Benefits of playing with trains

The many benefits of playing with a wooden train set go far beyond simply having fun

Children have loved playing with wooden trains for generations. Of course, playing with toys is a great way for children to relax, use their imaginations and blow of steam. But playing is about so much more than just having fun. Play is how children learn.

Putting the pieces of a wooden train track together requires hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. But more than that your child needs to plan where each piece will go, they need to avoid furniture, make sure the track is smooth, choose the correct pieces of track so they can incorporate bridges, tunnels and level crossings.

In this way children are not only having fun but they are practising vital skills they will need in later life. They are learning to solve problems, they need to employ foresight, patience and trial and error to build the perfect track. And they are learning that there are multiple solutions to the problem they’re trying to solve.

Key benefits of playing with train sets

Here are just a few reasons why you might want to invest in a train set for your child.

  • Fine motor skills. Developing good fine motor skills at a young age is hugely beneficial for development as these are the skills you need for writing, drawing, tying your shoelaces and using a knife and fork. Putting the track together, pulling the trains around and operating bridges and turntables is all great for fine motor skills and you can add extra elements such as people, buildings and animals to increase the use of fine motor skills.
  • Problem solving. Children learn to build a track through trial and error, figuring out how to make a circular track that trains can continuously go round. This ability to see A and relate it to B is a lifelong skill but one that needs to be learned and practised none the less.
  • Vocabulary and communication skills. Playing with trains can be really beneficial to your child’s vocabulary and communication skills. Not only does pretend play enhance vocabulary through the description and storytelling. But children also learn valuable sequencing skills as they play.
  • Learning about concepts. There are plenty of concepts your children can learn as they are playing with trains. You can talk about the past, future and present. Learn about over and under, through or around, left and right and counting.
  • Creativity and imagination. The beauty of a train set is that children can set it up in a different way every time they play. Train sets are also perfect for imaginative storytelling and can be combined with lots of other toys for hours of small world play.
  • Gross motor skills. It might not be the skill you first think of when train sets come to mind but children also have to gain spatial awareness and learn about how much space they themselves take up in order to play successfully without breaking the track. There’s also a lot of crouching, crawling, lying on the floor and stepping over things involved in a good game of trains.

If you’re convinced that you need a train set then we take a look at the best wooden train sets for toddlers here.

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