The wooden train set is an absolute classic toy. We’ve had ours for about 7 years now and it’s still going strong. One of our favourite train activities is small world play. It’s so easy to set up and kids just love taking their trains on adventures through different playscapes. This four seasons train track small world shows how the seasons move into one another and the trains can literally let the years go by as they make their rounds. Both fun and educational, this small world activity will be a winner with both the small and bigger kids.
Our train track adventure was inspired by the book “Old Tracks, New Tricks”, which was sent to us by The Innovation Press, a small but mighty publishing company with a mission to publish books that inspire learning, enliven creative thinking and spark imaginations.
The author of Old Tracks, New Tricks is Jessica Petersen, who you might know as the genius behind the popular website Play Trains, an entire website dedicated to playing with trains. The ideas on her website are out of this world and her DIY Zoo Train World is one of my all time favourites.
The Old Tracks, New Tricks is a beautiful story about 3 new tracks that are added to an old train set and are have some trouble fitting in. Their kindness and creative spirits however make sure nothing will ever be the same again.
The story encourages creativity like no other and is followed up by lots of fun play ideas to try at home PLUS an entire website with free printables and even more play ideas (they just keep coming!)
You can grab a copy here.
Setting up a four seasons train track small world
While is might look a bit daunting, setting up elaborate small worlds is all about adding layers. You start with the ground layer, add nature elements, animals, people, props, and so on. Use what you’ve got (I happen to have lots of fabric!) and more in this case certainly is more.
For winter I stuck with the blue, whites and grey fabrics I had. Since the only winter animals we have in our play basket are pinguins and whales, we stuck with the arctic theme and added our (not so arctic) snowy mountain tops in the background. From the craft cupboard we sprinkled wooden and silver stars plus recycled the little branches from our winter sensory small world.
For spring I actually got some real flowers which made the spring corner look and smell absolutely beautiful. The fabric colour scheme is bright, floral and cloudy (love that fabric!). We added some spring farm animals and a birds nest and let our farm lady water it all.
Summer turned into a beach scene which made us all long for the summer holidays (and remember our day at the beach small world). Sea animals and seashells can be added to play with and you could use rice for pretend play sand.
Autumn is my favourite season and it turned out beautifully. I still had some (fake) autumn leaves, mushrooms, acorns and (real) pine cones. I moved the horses in the paddock (why not?) and let our autumn lady harvest her apples. In the background Bambi is still looking for food and Mr. Fox is looking for an easy meal.
Four Seasons Train Track Small World Fun
The kids ooh’d and ahh’d as it was all coming together and it looked absolutely amazing and irresistibly inviting. I usually leave a sensory small world out for at least a week, so the kids can come and go as they please. This four seasons train track small world was set up in my attic work studio so the toddler wouldn’t completely destroy it. I often found my four year old son up there enjoying some quiet time by himself.
If you adore small worlds just as I do, you’ll love this article which is the ultimate guide to small world play, explaining the what, why and who and leaving you with lots of inspiration to get started. And be sure to browse through all of our small worlds here, I’m sure you’ll love them.
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