It really doesn't take much. When they come to the meets, let them run some trains. For me, I have a father who is interested in trains and he got me into it and now I have a collection of over 25 locomotives and about 150 rolling stock. They really need to be around it. Also what helps is train rides. I realize that in some areas you can't find to many tourist railroads. But it really helps with the growing interest. Also, since you bought them that trains set, I have a few questions on that. First is the train set always set up or is it put away for most of the time?
It helps if the train set is placed onto board and is able to stay out all the time. This way if they see it, they might just go ahead and play with it. If it's put away most of the time, they might not ask about it. So it might be a good idea to have set up most of the time.
Now I don't know if the mother is to interested in the idea of model railroading. If she isn't, it might be a good idea to convince her. A parent or relative who encourages kids to get into it usually helps.
Show them a loco with spinner wheels!!!
I was lucky enough to be born in Colorado, so we have many RR's here. I was interested in trains since I was around 3. I took my first train ride before I was able to walk. To see something that is inanimate suddenly breathe on you has a certain shock factor to younger kids.
Many of us are old enough to have became interested in trains because we witnessed steam or rode reat passenger trains as youngsters.
How do you do that nowadays?
I visited the National Canal Museum in Easton, Pennsylvania last week and got a good look at their new interastive Canal exhibits for kids. It's all "Hands On" from running a canal boat full of coal to computer simulations. And it's already a destination place for families -- with lots of repeat business.
In the warmer months, they off canal boat rides on a remnant of the Lehigh Canal.
Now compare this with typical railroad attractions -- the model trains are behind glass, run by adults -- usually older men. Kids can look but not touch; maybe there's a train ride but for many who never experienced the steam era or the heyday of steamlined passenger trains, there's little context.
So -- how many rail musem/attractions are out there that let kids run the model trains themselves? How many offer hands-on examples of how steam locomotives actually work? Or a diesel? How many have a layout letting kids work out a switching puzzle?
At some point, we have to think about how we present outselves and our hobby and our fascination.
Anyone who gets near Easton Pennsylvania should visit the Canal Museum and see what they've created. There are also some nice anthracite railroad exhibits for adults <g>. but there's plenty here to consider if we're seriously interested in hetting kids hooked on the hobby.
If I may make some suggestions havving two girls who love trains and a having been introduced to trains at a young age . You may try some of the following ideas
Good luck I hope this helps
Im 26, when I was a lil kid my dad would allways take me upto the train station to watch the Burlington Northern freight & commuter trains going to and from chicago. Also we used to visit a hobby shop down the street from our old church every sunday and they had a nice LGB layout that I could watch for hours. Soon after my dad started me out with a Bachmann ASTF freight set in HO, I allways had a thing for LGB but my parrents allways said it cost to much.
My sister has a son who is almost 2 now and I'm getting him into trains, I got a D&RGW Bachmann G scale train setup on a 10'x8' oval of track in my living room that we play with when I baby sit him a couple days a week. I also take him up to the train station like my did with me, oh yeah and hes addicted to Thomas & friends so I gave my sister all my old VHS tapes and bought them some new DVD's
my sister & her boyfriend both say the kido runs around the house saying "Bubby Choo Choo?" alot lol
Best way to get kids interested in trains is show them that they are interesting
Lionel collector, stuck in an N scaler's modelling space.
I was at my local hobby store the day after Christmas and witnessed a father returning an electric train set. Here's what he told the shop owner, "Within an hour my boy lost interest. Half the couplers broke, and he couldn't make a train." As their discussion continued, I learned that the child is 9 years old, and not reckless with his belongings. My guess is that this was the beginning and end of that kid's interest in model trains.
Track used to be the source of most train-set trouble. To a great degree manufacturers have eliminated the problems associated with track, so I would have figured that train sets are a good way to get kids into our hobby. The new thing appears to be couplers. I hope a few manufacturers are reading this because I think this is something they could help with.
I hated horn-hook couplers. They were ugly and hard to uncouple, but they were durrible. Knuckle couplers look better, but the plastic ones are not exactly kid proof. The metal knuckle couplers are more durrable, but they're shot if that little spring disappears. What we need is a kid's train coupler. Make it durrable and easy to couple/uncouple. Appearance is not as important as these factors. I wonder about borrowing from the Brio and Thomas the Tank Engine producers and make a magnetic coupler in which the magnetic force is what keeps them coupled. Put the knuckle couplers in the box, so a kid can convert later.
By the way, my own interest in model trains started when I was 12. I picked up an issue of Model Railroader Magazine at the school library and I was hooked. I saved my allowance and bought a train set, and things progressed from there. I think a good way to get kids into any hobby is to give them access to information about it, then let them develop their own interest. With trains, invite them to go with you to a train show. If they come along, don't forget that they are your guest. Try to be interested at their level, and don't get wrapped up in conversations with your train pals - the kid will feel left out. If they ask questions that seem too elementary, answer respectfully. Of course, leave when they have had enough (you can always come back later to talk to your pals or to spend more time.
Be sure that they have some source of money to finance their hobby. An allowance works great. Teach them to save to buy the more pricy components.
One last thing, if they start becoming interested allow them to learn on their own. Nothing cools a kid off more than dad telling them how to do their hobby. If they ask a question, answer them, then get out of the way and never work on their project! Allow them to watch and help you on your layout and models, but theirs should be their own work. They should have their own work space and tools, and preferably their own layout, all financed primarily with their own money.
Here's to a generation of train modelers,
Phil, I'm not a rocket scientist; they are my students.
I got interested in trains by my dad, he was an avid train buff and model railroader. We got a small Lionel layout when I was about 5 and he switched us to HO when was about 8 or 9 by the time I was out of high school I probably had 8 to 10 HO locos and I don't remember how many cars. I'm 40 now with 3 kids of my own and lucky enough to be building my dream layout. My two boys and little girl love to run trains back and forth on what track I have down. Under my supervision of course! If all goes well this year I should have the mainline down and operating. If I can get that done I plan fixing up some of my old blue box engines and giving them to the kids for Christmas this year I think they'd get a kick out of that.