J is fascinated by anything with a motor, be it large or small. But he has shown a particular interest in trains. He constantly brings me books with trains to read, and he watches in rapt fascination when we get stopped by one (now I turn off a side road to get closer to one if we are too far away in traffic).
Knowing this, I brought him to a park we don't normally visit because of its nearness to some railroad tracks. First we went and observed the tracks. Then we went to play in the park for a little bit until we heard a whistle blowing in the distance.
The train was so close and SO loud. J turned his head into my neck when the horn blew and missed the conductor waving to him!
After the train went by we investigated the gate. I explained how the gate went down when a train was coming and that it means cars have to stop. (We got closer to the gate than this photo, but I was alone and unable to photograph up close for obvious safety reasons).
J was very interested in the gate: it's lights, it's movements, and its sounds. When we got home he looked at his train book again and again and said, "Gate. Cars stop." He also shared his experiences with his teachers at school. (The school is near some tracks as well and the children can see and hear the train from the playground).
J has a set of wooden train tracks that he builds with daily. I wonder if we could focus a little on creating a gate for it or recreate the movements of the gate and the train using our bodies.