Problem Solving with Toy Trains

My toddler plays with his toy trains every day. Sometimes we add a little extra learning to the train play. Sometimes I set up little problems for him to solve.

Toy Train problem-solving ideas

A  few of his favorite problems to solve:

  • An object on the track – Whether it’s logs, or rocks, or a package that fell from a cargo car – he has to identify the problem, and then work out how to fix it. Sometimes he’ll bring in a construction truck to help, or bring one of his people to lift the package.
  • A broken track – This one happens even when I don’t set it up! It never fails. My toddler yells “Oh no! Broken track!” and either brings a crane engine to fix it…or just fixes it himself
  • An animal on the track – He (usually!) recognizes that an animal on the track needs to be responded to differently from a
  • Jumping the tracks – The trains are always falling off the tracks. But when I set it up as a problem, I’ll say something like, “Oh no! His front wheels are off the track! How will we help him?” The usual response is by having another engine couple up from behind and pull the fallen engine back, or a crane engine coming in to save the day.

One of my favorite things about train play is how so much of this problem-solving happens naturally while they play – what are your child’s favorite train problems to solve?

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