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The Toys Children Play With Can Have an Effect on Their Success in Adulthood

Choo-choo! How the toy trains your toddler loves are benefiting their development.

The Toys Children Play With Can Have an Effect on Their Success in Adulthood
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Have you met a toddler who doesn’t like toy trains? It turns out that pushing those tiny vehicles around tracks and telling stories about where they’re going can help children practise a range of skills that are beneficial for their development and well-being, including creativity and imagination, language, communication, empathy and problem-solving.

Dr. Salim Hashmi, Lecturer in Education, BSc Psychology at King’s College London, says that playing with trains unlocks a universe of play possibilities for kids from all walks of life. It not only stimulates children’s imaginations, it starts to alter the way they think. Yes, you’ve read that right: trains can help positively change your child’s mind.

Why trains?

Pretend play has loads of benefits for children of all ages but, according to Dr. Hashmi, research has found that trains activate a special kind of make-believe that’s universal and not limited to borders, languages or socio-demographic backgrounds. Both boys and girls in North America and across the globe all play with toy trains in a similar way.

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Playing with trains encourages communication and collaboration

Something cool happens when kids play with trains together: they talk to one another. “When children play with toy trains with other children, they have different kinds of conversations which are more pro-social and collaborative, and which reflect children’s goals,” says Dr. Hashmi. 

He says that it’s easy for young children to jump straight into conversations with train sets. For instance, they can discuss how they will arrange the tracks or who will play with each toy train, giving kids many opportunities to practice their collaboration and cooperation skills. 

The discussions they have are also creative. Kids share the imaginary characters they’ve created and what they think each would do in different scenarios. The more children use this type of language, the better they get at understanding what other people might think, feel and do,” says Dr. Hashmi. Encouraging children's social and cognitive development via joint play nurtures resourcefulness, creativity, and resilience. It's a dynamic journey where they conquer obstacles, experiment with different approaches, and can unlock the power of effective communication and negotiation. 

Trains help STEM learning and problem-solving

Preparing to get those trains on the tracks is a lesson in itself. Setting up the tracks in a specific pattern or deciding how to set up the tracks with someone else can be great for problem-solving, plus counting the track pieces and trains, and organizing them by shape and colour can also contribute to STEM learning.

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Toy trains are more than just playthings, they are part of an ecosystem of play. They help children relate to the adult world around them and by association, help them connect with you.

Trains help kids engage with the world around them

Playing with vehicles creates a sense of practical play that children immediately associate with the real world. Kids can see trains chugging through their city and understand that these real-life modes of transportation are also toys that they can hold in their hands. These toys let kids play out real-life scenarios with miniature real-world vehicles, which when you think about it, is pretty empowering.

Want toys that boost your child’s development? Shop Thomas & Friends trains

Thomas & Friends Paint Delivery Motorized Train And Track Set: Kids can send their good pal Thomas racing through Wayland Station to pick up and deliver paint with this Thomas & Friends motorized train and track set from Fisher-Price. 

The Toys Children Play With Can Have an Effect on Their Success in Adulthood

Thomas & Friends Connect & Build Track Bucket Set: Preschool kids can expand their favourite Thomas & Friends toy train sets and build all new railway creations of their own with this Thomas & Friends Connect & Build Track Bucket from Fisher-Price.

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The Toys Children Play With Can Have an Effect on Their Success in Adulthood

Thomas & Friends Motorized Engines: Young conductors can collect their favourite characters from the Thomas & Friends show and watch them go. 

The Toys Children Play With Can Have an Effect on Their Success in Adulthood

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