for Bobby this morning. Print this post

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