Tag Archives: cows and trains

Learn math with the help of cows

Every Friday afternoon my five-year old comes back from school with a stack of worksheets he completes in class during the week. I spend a few minutes going over it and spot any problems he may need a little help with. The stack contains photocopies as well as original sheets from workbooks.

This afternoon I stumbled upon this worksheet introducing the concept of “Ordering by Length”.

Learn math with the help of cows

Learn math with the help of cows

If you want to practice counting, you’ll notice there are seven cows this page spread. And they’re really cute. Here’s a close-up of a few cows, waiting for a train that’s not coming. Actually kids are supposed to use “cube trains” on the tracks. Who said school is all work and no play?

Cute cows can teach you math

Cute cows can teach you math

See a train, see a cow

The boys have a set of play trains, including some Thomas the Train tank engine, wagons and tracks from the water tower set, along with matching (and a lot cheaper) generic tracks and trains. Unfortunately they always manage to argue about who gets what trains, what wagons, what tracks and the play quickly turns into a lot of yelling and pushing. So the trains end up spending a lot of time in time-out in our garage.

Recently the boys made another request to play with the trains so I gave it a try. This time they have set up their own tracks away from each other and are playing separately. They also have figured out they could make things more interesting by creating their own scenery and props around the tracks. This is what my five year old came up with for his train track set:

Toy train set with animals and a cow

Toy train set with animals and a cow

 What a busy place! And of course, no train set would be complete without a cow. Look how happy this one is as the train is going by:

Happy cow watches train go by

Happy cow watches train go by

 Cows and trains: a theme almost as popular as… you guessed it, cows and pigs.

My daily cow is in a book about pigs

Today’s post is going to be really short. Why, do you ask? Because it’s 11:15pm as I’m writing this and I still have to prepare my son’s lunch for tomorrow, load up the dishwasher and get myself ready for bed, at some point.

So here we go without fanfare… Today’s cow (actually, cows) appears in a book about pigs called Oops by Arthur Geisert:

Oops by Arthur Geisert

Oops by Arthur Geisert

This is a wordless book depicting how a little spill of milk can cause a chain reaction leading to catastrophic results. Don’t worry, no pigs or cows die in this story, but things get quite messy.

Now, the cows appear just a few pages into the story, below the pig house, grazing on some luscious green fields.

Arthur Geisert's Oops book

Arthur Geisert's Oops book

Of course, no cow field would be complete without a train passing by. Check out the gray cow on the left, hardly able to contain itself with excitement at the sight of the upcoming train…

Cows and train in Geisert's Oops book

Cows and train in Geisert's Oops book

Well, I’ve seen cows today and now you have too. It’s time for me to close shop and go count sheep. Eventually.

Cows hang out at train stations, even fake cows!

I think by now you’ve figured out that I do see cows every day – real cows, photos of cows, illustrations of cows, cow skeletons, etc. Just browse through this blog’s archives if you want to see some samples. Here are some of the cows I saw today. First there’s the dairy cow on a half-gallon container of Naturally Preferred organic milk I spotted at the grocery store:

Dairy cow on Naturally Preferred Organic Milk

Dairy cow on Naturally Preferred Organic Milk

Later tonight I spotted these drum playing cows as part of a marching parade in the very cute children’s book Poppleton by Cynthia Rylant.

Cows on Poppleton by Cynthia Rylant

Cows on Poppleton by Cynthia Rylant

In between these two cow sightings, my husband texted me a picture. He spent the day training people north of Los Angeles and decided to take the Amtrack train from the San Diego area to avoid hair-pulling Southern California traffic deadlock (at our house, we usually call it “clusterf%$&#k”…). As he was leaving the Solana Beach train station to head back home tonight, this is what he spotted across the street and had to share with me as it happened…

Cow statue in Solana Beach, California

Cow statue in Solana Beach, California

Is that a nice lifesize cow statue or what? Check out the quilt pattern paint job! Oh, and those red eyes look so evilish, you’ve got to wonder why this bovine is so pissed off…

I almost feel jealous that my husband got to see this cow himself, rather than me. I think he’s catching on to the daily cow sighting theory, and today was solid proof that everyone gets to see cows every day!

Every day I see a cow… at the library

Cows (and pigs) are very popular in children’s books so a trip to our local library is a sure way to catch a glimpse of a few cows on any given day. While my son was playing some educational game on the library computer, I browsed through the aisles to stock up on some new reading. I found this book sitting on display on one of the shelves in the children’s literature area:

Trains and cows - our cow of the day

Trains and cows - our cow of the day

Cows and trains: the obvious combination, in a children’s book and in real life.

I thought my cow sightings were over but as I sat on a her chair behind my son, I couldn’t help but stare at the computer screen next to him, where another boy was playing. There it was, a dairy cow playing a part in one of the computer games. Here’s a short cow video for you:

Then my son proceeded on showing me that the library has a whole game with a cow as its main character! Her name is Millie, and she’s responsible for teaching kids math. The game is called Millie’s math house. Here she is during her game intro:

With the predominance of cows in our Western culture, I don’t see a better trusting choice to represent a teacher!