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@Notch 6 posted:

Personally, I've seen both the TCA and LCCA struggle to keep up with publication for kids over the years. I would be more inclined to start sending him some of the videos from TM Books if it's got to come in the mail. There's a lot of decent train content out there for kids, but most of it is not in printed form these days.

Thank you..I can see that

As young as 5 is difficult, but in a few years (2-4) I'd say the "normal" magazines, like OGR and Classic Toy Trains, are great.  As a kid I greatly enjoyed the magazines, even pretty young.  To me at least, it was obvious when something was watered down for kids, and it made me feel like a part of the hobby to read the "real" content. (And no, this isn't some "back in my day" bit, I'm only 26).

I agree with what @PSM says. I've got nearly twice as many years in the rear-view mirror, but I can remember noticing how "for kids" publications often were too obviously over-simplified when I was little as well. Having raised kids of my own, I'd say it's even gotten worse over time. To use a modern term that's popular in tech fields these days, "Explain like I'm five" means break a subject down into understandable bits and terms without a lot of jargon, but don't over-simplify/talk down to the audience. Most of the regular hobby publications do a great job at that, because hobbyists and hobby journalists are eager to explain how to do things and to pass on knowledge. Kids will be just fine; all they need is a bit of supervision and help when leaning the finer points of safety with basic tools and things like paint and glues if they're diving into projects. I'd hazard a guess that many of us adult hobbyists started young, and along the way learned quite a bit by doing things in hobbies that served us well in understanding more things in the "adult" world as we grew up, anyway. Kids are young and curious; give them all the opportunities they can get to learn new things and watch them take off...

@PSM posted:

As young as 5 is difficult, but in a few years (2-4) I'd say the "normal" magazines, like OGR and Classic Toy Trains, are great.  As a kid I greatly enjoyed the magazines, even pretty young

Even at 5, I think a kid would like subscriptions to OGR and CTT, and the thrill of getting regular mail is just an added bonus to a kid.  I know at that age, a grand-uncle of mine sent me his old copies of Model Railroader and I was thrilled to get them, even though I was only interested in looking at the pictures at the time.  Plus, magazines might stimulate the urge to read them, and read more in general.

I'd still do the TM Videos (lots of great boxed sets) as birthday / holiday / special occasion gifts, probably starting with the "I Love Toy Trains" & kids' series first and then moving on to the "Lionel Nation" and layout type videos as the kids get older.

As for clubs, the national clubs are really geared more towards adults and the more serious hobbyists.  Sure, many of them have junior membership levels, but I don't think they offer much value to a kid unless a parent is actively involved with them.


A kid-focused train publication in print would be amazing but none exist as far as I can see. Sounds like a great opportunity for the OGR! Maybe we could create something similar to "Highlights Magazine" that is kid-focused, colorful, could be distributed at schools, etc. Great for STEM instruction. Could feature real trains and toy trains (sorry, I guess I should not call our model trains toys...). Worth a try! Perfect blend of art, history and technology.

Video is nice but reading is so important (and this is coming from a guy who makes cheap basement videos!)

-Chris RBP

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