Circus Train

Make a fun circus train out of paper and create paper animals as well as circus performers to ride in it.
Circus Train craft

Materials

  • Colored paper (preferably A4 or Letter sized paper)
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Pencil
  • Stickers, sequins, craft foam shapes and other
    decorative materials
  • Craft sticks (optional)
  • Toilet paper tubes (optional)

Safety Tips

  • Kids 8 years and younger should use child-safe scissors.
  • Watch out for this sign Ask for an adult's help. It means adult help is needed for the particular step.

Steps

Step 1 Circus Train craft 1. Prepare two sheets of same-sized paper for making the front and back panels of a train car.

*For convenience, you can just cut an A4 or Letter size paper in the middle to obtain two equal-sized sheets.
Step 2 Circus Train craft 2. The train car also doubles as the animal's cage, which would need bars to keep the animal contained. Take the first sheet of paper and fold it about ¾ of an inch from one short side.
Step 3 Circus Train craft 3. Continue folding the paper accordion-style (back and forth folding).
Step 4 Circus Train craft 4. Cut out the excess paper after the last fold. Inset photo shows an accordion-style fold when unfolded.
Step 5 Circus Train craft Ask for an adult's help5. While keeping the paper folded, draw a narrow rectangle on the top layer of the accordion. One long side of the rectangle should coincide with the paper's folded edge. This area marks the slots or spaces in between the bars of the train car. Carefully cut out this rectangular area.
Step 6 Circus Train craft 6. Unfold the paper to reveal the front part of the train car/cage.
Step 7 Circus Train craft 7. Assemble the train car by gluing the two sheets of paper along the bottom and sides. The top edge should not be glued to create a slot or opening for placing an animal into the train car.

*Notice that if you trim off the excess length of paper in Step 4, the front part of the train car will be shorter than the back. If you wish to, you can trim off the excess length along the sides.
Step 8 Circus Train craft 8. Cut out a pair of black paper circles for the wheels. You may cut out another pair of light-colored circles for the inner part of the wheels. Glue these at the bottom portion of the train car.
Step 9 Circus Train craft 9. Decorate the train car with whatever materials you have. Sequins, glitter glue, craft foam shapes, stickers, rhinestones, ribbons, and puffy paint, are some materials that can transform the car into a festive and glitzy circus train. Drawing or painting on patterns and designs are also great ways to jazz up the train car.
Step 10 Circus Train craft 10. When you're happy with the design of your train car, set it aside to dry.
Step 11 Circus Train craft 11. Draw and cut out a circus animal. To make sure that the animal fits into the train car, draw on paper that is roughly the same size as that of the train car. Place the animal inside the car through the opening on top.

*If you are keen on using printable animals, you can print out any of these animal sets:
Step 12 Circus Train craft 12. Make additional cars and animals to join the circus train. This craft can be a great collaborative craft project for kids. Each child can concentrate on making an individual train car and later connect their cars into a long train.

*As seen in this photo, using different colors of paper for the front and back panels of the train car can give it a nice color contrast.
Step 13 Circus Train craft 13. And of course, a train isn't complete without an engine. Follow the basic steps for making one from our Animal Train craft (see Steps 6-8).

You can make the train engine plain and basic or transform it into a flamboyant circus train by decorating it with glitter, sequins, rhinestones and stickers.
Step 14 Circus Train craft 14. Add circus characters or more circus animals to ride on the train engine if you like. You can draw them or print them out from these circus printable templates.
Step 15 Circus Train craft 15. Connect the train cars by taping or gluing craft sticks or strips of construction paper at the back of the cars.
Step 16 Circus Train craft 16.That's it, enjoy your awesome circus train! The slots on the train cars, including the train engine mean that you can remove and rearrange the animals and the circus characters.

More Ideas

Circus Bear   This craft can be an opportunity to talk about the plight of circus animals. Have children reflect on what they think the circus animals are feeling and let them translate this through their animal drawings. Arrange a sharing or discussion after the children are done with the craft project.
If children are old enough, writing a short paragraph or story about this topic is also a good activity.
Circus train with stands Ask for an adult's help Instead of connecting the train cars, create stands for each of the cars so that they can stand upright and children can play and zoom around with each of the individual train cars. Use toilet paper tubes or small plastic bottles as stands for the train cars. Tape or glue a pair of these stands at the back of a train car, right behind each wheel.

*A little tip if you intend to make these standing train cars - use thick construction paper for the back part of the train cars in Step 7. For long hours of play, you may need to secure the stands in place with hot glue gun instead of tape.

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