Explore cause and effect with this fun train investigation for toddlers. It’s a quick play idea that your kids will love.
Exploring Cause and Effect with Trains
When Aiden was a toddler, he absolutely loved trains. We probably played with them everyday. There are lots of chain reactions to explore with trains. It’s all part of the play. I felt it was time to introduce Lily (age 20 months) to the trains and train tracks. Aiden (age 6) happily set up a track for them to play with. Lily wasn’t very interested in playing the way Aiden played. She kept taking the tracks apart. (See my post on the importance of destructive play here.) She was, however, drawn to the ramps. So Lily and I played with just one section of the train tracks.
First we set up a ramp with some sections of straight track at the end. Lily pushed the train down the ramp and the train flew off the end of the track. We added another section of track and tried again. We repeated this until the train stayed on the track.
Now we have a ramp with a long straight track. At the end of the track, we placed an object (a tree).
There are several ideas to test or investigations to explore here:
- What happens when you push the train?
- How far does the train go?
- Will the train hit the tree?
- What happens when we use two trains?
Ask the questions as your child explores.
What if we change the object at the end of the track or change the train (and add a plane)?
What if we add two trees? Will the train(s) knock both down?
All in all this is a simple play idea that explores cause and effect and making observations.
More Toddler Play Ideas
- This Egg Rolling Baby Game is perfect for toddlers, too.
- Counting Ducks is a fun toddler math game.
- Try our Farm Animal Treasure Hunt for Toddlers.
- See all of our toddler ideas here.
Do you subscribe to the Inspiration Laboratories weekly newsletter? Each issue has exclusive hands-on science explorations for children, a recap of our latest activities, and special resources selected just for you!