All aboard! Celebrate our special exhibition Holiday Express and December School Vacation Week with Train Tales and Crafts all week long!

Join us via Zoom at 3:30 pm each day for a train-themed story time (including songs and games! Each program is led by one of our terrific Family Programs high school interns, part of our Student Historian internships. After the story time, continue the train fun at home with these train-themed craft projects. 

Read on to meet the interns, and for templates and step-by-step instructions for our train crafts!

Meet Veronica!

Hi! My name is Veronica. I am 17 years old and a senior in high school. I am a huge reader and read every morning on my train rides to school. I enjoy a good Agatha Christie novel as well as the occasional historical fiction! I am currently enjoying the Mirror Visitor series by Christelle Dabos on my commute to school. 

I have worked at New-York Historical for a year and a half now. I started as a Student Historian in the 2020-2021 school year and then became a Teen Leader for the summer of 2021. I have created all types of fascinating projects in these internships, including a podcast about Asian American Pacific Islander history and an audio guide for the new Fredrick Douglas exhibition coming to the museum in February 2022. 

The book I will be reading this week is Steam Train, Dream Train by Sherri Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld. The book includes animals loading up a train and completing fun tasks as train crew!

In the story, there are many different kinds of animals that help load the train. Now it’s your turn to make your own!


Print the Steam Train templateDownload

  • Something to color with (crayons, markers, color pencils, anything at all!)

A note on supplies: If you don’t have exactly the supplies listed, improvise! These projects are designed to be versatile, so feel free to use whatever materials and tools you have at home. And if your final product looks different than what you see here, that’s wonderful!

STEP 1: Draw your animals!

Using your imagination and imagination tools (markers, crayons, colored pencils), let’s put on our imaginary conductor hats and load a precious animal into our own train boxcars! Be inspired by animals we know and love, or create your own one-of-a-kind animal. Draw a polar bear body on a tiger head! Or a penguin head on a dragon body!

STEP 2: Fill in the background!

Add background scenery to give your imaginative creature a comfy ride and decide where your train is going to and coming from!

STEP 3: Display your train!

Hang it on your fridge with pride! You should be proud of your animal drawing, I know the steam train would be very proud to have your special animal aboard to help it pack up during the night!

Meet Ginevra!

Hi, I’m Ginevra, your craft conductor for today! I’m 17 years old and I love visiting different train stations in our city to look at the beautiful mosaics! Below is a craft inspired by the book Peace Train by Cat Stevens and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds. This book is an illustrated adaptation of Cat Stevens’ song Peace Train released on his 1971 album Teaser and the Firecat.


Print the Ticket templateDownload

  • Something to color with (crayons, markers, color pencils, anything at all!)
  • Scissors

Optional Materials!

  • Hole puncher
  • Glue
  • Cardboard
  • String, yarn, ribbon, or similar
  • Clear packing tape

STEP 1: Color and decorate your ticket!

Use whatever art materials you have available, such as markers, pencils, stickers, etc. Fill out as much of the information on the ticket as you’d like. You can either draw a picture of yourself in the box or print one out!

STEP 2: Once you’ve finished coloring, carefully cut out your ticket. 

(Optional) STEP 3: If you want to make your ticket stronger, try these ideas:

Use a glue stick to paste your ticket onto a piece of cardboard, poster board, or any other stiff material (a postcard or part of a cereal box also works great). Have an adult help to cut off any extra cardboard around the ticket. OR use clear packing tape to “laminate” the ticket. Cut off any remaining edges of tape. These steps are optional but will preserve the ticket, especially if it’s being worn around the passenger’s neck.

STEP 4: Punch the ticket holes!

Have an adult use a hole-puncher or scissors to make holes in the top of the ticket in the designated circles. If the hole rips through at any point, tape can be placed over it and a new hole can be made!

STEP 5: Put your ticket on a necklace!

Thread a piece of string, yarn, or lanyard through the holes and tie at the end to hang around the neck or in the window to show everyone you’re on the Peace Train!

(Optional) STEP 6: Who else needs a ticket?

You can also complete the pet pass included in the template for an animal friend (including stuffed animals!) Feel free to print and complete additional tickets for friends/siblings/grownups too!

Meet Joaquin!

Hello museum lovers! My name is Joaquin, I am 17, and I attend the Bronx High School of Science. This week I will be reading Pete the Cat’s Train Trip by James Dean! I have always found trains to be super interesting. When I was little, one of my favorite characters was Thomas the Tank Engine. I even dressed up as Thomas for Halloween one year!

Toot! Toot! All aboard!!! During this December’s holiday break, one of the books we will be reading is Pete the Cat’s Train Trip, written and illustrated by James Dean. In this story, Pete and his family take a train to meet his grandma. On his journey, Pete meets many different animals and gets a special tour of the train. Let’s make a hat, just like the one Pete wears in the story!


Print the engineer hat templateDownload

  • Something to color with (crayons, markers, color pencils, anything at all!)
  • Scissors
  • Tape

STEP 1: Color your hat!

What is your engineer’s hat going to look like? Color in your hat with your favorite colors and feel free to add animal friends! Be creative and include anything you want people to see as you drive the train! Also, make sure to write your name in the middle section of the hat.

STEP 2: Cut your hat out!

Be extra careful with your scissors in this step! Take your scissors and cut along the black lines. Once you are done you should have the main hat shape as well as the long thin strips. Cut out two or three strips, depending on how big around your head is.

STEP 3: Put your hat together!

Attach the strips to each side of your hat with tape. Then hold the strips around your head where you want to wear your hat. Hold on to where they overlap and use more tape to connect the bands together. Make sure to fold the hat’s dotted lines up so you have a visor. Now your engineer’s hat is all done!

STEP 4: Choose a destination!

Before we head out on our trip, make sure to imagine your destination! It can be anywhere you want: a dream vacation? A different country? A different planet?? You get to decide where your train is going!

STEP 5: Put on your engineer’s hat!

Time to put on your engineer’s hat and prepare for an adventure. Use your imagination to become an engineer of your very own train and enjoy your travels!

Thanks for following along, train fans! We hope to see you, and your creations, all week long!