Wooden trains are typically promoted as toys - with accompanying stories, videos and commercial products. That marketing can be a barrier for children in elementary school who feel they've 'outgrown' them. Prepackaged and branded, the potential for wooden trains as a foundation for STEAM and collaborative play is easily overlooked...
Train tables and wood track are found in homes, preschools, children's museums and even some businesses. A few organizations have the space, imagination and resourcing to construct a custom railway. But it is rare to find creative workshops or STEAM activities built around wooden trains.
wRailway was established to share ideas, learning and - in some cases - resources with organizations serving families in creative ways. It builds on past charitable work, leveraging a decade of volunteer experience in the Pacific Northwest and a handful of 501c3 organizations further afield. Workshops and STEAM activities are built upon wTrak's standard for modular wooden railways as well as custom track and tiles from elevatedTrak's series. Most, however, can be adapted to leverage other resources on hand.
Organizations that align well with our mission include children's museums, train museums and children's maker spaces. But many other groups are potentially a fit:
- engage children through middle school,
- underserved communities - broadly defined to include:
- remote from population centers,
- kids on the spectrum,
- families with limited resources,
- cultural diversity, or
- other barriers and challenges),
- accessible to the public
The following are also considered when prioritizing support:
- space available for permanent or periodic hands-on exhibits,
- geographically distant from a modular wooden railway,
- active in a variety of community events,
- relationship with local train clubs,
- conduct Workshops or Maker Events for kids, and/or
- hold train-themed evenings or weekend activities