Learning + Growing with Trains
My son, like many toddlers, is fascinated trains. We spent much of his early toddling years immersed in trains. My daughter likes trains. She's not a fanatic, but she's game for a train ride. It is not however her passion. After spending most of their twos playing and learning about trains, we moved away from that as our focus for most of the past year. The trains themselves never went away, but we haven't spent as much time talking about them. I think this was good. My son grew interested in weather and fairies and together our twins have expanded their play.
However, trains and his interest were still there. When we first moved to Mississippi the box he most wanted from the PODS storage unit was his box of Brio trains. Although during play time he was often tinkering with blocks and tools or immersed in imaginary play scenarios with his sister, during his alone time he was lost in a world of trains. In the back of my mind I was aware of this and was starting to consider bringing his interest back to the forefront, when suddenly his sister joined his train project. She asked for train tracks in her bedroom for quiet play and their joint pretend play began to involve train rides and stops at stations. We were back to trains. So here it comes, Train Project Number 2. Our adventures and explorations will be following in the next couple of weeks, but for now, I thought I would share why we love Brio since this is what re-sparked their interest.
1. Puzzle Making Brio train tracks are like a puzzle. My son, who loves puzzles, spends hours redoing the train tracks in his room. Fitting them together, looking for the right pieces, and trying it out. This is excellent for problem solving and fine motor development.
2. Endless Possibilities Obviously the amount of track you own will partially dictate the options you have, but with a sufficient amount of train track, a remarkable number of possibilities are there. I love watching the creativity and problem solving that is used to create different tracks. My favorite so far is the one that stretched the length of the room running directly under his bed.
3. Magnets The Brio trains are hooked together with magnets. This means a child needs to figure out that negative and positive sides need to be paired. It also means that a train cannot pull a never ending train. Especially when hills are involved, the trains are pulled apart when they are overly long (think more than 10-15 cars) which offers a realistic look at what engines can pull.
4. Imagination Brio trains are a relatively open ended material that encourage imagination. The little people, basic buildings, cranes, and endless track open themselves up to a range of imaginary scenarios. What cargo are they pulling? Where are the people going? Where does the train go when it get tired? Or needs a repair?
5. Cooperative Trains are something that can be played alone, but they can also be played together. When used as a social play material, negotiations are made, problems are solved together, and imaginations are joined.
Sure I trip over a lot of trains, but I love watching my twins negotiate a train line that runs between their bedrooms carrying people and special cargo. Our interest and vigorous pursuit of all train knowledge is reignited.
In case you are curious, here are some of our previous train related activities:
*Reggio Inspired Train Project
*Drawing Prompt: Train Tracks
*DIY Foam Counting Train
*Our Favorite Wisconsin Train Ride
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