Not many hobbies have as many diverse benefits as model trains do. They provide everything from creative encouragement to developing hand-eye coordination while encouraging both independent thinking and social collaboration. It has all you want your children to be.
If you are looking for a new hobby for your kids, here are the top 10 reasons why you should encourage your children to become model train hobbyists:
#10 Hand-Eye Coordination
Hand-eye coordination doesn’t just refer to how well you can catch a ball. Being able to perform accurate and gentle movements with your hands is another benefit. Assembling background settings can take precise and delicate hand movements, whether it’s just assembling set or painting it. This newly gained coordination can improve everything from handwriting to just being generally less clumsy as a person.
#9 Making friends
Learning to take part in a model railway club is a good way to make new like-minded friends and be part of a community. Model railway clubs are common throughout the country and are incredibly welcoming to newcomers. It is a good place to learn new things about railways in general and model trains in particular but also a great platform to share what your children have already learned. Being part of a club has been proven to provide numerous benefits to a child’s development, as you can read here.
Inversely to making new friends, being able to have a hobby that can be personal and private can give kids a chance to become more independent. Without the outside pressure of other kids, teachers, coaches or parents, children can have some more time to themself to enjoy their hobby in peace or actually choose to share it with you. By letting your child choose how much or how little to involve you in their new hobby they will feel a sense of much needed freedom that they will surely appreciate.
#7 Financial Skills
Learning to manage their own finances (pocket money) when purchasing their train sets will be a good opportunity for personal growth. By earning their pocket money and then saving it to buy new trains, track, or scenery they will develop a sense of pride and accomplishment in themselves. It is still good to supervise them during this process as learning the value of money can be a slow process for kids sometimes as before now everything has just magically paid for itself (It was paid for by you).
Being able to create and design their own scenery for their model railway can allow their own personal creativity to blossom. It may take a while for their own designs to look as good as the store-bought ones, but it is all a learning process. Over time they will become more talented. Scenery design is its own form of art, so the skills learned here will translate to all other artistic projects they might undertake later in life either at school or home.
Getting your children interested in trains and railways now could develop an eagerness to learn the engineering sides of trains later on. It doesn’t have to be overly complicated to start, just the basics of how steam engines work for example. But fostering this interest in science and engineering can provide real-world benefits both during school and after it.
Learning patience can be hard for a lot of children. By choosing a hobby that can sometimes be slow going and will take a while before they get to enjoy and appreciate the end product, you can help your child develop a newfound appreciation for their own time and effort. Patience is a virtue that remains valuable for the whole of a person’s life. It can help your child become more considerate of their own actions. Learning that hard work and patience can be incredibly rewarding will improve your child’s endurance to life’s problems and create amazing grit in the face of hardship.
#3 Mathematical Benefits
Whether it is from the finances involved or calculating speeds and statistics, model railways offer plenty of opportunities for mathematical skills improvement for children. Studying math is one of the most unpopular subjects for a lot of kids at school. Turning math into something they can enjoy is a good way to teach them to appreciate the subject.
Arithmetic is better understood by a lot of people when used in real-world applications; that’s why math problems at school make use of common first names: “Milly takes the 5 o’clock train. The train ride lasts for 2 hours and a half. At what time will Milly reach her destination?” By presenting math problems in a scenario your child has interest in, will make them more likely to find math less boring at school.
#2 Career Opportunities
The railways even today still offer great career opportunities. Not many hobbies translate so well into a career as being a model train hobbyists does. You can make an excellent living working with trains, owning model railway stores or running online publications about them. If you are looking for a hobby that can help them into their adult life, this could very well be the one. According to Quarter Research the toy trains and model trains market will reach hundred of millions of dollars in 2024. Thus is not something to be ignored!
#1 Entertaining Value
Most importantly, it’s fun. Model railways are incredibly fun to build and use, that’s why they have remained so very popular for so long. It is important to help your child pick a hobby that can benefit them, but it is equally as important to just support what they enjoy the most. If your child has shown an interest in trains, it would be great for you to be as supportive as possible. You could even take an interest and ask them to share what they know so you can foster a stronger relationship between you and your kids.
There is such a huge array of positive benefits that come from nurturing your child’s interest in model railways. Whether you are more concerned about the positive effects now or later on in life, this is one of the best hobbies out there. If you are looking for a hobby to present to your child as an option, perhaps taking them down to a model train store to see if they take an interest would be nice. Or perhaps purchasing them a starter set for their birthday or Christmas would be a good starting point for them too.
Whatever you decide, just know there are so many benefits of being a model train hobbyist and it will certainly be worth giving it a shot.
Here is a beginners guide to model railways with everything you need to know!