Trains, tantrums and totally “necessary” tools

My three old year old is currently obsessed with trains. Specifically Thomas the Tank Engine but he’s also partial to Chuggington. Since on the scale of one to an x-box, little wooden trains rate at about 1 1/2 for noise and annoyance (except for the talking ones, they’re just creepy), we’ve indulged him somewhat. Last year I picked up a second-hand train tracks set and over time have added to his collection of engines. 

Except now that his little brother is mobile and wanting to play, we’ve run into a problem: as fast as the three year old (and I) put the tracks together, the toddler pulls them apart. It’s all:

No! No don’t! It’s mines! waaaaaaahhh!

So in an effort to avoid the yelling (and save our sanity) the hubs and I decided we’d make the boys a train table. It’d be like the ones we saw in the toy shops — just not exactly like those because those things are crazy expensive we told ourselves. 

Off we went to our second home (IKEA! Come for the froyo, stay to shop for 37 things you can’t possibly pronounce) and bought a cheap coffee table.

We then spent a week trying out different arrangements of the tracks. This was pretty fun except the kids kept wanting to play too (!). 

When we figured that we’d achieved optimal track design and table coverage, we set about affixing the track to the table. 

It turns out that despite their diminutive size, the small humans in this house are ridiculously, preternaturally strong. We thought that a hot glue gun would probably do the trick, but that lasted for all of four minutes. Then we tried rubber cement which faired only marginally better.

Then the hubs suggested nailing the track down. 

By hand? I asked, thinking of the ensuing headache of tiny nails into all those track pieces.

I was thinking with a nail gun … the hubs said as he whipped out the tool catalogue he just happened to have stuck in his back pocket. 

Hmmm … I think there may have been an ulterior motive here …

He grinned.

So here’s our project breakdown: 

Cost of a train table (retail $159 plus accessories)

Table : $45

Track : $ 80

Nail gun : $150

Having half an hour of quiet while my boys (little ones and grown up one) all play with their new toys : priceless


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1 comment

  1. Oooh, I love this idea! I’ve been wanting to set up a train table but the prices have completely scared me away (even second hand!).

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