I've talked before about how much Cutie Pie likes his trains. Many times we've gotten creative with his track using dinosaurs, Legos and whatever else we can find to add trees, houses, and other interesting things to play around with and subsequently he's used these items and ideas and expanded on them.
A recent purchase at a garage sale added yet another dimension to the track today...I'm not even sure what these things are called...we had 3D bridges and tunnels! They are wood pieces with slats in them that slide together. When built tall they are almost my height, and to my delight, or dismay depending on what they land on, they do not make a mess when little hands knock them over. These also create another dimension to our track-building challenges as Cutie Pie usually helps construct something then asks us to help create a track around, under and over the structure.
If I sit and think about what this play is teaching my child I come up with a great list, some of which are logistics of putting pieces together to create a standing building, non-ending track that surrounds the structure, spacial awareness in creating the track to go around, under and over the building...lots of math stuff going on here!