Play is fundamental to the overall development of children. Without it, children miss out of their overall mental development and wind up having a ‘carry over’ when they are grown up and are supposed to be adults.
To avoid this sad reality – and help little kids develop their full potential to its maximum, play is not only important, it is vital. However, not all manner of play help kids – (particularly toddlers) develop positively towards the angle desired. Accordingly, all toys/play activity geared simply towards engaging the child so that the parents/caregivers can do something else should be avoided.
However, there is an exception that stimulates toddlers, develops their cognitive powers, enhances their appreciation of the real world they will soon be facing and provides, importantly, immense fun and a source of steady engagement for them.
- Why Toddlers Need Train Sets
- What to Look Out for When Buying Train Sets for Toddlers
- Best Train Set for Toddlers: Our Top 5 Picks
- 1. KidKraft Ride Around Train Set and Table
- 2. VTech 80-146700 Go! Go! Smart Wheels Train Station Playset
- 3. Melissa & Doug Deluxe Wooden Railway Train Set
- 4. BRIO My First Railway Beginner Pack Train Set
- 5. KidKraft Bucket Top Mountain Train Set
- Wrap Up
Why Toddlers Need Train Sets
Train sets are not the manner of everyday ‘toy’ a child is gifted on his/her first birthday. It is thus not particularly common and as with all things that are rare, it is easy to wonder why it is important for toddlers to have such sets or why they even need it in the first place.
Here are the most important reasons why we sincerely hold that EVERY toddler needs a train set as a toy during the critical years of childhood.
- A train set helps develop general cognitive ability in a toddler. From the interactions he/she has with the various objects and figurines on the set, the kid’s learning, problem solving ability and general attention to detail are both tested and enhanced as a direct consequence of the interaction.
- General intelligence is also greatly improved by the use of train sets for kids. This is achieved by the tasks that the set ensures and the efforts needed to achieve or ‘push’ those tasks if play on the set is to be achieved.
- A train set also introduces a kid to the reality of the real world. In play thus, the toddler is introduced to the fact that society is segmented and actually works on the (very important) principle of division of labor. For kids who are not privileged to have such an important toy, those who have will always have a head start over them.
- The introduction of a train set to a toddler’s life is also linked to direct success at school. This is so because, kids who play with a traditional train set are very eager to ‘grow up’ and ‘live like adults’. Since they can only achieve their dreams by putting effort in school and graduating with flying colors, they usually develop an added interest in their studies; efforts that normally translate to (often huge) academic success.
- Finally, a train set has the unique ability to plant the rare seed of genius in a child – the seed of understanding how things are connected. This is achieved by the interconnectedness of the set and how it all works out. At a tender age thus, the child clearly understands that things are connected and will certainly start seeking for that connection even in other spheres of life. It is worth noting that it is an astute understanding of that connection that breeds what we generally understand today as ‘genius’.
What to Look Out for When Buying Train Sets for Toddlers
Before you open your wallet (or purse) and enter your credit/debit card details for a brand new train set for your toddler, it is important to understand that, there are some very important things to look out for.
- Durability: train sets for toddlers ought to be exceedingly durable if they are going to last (any reasonable amount of time), especially when it is considered that children between the ages of 1 and 4 are usually at their ‘destructive’ best.
- Ease of Assembly: it would be quite embarrassing is neither daddy nor mummy can figure out how to assemble the train set when it finally arrives. To avoid this clear embarrassment, it is smart to opt for models that can be easily assembled.
- Large play board: a train set includes various activities that take up quite some space. Accordingly, it only makes sense if the play board is quite large and can accommodate all the play and action that is traditionally associated with the train set.
- Varying figurines: an awesome train must have varying figurines to heighten the experience of the toddler. Accordingly, models that only have a figurine or two should be avoided as they would not offer the experience level the child needs to be mentally stimulated.
- Multi-color: finally, train sets bought for kids should be multi-colored. Children love colors and the sheer number of colors a train set has is enough stimulation for many kids. As a general rule, the train set must have at least, 3 different colors.
The good thing is that, all the models referred to in this article meet the criteria set out above. Accordingly, you do not need to bother yourself with looking to see if the features we mentioned are part of the set you intend to buy.
…what you need to do is simply to purchase any of the recommendations below that catches your fancy J Let’s now move to the review of the various train sets proper.
Best Train Set for Toddlers: Our Top 5 Picks
The reviewed below contains the best train set for toddlers available today. If you have a toddler and wish to purchase a train set for him or her, this is your chance to make an informed choice.
Take a peep:
1. KidKraft Ride Around Train Set and Table
Designed in a manner that is powered by a table, the KidKraft Ride Around Train Set and Table is one of the rare train sets that comes standard with a table, ensuring that toddlers bring their play world closer to their eyes for more intensive and engaging imaginative play. Paired with two bins for conventional storage, the manufacturers of this train set are conscious of the fact that, after play, comes tidying up and eventual storage – a feature parents are particularly happy with.
The trains set itself features a hospital and an ambulance; an airport (with an included runway and helipad) – and is large enough for more than one toddler to conveniently play with at a time, a reality parents need not bother about especially when the legendary sturdiness of the train set is carefully considered.
What We Like
- Extra sturdy construction that is certain to last many years to come.
- Compatible with Thomas and Friends wooden train sets.
- Large enough to accommodate more than 1 toddler simultaneously.
- Compatible with Brio wooden train sets.
- Includes an airport and a hospital for both heightened and varying experiences.
- Quality hand painted vehicles and figures.
- Tabletop design that ensures that play is lifted off the floor (and closer to the eye level of the toddlers.
What We Dislike
- The tracks of the train set could have been made better for a more closer, ‘real life’ fit.
- Some customers are dissatisfied with the fact that when the train set is placed on a uneven surface, it does not create the perfect angles/ensure train ‘transit’ in a manner they would have loved.
2. VTech 80-146700 Go! Go! Smart Wheels Train Station Playset
The VTech 80-146700 Go! Go! Smart Wheels Train Station Playset is certainly one of the best educational toys in the market today that will enhance your child’s creativity. Engineered with 10 SmartPoint locations that brilliantly interact with SmartPoint vehicles to trigger fun phrases, music and sound effect, there is practically no limits to the joy and interaction your kid will derive from this train set.
Further, this train set includes animal tracks that can be connected for maximum play. To make the play board complete, features such as an electronic train station, bridge, tunnel and a conveyor belt are all standard. These advanced (mobilized) features will certainly give your kids an edge over other children of his/her age who will depend on books/TV for a similar (but remarkably inferior) experience.
What We Like
- Interactive role play features that makes the entire train set come alive.
- Fun phrase, music and sound effect – all which help toddlers with their first words or their correct pronunciation.
- Animal track pieces connectivity.
- Smart introduction of the time concept and its overall importance in life.
- 32 interchangeable track pieces for 15 feet of play.
- Super bright colors that are sure to excite toddlers to no end.
What We Dislike
- Some customers opined that the train best suits kids from 4 years and is not ideal for ages less than that.
- The train set would be better if the tracks held together in a more precise fashion.
3. Melissa & Doug Deluxe Wooden Railway Train Set
The Melisa & Doug Deluxe Wooden Railway Train Set is a well-constructed, old-fashioned train set for endless hours of immersive play. Built in a super durable manner with solid wood construction, this train set features a freight train, passenger train and a flatbed truck and is guaranteed to last in a manner that is uncommon with most modern toys today.
Further, the set features 100 wooden track sessions and supports over 30 accessories. This single handed variety ensures that kids have a variety of options to play with and with this play, an opportunity to vary their experiences. When the easy to follow instructions for four (4) different track configurations are considered, it is becomes crystal clear that this train set may also be the personal favorite of parents too.
What We Like
- Ultra durable wood construction guaranteed to work flawlessly for years.
- Over 30 added accessories for heightened fun and experience.
- 4 (four) different track configuration options available to provide variety to the tender, toddler’s minds.
- Easy to follow instructions that make the track very easy to set up for kids.
- Various bright color options that, are very appealing to tender minds.
What We Dislike
- The set is not ideal for children who are less than 3 years old.
- Some customers were disappointed that the train set is not made locally in the US.
4. BRIO My First Railway Beginner Pack Train Set
Just when you believe that you have seen all the train sets for toddlers there are to see, you are greeted with the BRIO My First Railway Beginner Pack Train Set. Brightly colored and engineered to stimulate the imagination of even the most distracted toddler, this train set features a special rainbow design and offers ramps for on and off rail play.
The awesome and interesting thing about this train set is that, it is super easy for toddlers to create the perfect railway of their dreams. This is made possible because the track sections are very easy to put together and take apart, in whatsoever fashion kid(s) desire.
The deal closer of this model is its longevity: users have opined that their own children often have the privilege of using their own train sets, sets that are usually, well over 35 years old!
What We Like
- Rare rugged build that can survive use right through a whole generation (and unto the next).
- Various configurations for one rail and off rail play.
- Brightly colored in a manner that is certain to attract and keep the attention of your kid(s).
- Compatible with other BRIO trains and tracks.
- Manually operated. This saves power and engages the toddler more.
What We Dislike
- This train set is not ideal for kids less than 3 years old.
- The overall train set has less figurines, trains and cars than some customers would have loved.
5. KidKraft Bucket Top Mountain Train Set
The KidKraft Bucket Top Mountain Train Set is an impressive train set, super ideal for toddlers. It features a standard rail track, waterfalls, a lake, fire truck, police station, helipad, airplane and runway. It aims – and brilliantly succeeds in giving toddlers who are opportune to play with it an experience that is in a league of its own.
Aside carefully ensuring that the kids have the time of their life when they’re playing with this set, the manufacturers have also ensured that parents are also considered. Accordingly, the train set is easy to store away when play time is finished, thanks to the standard storage bucket attached.
What We Like
- Long winding track.
- Multi experiences and various figurines (each depicting the corresponding experience).
- Convenient storage bucket.
- Compatible with Thomas wooden railway.
- Compatible with Chugginton trains & tracks.
- Ultra durable wood design/construction that will certainly last a generation.
What We Dislike
- The train set works best on a flat surface. Insisting that it works otherwise may not offer the desired result.
- The set is best for children over 4 years old.
A train set is an ideal gift for a child as from his first birthday. However, as from the 3rd birthday, it becomes mandatory that each child has his own set – for obvious reasons already explained in details in the article.
To make certain that you get the very best experience when you go shopping, we have ensured that we share with you here, the very best train set for toddlers.
It is our expectation and hope that you’ll have an awesome shopping experience.