Snakes on a Train

The Power of Play

Snakes on a TrainLast month, my family– including my brother’s two daughters, ages 4 and 8– got stuck on an Amtrak train. While the tracks ahead of us got fixed, our five hour pleasure journey turned into ten hours of… waiting.

“Being a parent is often about heading things off at the pass,” my brother said later, when I commented on his Survivor-style kid engagement. When it became clear that a train car would be home for the foreseeable future, my brother improvised an activity kit: drinking straws, coffee stirrers, pens, pocket knife. Seat trays were deployed. Within a few minutes, the girls were joining straws and stirrers to build snakes and bridges. When the luster of construction wore off, my brother taught the girls to twist rope from straw wrappers.

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