Support for PBS Parents provided by:

  • Cat in the Hat
  • Curious George
  • Daniel Tiger
  • Dinosaur Train
  • Nature Cat
  • Odd Squad
  • Ready Jet Go
  • Peg + Cat
  • Splash and Bubbles
  • Sid the Science Kid
  • Super Why!
  • Wild Kratts
  • Thomas & Friends
  • Arthur
  • Bob the Builder
  • Martha Speaks
  • WordGirl
  • Sesame Street
  • The Electric Company
  • Cyberchase
  • Between the Lions
  • Caillou
  • Chuck Vanderchuck
  • Oh Noah
  • Fetch!
  • Fizzy's Lunch Lab
  • Maya & Miguel
  • Mister Rogers
  • Postcards from Buster
  • Clifford
  • SciGirls
  • Wilson & Ditch
  • WordWorld
  • DragonFly TV
  • ZOOM
Thomas & Friends

Box Car Relay

Head down the tracks with this heart-pumping relay race!


Thomas the Tank Engine is always on the go, steaming down the tracks and embarking on new adventures.  Encourage your child to release his own steam in the Box Car Relay – a silly, heart-pumping good time! And great for groups of kids, too!

Time: 15 minutes

Number of Players: 4+ (the more, the better!)



  • 4 orange cones (or other bright colored, stationary marker)
  • 2 Medium sized cardboard boxes, painted or stickered to look like the box cars on the Sodor Railway
  • Items for the boxes: 2 oversized t-shirts, 2 construction hats, 2 sunglasses, 2 large rain boots, 2 lifejackets or other oversized items
  • Sidewalk chalk
  • Tape measure
  • Stopwatch



  • Measure a 40’ distance on a concrete surface that is out of harms way. Put an orange cone or stationary marker at each end.
  • Using the sidewalk chalk mark “tracks” from one cone to the other, approximate 2’ wide.
  • Draw another set of tracks, parallel to your first set, with cones at each end. These are the lanes for reach relay team.
  •  Fill each cardboard box with one of each item – 1 shirt, 1 hat, 1 boot, etc., so each box is even.
  • To start the game, divide your group into 2 teams. Start with the youngest and have them race along the tracks to the boxcar where they must pick out and put on one of the items and run back.
  • Once they return, they remove the item and pass it to the next player who must put it on, run to the boxcar and add another item to his/her costume.
    • Note: you may want to station photographers by each boxcar to capture the fun!
  • If you have a small group, each player will circle through several times; if you have a large group they will sit down when they have finished their turn and the winning team is the one who is all seated after completing their journeys!


Take It Further

  • 60 minutes of daily exercise is recommended for children.  But it doesn’t have to be done all at once.   Find more ways to encourage your child to exercise while having fun!  Consider placing the cones or markers in a line about two-three feet apart on the grass or a safe paved area.  You and your child can run in between the cones/markers like a ski race.  Try a game of “Thomas says!” (Like Simon says.) Make it fun — and vigorous.  For example: “Thomas says jump up and down.”  “Thomas says dance around.”  “Thomas says run up and down the stairs.”  If your child needs a break, say “Thomas says freeze and breathe!”  You can do this activity inside or outside.
  • Lead by example:  use the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator whenever possible.  Instead of parking close to the store, find a parking spot a little further away and enjoy the walk.

Produced by: Funding is provided by:
HiT Logo “Mattel” WNET logo Hard Rock Cafe logo      

© © 2017 Gullane (Thomas) Limited. The Thomas name and character and the Thomas & Friends logo are trademarks of Gullane (Thomas) Limited and its affiliates and are registered in many jurisdictions throughout the world. Thomas & Friends is a production of HIT Entertainment in association with THIRTEEN Productions LLC for WNET. © 2017 HIT Entertainment Limited. HIT and the HIT logo are trademarks of HIT Entertainment Limited. © 2017 Mattel. All Rights Reserved. ® and ™ designate U.S. trademarks of Mattel, except as noted.

What's this?

PBS Parents Picks

  1. Wild Kratts image

    Wild Kratts App Teaches Young Children How to Care for Animals

    In this app, kids are charge of feeding, washing, and playing with baby animals.

  2. Curious Kids image

    How (And Why) To Encourage Curiosity

    "...when people are curious about something, they learn more, and better."

  3. Gardening Benefits image

    The Benefits of Gardening With Kids

    Don’t let the idea overwhelm you. A few containers and soil in a sunny spot will do.

PBS Parents Newsletter

Find activities, parenting tips, games from your child's favorite PBS KIDS programs and more.