Train table for 2 yo - track glued down or not? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 13 Old 09-18-2010, 11:01 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi everyone - We're going to get DS a train table for around the time of baby's arrival. We've been looking at used ones on craigslist and some have the track glued down to the table and some don't. My inclination is to get one where all the pieces are loose and can be built/changed but DH feels that this would be frustrating.

Would love to know what you experienced parents would recommend - even used train sets are so expensive that we want to make the right choice.

Thanks and hope everyone is having a great weekend!

Happy mumma to my boys Henny Tom (Nov 30, 2008), Arlo Odie (Oct 5, 2010), and baby SISTER! due mid-Dec 2014.
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#2 of 13 Old 09-18-2010, 11:12 AM
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We had one of my dads friends build us a table for ds1 for xmas last year (he was 2.75 at the time), and we bought him a couple different train sets. We did not glue track down and I am so glad we didn't. He honestly hasn't been nearly as big a fan of the trains as I thought he would be, but he/we use the table for all sorts of things - coloring, playdough, cars, blocks, eating, etc. If there was always track glued down to it it would be *WAY* less useful!!
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#3 of 13 Old 09-18-2010, 11:22 AM
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We glued our track down and DS ripped it all off, thus damaging the table. He didn't like the permanent track and lost interest in it quickly, but a year later still loves building tracks all over the house. He has much more fun using his imagination to build what he wants.
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#4 of 13 Old 09-18-2010, 11:23 AM
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Don't glue it down! I'm with the above poster- our train table has become useful for so much more than trains. It's very sturdy, so he even sits atop it to play with things he doesn't want little sister to get at (that won't work much longer though!).

His interest in the tracks comes & goes, but when he is into them, he likes to build realllllly looong tracks snaking through the living and dining room...which can be problematic with the baby crawling around, but restricting the track to just a table would just not work.

DS 12/22/05 and DD 5/24/09
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#5 of 13 Old 09-18-2010, 11:27 AM
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The loose track WILL be frustrating - but having glued track stuck on there preventing ds from doing whatever he wants to do on the table on any given day will be MORE frustrating.
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#6 of 13 Old 09-18-2010, 12:04 PM
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We didn't glue it down. Our kids like to take the tracks off and drive their cars on the table.

Live and love with your whole being.
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#7 of 13 Old 09-18-2010, 01:59 PM
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I've been really tempted to get a piece of thin wood and drill holes through the track to temporarily attach them. Here without the track being attached it's just not working to play with the train.

My advice may not be appropriate for you. That's ok. You are just fine how you are and I am the right kind of me.

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#8 of 13 Old 09-18-2010, 02:29 PM
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Loose track for sure. You limit the play value when you make the track immovable. I really like Suretrack clips ( They are a bit pricey but my son learned to use them independently at about 3 1/2. Then at about 4 1/2, he began using them to run track off the edge of the table, through chair rungs, and down to the floor, the sofa, or another table. Definitely worth the price of the 4 or 5 sets that we have.
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#9 of 13 Old 09-18-2010, 02:39 PM
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Actually, my kids prefer to use the track to make their tracks on the floor and skip the table. Little kids like to sit on the floor to play anyway, and older kids can make a lot more complicated designs when they don't have to stay on the table. We've been slowly adding to a set for our ds, letting friends and family give a train or track at birthdays and Christmas, its been great, the train set stays fresh as the new things come in, and it has grown with him. Toddlers really are happy with just an oval to go around, they don't need the complicated stuff, and actually my ds (age 3) will take apart the more complicated stuff his sister makes for him, he'd rather just have a "loop" as he calls it. He's big enough now he likes for his loop to have a tunnel or something, but even a figure 8 is too complicated to be played with for long.

Also- if you glue the track down, you loose the play value of your son figuring out how to put together a track later, a great problem sovling skill and construction activity.

Laura, Mama to Mya 7/02, Ian 6/07 and Anna 8/09
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#10 of 13 Old 09-18-2010, 02:44 PM
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I second the idea of making a table. If you or anybody in the family can do basic building projects, the table is really simple to make.
I'll be be painting the top of our with standard train-table type of illustrations, but you can just varnish it if you're not the artsy type.
A friend used several different pieces of plywood to drop down into the lipped-edge-interchangeable tops for different play.
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#11 of 13 Old 09-18-2010, 03:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Polliwog View Post
I really like Suretrack clips (
I was going to recommend these, too. I got a 3 pack of them on Amazon.

Also, I don't really recommend a table. (Get more track, instead!) We had one, but it limits play. We prefer to just set up track on the floor. We keep ours sorted out in rolling drawers that the kids can move where they want to set it up.
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#12 of 13 Old 09-18-2010, 03:22 PM
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We just have loose track, not even a table for DD's trains. We went ahead and purchased a PBK play mat that used to go with the activity table they sell. When she wants to build on carpet she used that and then we can fold it away. If you can find a nice set on Craigslist, that's great. We couldn't so we just bought the Ikea sets to gauge her interest. Now that we know she loves them we'll probably add to it with fancier stuff later.
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#13 of 13 Old 09-18-2010, 06:20 PM
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Oooh, I'm so ordering some suretrack clips - they sound awesome!! Glad to hear they really do work well too!! Thanks for the tip!!!
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