Last weekend, we spent nearly fifteen hours sorting through old clothes and toys determining what we would keep and what would get donated to charity. The majority of our time involved sorting through many containers of toys that we had put aside for my youngest son to inherit from his older brother. As we went through the toys I thought about how passionate my son was about his most prized possessions, his trains.
Since he was a toddler, my now ten-year old son loved his trains. As he entered preschool and grade school, he would eventually spend meticulous hours designing, building, and then playing with the new cities that he had designed. Each birthday or special occasion, my son requested additional tracks or items to add to his collection. After years of collecting the systems, he eventually had enough tracks to build multiple “cities” that covered his entire bedroom floor. Not wanting to disturb all his hard work, we waited patiently for him to start planning a new design so that we could get “clearance” to vacuum his room. Playing with train tracks was a great way for my son to stimulate his creativity mind and exercise some manipulative play. My son started with a blank canvas, his floor, and transformed it into a city that included everything from an airport, residential areas, a downtown, and even industrial zones.
The fun didn’t stop with his train tracks but really began there. We found ourselves attending train shows and exhibits to give my son inspiration for his hobby. He would study the tracks with excitement, looking for new ideas on what he could do at home. A new train show usually was followed by trips to craft stores looking for specific farm animals, cars, fences, trees, or plants to add to his cities. He combined different materials to create the right city including constructing buildings out of his Legos, blocks, and more. He eventually started shooting videos and uploading them to YouTube eventually getting over 400,000 likes on one of his videos!
Although my son is older now, he continues to have a passion for design and development. At Christmas, he enjoys setting up a Christmas town under the tree. And when we travel to different cities, he always studies the buildings downtown, asks about population, how big it is and more. I am so glad that we fostered my son’s hobby and his passion because I wouldn’t be surprised if he ended up studying some type of urban planning, real estate development, or maybe engineering.
As our children grow older, we can use play to help nurture their passions and maybe even shape their futures.
Does your child have a passion for a specific hobby that you have helped nurture? If so, please share in your comments below.