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Thomas & Friends

Really Useful Cargo

Inspire your preschooler to be generous by collecting Really Useful Cargo!


Thanksgiving is a great time of year to pause and take stock in all you have to be thankful for. It’s also a great time to look around and find people and organizations who may be less fortunate and in need of surplus canned or dry goods and supplies.

Find a local organization you want to support and let your children help collect the goods. Make a Sodor-inspired box for the cargo. Show your children the true meaning of being “Really Useful.”

Time: 30 minutes


  • One large, rectangular corrugated cardboard box (size will depend on how many groceries and goods you want to carry)
  • Dark brown and black sharpie markers
  • Ruler
  • Heavy black duct tape


  • Using the black tape, tape around the bottom of all four sides of the boxes, representing the cargo car’s buffer. This also serves to reinforce the corners, should your load become too heavy!
  • With your ruler and dark brown sharpie marker, draw horizontal lines, approximately 6” apart along the side of the box from the top to the tape – this will represent the wooden side on the cargo car.
  • The black sharpie marker can be used to draw “nail holes” at regular intervals on the sides of the “wooden boards” to represent where the boards are nailed to their support.
  • Draw the words “REALLY USEFUL CARGO” in the middle along the two long sides of the box.
  • Start filling with canned and dry good and any other supplies your local soup kitchen or charitable organization may need.

Take It Further

  • Engage your child in a discussion about generosity and giving. Ask about times your child has shared (perhaps sharing toys with a friend). Spark a discussion about the charitable project above. Ask questions such as how does it feel to give? Would you like to give again? Why or why not?
  • Get involved: look for opportunities to give to charitable organizations on an ongoing basis. Perhaps you can make a piggy bank and collect pennies or other coins that you can give to a charitable organization. Discuss the organization’s mission with your child or let your child help identify the charity. Keep your eyes open for volunteer opportunities you can do with your child.

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© © 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.

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