It looks like a box of toys…it is actually a whole world of curious exploration and experimentation. I see a track laid out that is being adjusted and fixed for no apparent reason…three brothers arguing and rearranging the tracks and trains and props…If i look closer there is so much more going on. it’s not just a game. I see conversation and collaboration. The three of them are deciding the best way to lay out the tracks. They agree on some things and argue about some other things. It is a process of experimentation. The track can be long and open ended. It can be curved and looped, it can be an oval or a perfect circle. How many pieces make the circular track? Why are some pieces left over? How can we make a track using all the pieces?
Can two trains run on it simultaneously? Nish figures out how to make the trains chane tracks and then takes on that role very seriously, sending Thomas on one route and James on another. Sid experiments with the speed of trains…does it run faster going straight on on a circular track. Does the carriage attached at the back affect the speed. He notices that the engine with the carriage attached tended to derail at a sharp turn. He removed the carriage and noted with satisfaction that James was now chugging along without accidents. He then asked Nish to ensure that James and his carriage stayed on the straighter route with no sharp turns. Amu realized that if he stuck his toe out the train slowed as it touched it and made a loud whirring sound. He kept trying it every time the engines came near him. He also took upon himself to place bridges and tunnels along the way, replacing them every time they were knocked over. As they got into a sort of rhythm with their respective rules an elaborate conversation and imaginary play also started. The boys discussed passengers, freight the trains were carrying…transferring their understanding of trains from books and real life experiences to the conversation and play.
They practiced words that they otherwise did not get a chance to use…derailed (which Amu kept calling delayed much to the amusement of his brothers), caboose, siding and coupling. The words were consistently used correctly including by the youngest fellow who was not to be left behind.
So like i said…it looks like a box of toys…but is it??? It looked so much more like a collaborative experiment in physics!
(Thank you dear ‘maasis’ for the wonderful gift!!! And yes – i finally got batteries!)