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Chugga Chugga, Choo Choo: Train Games!

Old fashioned toys and games can be great for learning. One ever popular example is the toy train set! Kids (and adults!) can have so much fun building tracks, pushing trains, and making silly sounds. Train sets, such as the high-end Brio or the more affordable Ikea sets, are found in countless homes around the world. Here are some fun learning ideas to try at home:

A man and child play with a vintage wooden train set on top of a dining room table.

Make fun sound effects as you push the trains on the track. Examples: “chugga chugga, choo choo,” “squeeeeeak,” “crash,” “boom,” “uh oh,” “oh no” and “wee!”

Use simple words for your child to copy as you play: “go,” “stop,” “fast,” “slow,” “on,” “off,” “more,” “help,” “fix” or “broken.”

Practice location words by using your legs (or arms) to make a tunnel for the train to drive through. Say words such as: “in,” “out,” “under,” or “through.”

Embrace your destructive side by stacking blocks or plastic cups and crash the train into them. Make sound effects or say simple words such as: “boom,” “oh no,” “crash,” “down,” “look out,” “down,” or “again.”

Practice building. Hand your child pieces of track to put together, and model simple words such as “on,” “push” “fit,” “doesn’t fit,” “turn,” or “more.” Allow your child to put the pieces together, offering as little help as possible, so that they can learn how to build independently.

Offer your child choices, such as “red train or blue train,” “straight piece or curved piece,” “more train or all done,” and wait for their response.

Incorporate toy animals on the tracks or trains. Make the animal sounds as you place them on: “moo,” “baa,” “oink,” etc.”

Follow your child’s lead! Copy what your child is doing with the toys, and say what you are doing. For example: “pushing train up,” “push together,” “pull track” or “put together.”

Get thrifty. Trains don’t need to cost an arm and a leg. If you don’t already have trains at home, check out local resale groups or garage sales. Ikea has some great options for under $10 (check out this 3 piece set or 20 piece set).

Trains are fun for children of all ages and a great learning opportunity when played together. For more ideas of games to play with trains, check out our previous blog post Cars and Trains. This list of ideas is only a few options of the endless possibilities for games with trains 😊

Time to get chuggin’ away with some play!

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