On Friday a package arrived on our doorstep addressed to Fuller. We were delighted to find two new Ikea train sets (expansions for his current set). The tracks and new trains were packed away in a cool drawstring bag made by Aunt Stina.
Fuller immediately merged the three sets and started coming up with track configurations that were both impossible and improbable. He didn’t care. He had more trains!
Saturday morning Damon and Fuller worked hard to configure the tracks into perfectly normal patterns, allowing the pretty wooden trains to move through imaginary fields, meadows, and whatever else trains travel through. The track expansion had bridge extenders, a tunnel, and more trains to add to the fun (and make a bigger mess).
This afternoon, in the lull between church and Sunday lunch, Fuller wanted to play trains with Daddy, but Damon wanted to take it up a notch. Damon quickly whipped up a digital drawing of blueprint of train stations and some train passengers.
After printing, Fuller colored each station house a different color. Then he colored the people corresponding colors. Damon then cut the houses and people out, and they folded the houses into 3-D little structures. With the help of some tape the people were able to ride the trains through our living room, going from station to station.
Damon turned the fun into an exercise of color matching by telling Fuller to take the people to the stations that matched their color. Fuller would call out (with some coaching from Damon) “All aboard for station number 2!” making the connection between the color and number of each stations. It was even cuter when Fuller’s passengers would tell him “Thank you!” After delivering all the paper passengers to their paper stations, the station houses moved to new locales along the Crumley Railroad. Fuller and Damon were having so much fun they never once bothered me to ask how long until lunch.
After naps Damon made a new page of stations and people, adding two shipping containers to the mix. Fuller colored them, I cut them out, and then Damon and Fuller collaborated on folding efforts. We had family fun oozing from our fingers, with Fuller giving us a running commentary of actions. “Fuller color, Mommy! Color circle. Mommy cutting with scissors! Daddy, look! Mommy cutting! Daddy fold right here. Now open. See Mommy cutting, Daddy?”
Trains and little kids is not a new concept. The magazine Wonder Time had a a fun article about trains and different age groups. Fuller being in the preschool group is unleashing make-believe.
“Along tracks, kids can roll out the first department if the train crashes, or ferry passengers from toy store to ice cream parlor Choosing where to place stop signs, trees and other landmarks gives them an introduction to the abstract concept of mapmaking.”
When we added the paper stations Fuller worked on coloring, matching, and problem solving. Plus, we had family fun oozing from our fingers as we created.
I thought it would be fun to offer the paper train stations on pdf for you to download. I know we aren’t the only ones with a Lillabo train set that could use train stations. Heck, it could even be used for other train sets as well. So, I hope you and your little ones get some enjoyment out of them too!
(Click here to see the entire flickr set.)
[tags]train set, lillabo, ikea, ikea hack, parent hack, family craft, coloring skills, matching skills, problem solving[/tags]