(Written by Madeline Binder) Toy train tables are more than just a platform for play activities. They can also be used as an amazing learning platform. The following activities will enhance a variety of basic skills from fine motor skills to math skills.
- Fine Motor Skill Development
Fine motor skills can be a challenge for kids to develop, especially if they have physical or mental impairments. Toy train tables provide a platform that mask fine motor skill training activities with fun. Simple activities such as picking up beads or small parts off the table’ top can greatly help to improve fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.
- Math Skills
A number of math skills can be developed on the surface of the toy train table. Counting activities, for example, can utilize toy trains, Lego blocks, Lincoln logs and dolls that are placed on the table to help develop basic counting skills. Shape recognition activities can also be done using a toy train table. Here you will place a variety of items on the table and ask your child to point out the circle, square or triangle.
- Following Directions
One of the most important skills that a child learns when they are a toddler is how to follow directions. You can easily develop following directions activities using what your child normally plays with. For example, you can start out by giving your child single step instructions to follow, such as place the red train on the track. You can then work your way up to multiple step instructions such as place the red train on the track, then push it to the station and finally fill it with passengers. Gradually progress to more complicated instructions and keep things fun.
- Creative Play
While focusing on the development of concrete skills is important, it is also important to develop your child’s imagination. This development will allow your child to more easily acquire more abstract thought processes in the future. Creative play includes making up stories that can be acted out on the toy train table top and even designing inserts that will enhance the look of the toy train table. A fun activity is to have your child come up with a play that they can write out if they are able to, or you can write down for them. They will then act out the play on the toy train table for the family, their classmates or their friends.
About the author: Focusing on family life is a passion of Madeline Binder. Her writing engages her readers to find ways to learn as a family. She designed train table plans for her grandson over 11 years ago and it is now being used by a day care for toddlers and preschool kids.