Even before he was born, we must have known that Aiden was a train boy…
Aiden can’t get enough of his trains… of his toy trains, of reading train books (that’s a post of its own!), of watching train movies or of riding the miniature trains at Confederation Park. When his independent play emerged in full swing, it was through his trains that it was most widely expressed. His imagination creates an endless supply of stories that can keep him occupied for hours going around and around the same track – it’s amazing! Just watch:
Almost every day, Aiden leaves the house clutching a train. His preferred trains to take from home are Toby, from the Thomas and Friends series, or his “big orange train“, a diesel train he got from Lonsdale Quay. He was obsessed with the Polar Express, though we put that series away until next year, and has recently become obsessed with watching videos on YouTube about miniature trains (ride-on or model railway). We also downloaded some Chuggington videos, though I prefer the Thomasstories.
For Christmas, Santa gave Aiden his very first board game: the I Can Do That Games Curious George – Discovery Beach. The premise of the game is to find hidden treasures. You select cards, look under the panels, and find the matching objects. You shake up the box so that the items always move about to different places on the board or become buried / unburied in the sand.
We don’t follow the rules of the game yet: we let Aiden look under all the panels, not using the spinning wheel, and we don’t collect cards we’ve ‘won’. So far, we lay out several cards for Aiden and he chooses one to look for – he will pull up panels until he finds what’s on his card, though sometimes we have to shake up the box again.
Aiden has a lot of fun playing this game. He loves looking for the cards that are more open ended, “any brown” or “any shell”, and cheers whenever he finds a matching item. He’ll happily sit and play this game with us for a solid half hour.
Aiden is a huge fan of the Thomas and Friends franchise. He actually received his first set of Thomas trains when we were still in the hospital with him!
Since then, his collection of trains has grown to include 3 different sets as well as a few extra train pieces. If we had more room, we would for sure have a train table. Until then, Aiden makes do with various smaller configurations of trains on the floor – always featuring at least one hill. He loves hills and bridges.
Aiden’s favourite train is Percy, so we got him a motorized Percy for Christmas. It caused a little bit of initial frustration for Aiden, when he couldn’t push it on his own, so now he has a classic wooden one too.
Aiden’s love of Thomas and Friends includes many toys and books, including:
Aiden may love Thomas, but it’s not yet an obsession. He’ll read about any train; his current favourite train books include Busy Trains and The Little Engine That Could. Additionally, while you’d expect Aiden to watch a lot of Thomas videos, he actually prefers Dora the Explorer.
I have never wanted my children to play with toy guns of any sort. I think there are many more appropriate types of pretend play. If Aiden made a stick a gun, so be it, but toy guns would not be in our house.
I hadn’t yet decided how to approach water guns though. They are pretty damn fun, after all. And now, before I’ve had a chance to figure it out, Aiden has had his first water gun experience with neighboring kids.
It’s not a big deal and I don’t mind, it’s just one of those parenting ‘decisions’ that came and went and had to just be shrugged off. Fun is fun, and Aiden made a cute water cowboy.
One of my personal favorite toys is the Knights Castle that Aiden’s Bobe gave to him for his birthday. I fell in love with the whimsy of it when we saw it in the store and thought it would be great to encourage imaginative play. Plus, it had a dragon.
Because the castle doesn’t have a limited set of actions, Aiden is open to decide how to play with the toy. Although we have lots of toys that make music with buttons or have a specific play function, many have a finite set of play activities. The castle is open to imaginative play.
Ways that Aiden likes to play with his castle:
Take figurines ‘up’ the stairs
Put figurines or even snacks into the window, walking around and taking them out from the door
Using the knights table to ‘feed’ the figurines saying ‘nom nom nom’
Balance people on the top of the turrets
Drive cars through the drawbridge
Balance the ladders against the castle
When he was younger, the spent a lot of time learning how to put figurines on their feet. I expect this is a toy that will really grow well with him. Plus, all the pieces can be put inside for travel.