Home icon

Filling the Trains

toy train on track

About this Video

This video takes place in a toddler room of a university laboratory child care and preschool. Daniel (25 months) and Sadie (26 months) are playing with trains and putting people back into their trains. The teacher is nearby talking with them, narrates their activities, and helps Sadie to see that she needs to put the people into another train because she is out of room in hers.



Two children and a teacher are playing on the floor together.

Teacher: It flipped over, you lost all your people.

Daniel is holding the train up and swinging it around.

Teacher: (to Daniel) Are you going to put them back on? (She takes hold of the train and puts it back on the floor.) Oh, no thanks. It needs to stay on the floor. Keep it on the floor. It’s going to hurt somebody if you swing it around.

Both children are filling their trains. Daniel almost falls over as tries to force one of his people on the train.

Teacher: Careful.

Sadie continues to fill her train, placing the figures one by one on the “seats” of the train. Daniel is looking around the room and holds one of the little people up near his mouth.

Teacher: Not for your mouth. (She takes the toy from him and puts it on the floor.) Don’t put it in your mouth.

Daniel continues to fill his train.

Sadie takes two more little people that are close to Daniel, and he reaches for one of them saying “Mine … mine.”

Teacher: Sadie, you don’t have any more room for people.

Illinois Early Learning Guidelines for Children Birth to Age Three and strategies that caregivers used

Self-Regulation: Foundation of Development
Attention Regulation
Children demonstrate the emerging ability to process stimuli, focus and sustain attention, and maintain engagement in accordance with social and cultural contexts.

  • Strategies for interaction (21-36 months): Observe the child during play and limit adult-directed interruptions while engaged
  • Action: The teacher observed the children during play and only interrupted to provide guidance.

Developmental Domain 1: Social & Emotional Development
Relationship with Peers
Children demonstrate the desire and develop the ability to engage and interact with other children.

  • Strategies for interaction (21-36 months): Provide toys that can be played with by two or more children at a time
  • Action: The teacher provided the toys and supplies to encourage the children to play with them together.

Developmental Domain 2: Physical Development & Health
Fine Motor
Children demonstrate the ability to coordinate their small muscles in order to move and control objects.

  • Strategies for interaction (21-36 months): Provide experiences and objects that promote fine-motor development
  • Action: The train activity requires fine-motor skills to put the people back on the train, and the teacher encouraged Daniel and Sadie to keep trying to fill their trains.

Developmental Domain 4: Cognitive Development
Safety & Well-Being
Children demonstrate the emerging ability to recognize risky situations and respond accordingly.

  • Strategies for interaction (21-36 months): Talk with the child about unsafe situations
  • Action: The teacher told Daniel that the train needed to stay on the floor because he could hurt someone if he kept swinging the train around.

About this resource

Setting(s) for which the article is intended:
  • Home
  • Family Child Care
  • Child Care Center

Intended audience(s):
  • Parents / Family
  • Teachers / Service providers
  • Faculty / Trainer

Age Levels (the age of the children to whom the article applies):
Related IEL Birth to Three Guidelines:
Reviewed: 2017