at my last exhibition I felt guilty because main layout was a few inches higher supported on an old army stretcher. I noticed quite a few of the smaller children stretching to get a better view.
I do wonder if we are being too simplistic in the way we exhibit our layouts to children. We assume they want to be involved, when many are quite happy to watch and count how many wagons there are in a train. Some want to ask questions, but need encouragement, and it is not just going to be silly pointless questions.
I am exhibiting some of my mashed paper 3D artwork, and yesterday helped with a visit from local Brownie(Girl guide) group. They were encouraged to ask questions, and many of them were no older than my original art work and models using mashed paper, which Michael originally suggested back in 2006/7. In a lot of ways they behaved a lot better than some older children, but then they were in a properly organised group.
Thing is, I think, that if you exhibit something that interests younger visitors then they will be interested. It is as much those with the children, parents or group leaders who will help to encourage them, but they might also be directing them towards what they think the children are interested in.
On that point, I think some exhibition managers might be stereotyping children. Having a 'Thomas' layout isn't very imaginative, even the 'hands on' layout might not appeal to some. One comment I keep getting about my layouts is that they are eye catching and different. I always try to having a train moving, but also am happy to talk to visitors. It would be interesting to observe a larger group of children at an exhibition, because I think it would be different to the more usual parents and children.
Another advantage of have organised groups is that it would introduce possibilities of after show activities organised by these groups, in a similar way to school children being encouraged to write, draw, paint or just be creative to show what they got out of a school trip.
Narrow gauge Francophile interested in 1m, 60cm,50cm , 40cm and smaller gauges . Build in scales from 1/6th to 1/24th. Also 1/32nd and 1/35th using 16.5mm track to represent 50cm and 60cm gauges. http://www.rue-d-etropal.com