Monday, December 15, 2008

Train, planes and well, nothing but trains…

Last year around this time some very dear pals gifted us with a BOX of Brio trains and tracks (and some Thomas stuff too) that were no longer desired by their growing-up son.

We were thrilled. The kiddos were a little young for it then so we carefully stored it away until the right time. (We had this Christmas in mind.)

Meanwhile I’ve spent the last year becoming an expert on train tables.

Should we buy one? Should Danger Dad build one? Should it fit over an existing table? Or be free-standing? Used or new? Permanent or fold-away?

It was decided that the perfect table needed to be only one thing…

FREE. (Or near to free.)

I scoured Craig’s List. Nothing. I asked friends if their kids had outgrown one. Nope.

Then I discovered Freecycle.

I LOVE Freecycle. In short, and in their words, “it's a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (& getting) stuff for free in their own towns. It's all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills.” I LOVE Freecycle.

And people who give away train tables via Freecycle.

A lovely family that was looking to make room for their soon-to-be born third child and gave us their perfectly good train table. Thank you, God.

Since we are heading 600 miles south for the holidays (BY CAR… Yes, we’re going BY CAR…) we decided that we would give S & J’s this as their Christmas NOW instead of lugging gifts with us. (Don't worry, we'll still bring a few things "from Santa" for them to unwrap .)

This morning we revealed the table and all (or most of) it’s goodies.

S played with it for nearly 3 hours STRAIGHT. ("Mama! Look at the trains! We have trains! Let's play trains!")

(J had fun too but was mostly interested in stealing S’s trains or reconfiguring the track (let's make all the trains CRASH!) or using the drawers to make a bed for her beloved monkey, Baby Henry.)

I can unequivocally recommend the train table. A smashing success.

One last note: The friends that gifted us with the trains gave us what we now know is invaluable advice: only introduce 3-4 cars at a time per kid and a very simplified track. That way kiddos don’t become too overwhelmed or even bored… Wonderful advice.


Jessica said...

This is good to know as we have a train table holed up in our basement for next Christmas. We are very lucky to live next door to people who own a toy store, and they give us all of the toys that have damaged boxes that can't be sold in the store. WOO HOO!!

Lisa said...

I cannot believe that you found that AMAZING train table for free! And I am so glad that it is such a success! Is it January yet? I miss seeing you and the kidlets