See inside a toddler's mind with a wooden railway.
Back and forth, round and round, through, over and under. Trains move in ways that correspond neatly with many of the most common schemas. These are patterns of thinking that young children use to make sense of the world.
You'll often meet toddlers who are obsessed with their railways, repeating movements again and again. At this age, it's the motion of the vehicles and their position in space that is of interest. Only when children reach three or four do they focus on story-telling and creating small worlds.
You can tell that schema play is happening because the action centres on one particular stretch of track - a tunnel, a bridge, a turntable (enveloping, positioning and rotation respectively). This is valuable information! You now know which activities to offer to deepen your child's understanding. See our overview of schemas for more details.