Back in 2009, I made a little video called “The toy train” and published it to YouTube. As 2017 turned into 2018, that video was seen more than 25,000,000 times. Almost ten years later, I made a follow-up video that can see it here or on YouTube.
The tracks were set up for my daughter, who loves playing with trains. It’s Thomas the Tank Engine and Sir Handel, running on two track sets, Elsbridge Station and Runaway Boulder. The various toys used to decorate the set belong to her.
If you were to put yourself in my shoes, you’d have an interesting perspective on the phenomenon that can be loosely called “children’s videos on YouTube”. When I posted my original toy train video, there was no such thing. I simply made a fun little video that I liked and that I thought children might like. I was thinking forward to the time when I might have a child of my own.
It’s now 2018 and the demand for children’s videos has exploded around me. Some of the big YT channels aimed at children get views that number in the billions and revenues that are in the very healthy millions (see this article). There are even YT channels that don’t even bother to make real videos; instead they use computer algorithms to mash together video clips and audio clips in order to create somewhat watchable gibberish, in the hope of racking up views and revenues (see this article). That’s disturbing. Children need simple, logical storylines to their videos; their young minds are thoroughly confused by computer-generated gibberish.
Rest assured my videos are real and they’re made by me. Enjoy!
Every year, the United States Botanic Garden in Washington, DC, puts on a great Christmas show that features toy trains. These aren’t your average toy trains, like my own set, but large-scale Lionel model trains, made of metal, lit up inside, painted carefully, running on metal tracks. The decor is also special. They put together a different setting to showcase the trains each year, built around a particular theme. The year that I filmed the train show, they’d put together a mountain terrain with tracks hugging the mountainside, going through tunnels inside the mountains, passing by waterfalls and little mountain towns, and crossing long suspended bridges overhead. The video you see below was recorded on December 1, 2007, and you can watch it on Youtube or here.
This year, the Holiday Magic show runs from November 26, 2009 through January 10th, 2010. If you’re in DC, don’t miss it. It’s held in the Conservatory East Gallery and Garden Court. Here’s what the US Botanic Garden says about this year’s show:
The U.S. Botanic Garden’s National Mall and fanciful garden-train exhibits have become a beloved Washington tradition, and this year we’re serving up even more magic with larger and more amazing displays made of plant-based natural materials. You’ll find an enchanted storybook garden with trains popping in and out of a landscape that now includes Snow White’s cottage and the Owl and the Pussycat’s beautiful pea green boat. Our exhibit of the National Mall landmarks is up to date this season with the Obama children’s swing set and another new addition: the National Museum of the American Indian. Again this year, one of Washington’s largest indoor holiday trees will tower over pools of colorful poinsettias and other holiday plants. The whole family will enjoy the children’s plant hunt, which will take visitors through our collections in search of particularly “magical” plants.
For more information about the US Botanic Garden, you may view a gallery of photos I took inside, or you can visit their website.
Updated 11/02/2018: This video now has over 25,000,000 views. Thank you!
My wife gave me this great little train set as a Christmas present a couple of years ago. I thought it’d be fun to film it in action one day, and when I edited the video, I looked for the right kind of music for some time. The end result was worth it though, and it sets the mood for the upcoming holiday season. Enjoy!
You can watch the video here or on YouTube. The soundtrack for the video is called “Choo Choo Train” by Daffy Dave.