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Just finished a very fun activity. My grandson is staying with us this week.  His school is closed so all learning is 'virtual learning.'  Eye opening to me to see that play out.  Yesterday at the end of his day, he teased a look at my layout to his class. His Dad held his portable laptop so the class could see the layout. His teacher and class were so enthralled, she asked if  the class could take a "virtual field trip" to the layout today.  Yes indeed I said. So this morning, his teacher took her class on a virtual 'field trip' to Zack's Granpuller's layout.'  The kids were ecstatic as was the teacher. Zack ran a VL Challenger and an MTH Diesel, NS 6920 "Honoring our Veterans." He demonstrated the MTH car wash, explained how the layout came about and answered many excellent questions.  It lasted about 13 minutes.  A great opportunity to introduce little ones to our hobby.  I'm hoping we'll have a return visit to show off more of the fun stuff on the layout and excite more little ones about the hobby.

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Ed, your effort was certainly a good one and I am certain it was an exciting (and different) learning experience for the teacher and kids. With everything going on now, this is not a great time frame to be a kid right now.

But I question whether it made much of a dent as far as exposing little ones to the hobby. A much better approach would have been to have your grandson run some starter sorts of trains, like LionChief or maybe LionChief Plus: The sorts of trains that might be within the reach of an average family. I highly doubt any young family is going to be buying their kid a Lionel Vision Line Challenger. Or even a scale MTH diesel, unless of course, the dad is already into trains, and the kid will be running trains on his dad's layout not his own.

Years ago, I used to take a traveling layout to train shows, with 027 track and the sorts of starter set train items running, that a family looking to get into the hobby might be able to afford. One year I was parked right next to a modular high end layout with all the advanced control systems running high end scale trains. I thought to myself "Who's brilliant idea was this??"

But only after a couple hours I saw the wisdom in that placement. Families with young kids kept telling me how much they liked my layout. I'd question them saying, 'But what about the layout over there? They have all the super advanced realistic trains?"

The answers were unanimous and overwhelming: "We have kids. We can't afford those sorts of trains. Those are for wealthy retired people. Yeah, those trains are nice, but we want something for kids that we can afford." "That layout is impressive but not realistic for us to do... your layout is within our budget." And so on.

Mothers in particular were interested in how much the trains cost me. And they showed a lot of interest in my low cost, low tech approach to the hobby. They were also really interested in how I painted the little people and buildings." I could also discern the father's who were already interested in trains with their questions like "When did K-Line make the K-Line S-2 switcher in Conrail?" I'd tell them I repainted it myself and after telling me I do good work wanted to know where I found the paint and decals?

And for the supposed theory that everything needs to be digital, young boys in particular were very curious as to how something operated by pulling a piece of nylon fishline. I'd let them look beneath the layout and I could tell, it was like a revelation to them, that a string and gravity can make something operate. And no kid walked away without a chance to run the trains from, gasp, a normal transformer.

Anyways Ed, your idea was certainly a good one indeed. But it might have for impact for the hobby and the future, if the next time you ran some practical starter set sorts of trains that would be likely candidates for a child's very first train set.

Last edited by brianel_k-lineguy

Ed, your effort was certainly a good one and I am certain it was an exciting (and different) learning experience for the teacher and kids. With everything going on now, this is not a great time frame to be a kid right now.

But I question whether it made much of a dent as far as exposing little ones to the hobby. A much better approach would have been to have your grandson run some starter sorts of trains, like LionChief or maybe LionChief Plus: The sorts of trains that might be within the reach of an average family. I highly doubt any young family is going to be buying their kid a Lionel Vision Line Challenger. Or even a scale MTH diesel, unless of course, the dad is already into trains, and the kid will be running trains on his dad's layout not his own.

Years ago, I used to take a traveling layout to train shows, with 027 track and the sorts of starter set train items running, that a family looking to get into the hobby might be able to afford. One year I was parked right next to a modular high end layout with all the advanced control systems running high end scale trains. I thought to myself "Who's brilliant idea was this??"

But only after a couple hours I saw the wisdom in that placement. Families with young kids kept telling me how much they liked my layout. I'd question them saying, 'But what about the layout over there? They have all the super advanced realistic trains?"

The answers were unanimous and overwhelming: "We have kids. We can't afford those sorts of trains. Those are for wealthy retired people. Yeah, those trains are nice, but we want something for kids that we can afford." "That layout is impressive but not realistic for us to do... your layout is within our budget." And so on.

Mothers in particular were interested in how much the trains cost me. And they showed a lot of interest in my low cost, low tech approach to the hobby. They were also really interested in how I painted the little people and buildings." I could also discern the father's who were already interested in trains with their questions like "When did K-Line make the K-Line S-2 switcher in Conrail?" I'd tell them I repainted it myself and after telling me I do good work wanted to know where I found the paint and decals?

And for the supposed theory that everything needs to be digital, young boys in particular were very curious as to how something operated by pulling a piece of nylon fishline. I'd let them look beneath the layout and I could tell, it was like a revelation to them, that a string and gravity can make something operate. And no kid walked away without a chance to run the trains from, gasp, a normal transformer.

Anyways Ed, your idea was certainly a good one indeed. But it might have for impact for the hobby and the future, if the next time you ran some practical starter set sorts of trains that would be likely candidates for a child's very first train set.

Brian, I have no idea what kind of 'dent' it made.  With 10 or less minutes for the show and tell, what I do know is my grandson felt like the most important person in the world as he explained how he was operating the trains, and from the reaction of the kids, and their questions, locked up w/o any real 'socializing' it was a hit. We'll never know what if any lasting impact it will have, if any, but even if only one of his classmates decides to drive his parents nuts until they 'get him or her a train' it will be positive for the hobby.  I do appreciate your taking the time to respond.  Your suggestions and experiences are good info for anyone having an opportunity to open kids to the hobby.  As for the VL Challenger, that was Zack's choice.  He knew the size, sounds and all that smoke would capture his classmates' attention.  For kids who like dinosaurs...bigger at times is better! 

That is outstanding Ed,  I now from my own experience with my GKs, They loved the more advanced locomotives on my layout.  The fact that they talked, and liked the horns, bells, was exciting to them.

Youngsters aren't concerned with cost.  They only see fascination and wonderment.  And as mentioned by,RSJB18, a  very nice distraction for a few minutes from the usual routine they have been enduring....  Plus it was a big day for Zack'.. One he'll remember, and a pre-cursor for Effective Presentations'..

WE all have our own opinions on these subjects.  If youngsters are seeing and learning about something new and interesting, that is a good thing'.. As far as opinions, everyone has one, It reminds me of a quote my old friend used to say'.."The same shoe doesn't fit every foot"... and all feet stink'...

Enjoy the moment you and Zack and his classmates shared today'... 😃👍👌🤴🏻☑

Last edited by Quarter Gauger 48

That is outstanding Ed,  I now from my own experience with my GKs, They loved the more advanced locomotives on my layout.  The fact that they talked, and liked the horns, bells, was exciting to them.

Youngsters aren't concerned with cost.  They only see fascination and wonderment.  And as mentioned by,RSJB18, a  very nice distraction for a few minutes from the usual routine they have been enduring....  Plus it was a big day for Zack'.. One he'll remember, and a pre-cursor for Effective Presentations'..

WE all have our own opinions on these subjects.  If youngsters are seeing and learning about something new and interesting, that is a good thing'.. As far as opinions, everyone has one, It reminds me of a quote my old friend used to say'.."The same shoe doesn't fit every foot"... and all feet stink'...

Enjoy the moment you and Zack and his classmates shared today'... 😃👍👌🤴🏻☑

Thanks Ted. You said it far more effectively than I.

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