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Family “Training” – Trains, Trains, Trains!

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Noah built this train from a pile of blocks at one year old.

Noah’s obsession with trains has sparked a family passion. Not surprisingly, he even inspired this blog.

His grandmother bought him his first wooden train set at around one year old. Instantly, this energetic, type-A child became calm and focused. His ability to build was beyond his years when he put together a wooden train at one-year old all by himself. At two years old, he could manipulate track configurations. And by five, he creates complex scene layouts with multiple levels, castles with moats and a zipline.

Noah’s passion for trains has inspired my husband and I to embark on train-related adventures of our own—both intended to educate, foster and further Noah’s passion.

Parents Can “Model Train” Too

Calvin is a member of the L.A. Live Steamers, a train-enthusiast club that offers train rides in Griffith Park for a reasonable donation fee. Our whole family (my 3 year old included) has volunteered there by raking leaves, and Calvin helped decorate the annual Ghost Train this past Halloween. The payback is ‘priority seating’ on the trains. Plus, when Calvin completes his probation hours, Noah can accompany him and help run the smaller model trains. Not to mention, meeting train experts who can show Noah the tricks of the trade.

 Train to Read

My desire to author children’s books was a natural step in my career when I had children. Noah serves as my train enthusiast expert for all of the Train to Read books, which are devoted to our beloved train theme. We sit with pen and paper and write down story ideas, brainstorm while driving, or come up with ideas during real train adventures. For example, Railroads Aren’t for Rhinos was inspired by all of the train rides offered in Griffith Park, and a rhino who leaves the L.A. Zoo determined to ride them.

As a kindergartener, Noah has also helped me to immerse myself in phonetic and sight word lists. I volunteer in his classroom, reviewing those words with all of the students.

While the train bug has affected everyone in our family, this hobby continues to thrill and benefit Noah. Track building enables him to plan, invent, problem solve and create—and it’s a joy to witness him fine tune his skills and talents. One day, he says he will be a train engineer, and perhaps work on California’s bullet train. No matter what his future holds, his infections family “training” will be cherished forever.

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