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There's something about trains that just captivates young children, a fascination that can even last well beyond childhood! What is it about trains that children find so fascinating?
Toy trains are almost as old as the railways themselves. Young children, especially boys but also girls, enjoy lining up carriages into a train and pulling it along the floor or along a railway track. Children enjoy the sense of order that making a train offers. Trains have long played an important role in popular culture, first with books and then with television programmes featuring anthropomorphic trains such as Thomas the Tank Engine, Ivor the Engine and Chuggington. Real trains can bring excitement to young children - they will point out trains as they pass over a bridge in the distance, or when they see them from a car window.
If you live near a railway line or a station, take the children out for a walk and wait at a point where you can spot some trains. Talk with your little ones about what they are and what they do. Explain how lots of people can travel on a train. Make the noises that a train makes, point out and mimic the clickety-clack that the carriages make as they pass over joins in the rails. See if you can see signals and explain what they mean.
Seeing trains is an outing in itself for your little ones. What might appear to be perfectly mundane to you may create deep impressions on your children that last for many years to come.
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