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How To Create The Ultimate Trainset With Your Kids

by Robert Keith (follow)
I'm a passionate marketer, health expert & national level athlete with a burning desire to travel.
5-10 year olds (46)      10-13 year olds (42)      3-5 year olds (41)      0-3 year olds (26)     
The enduring popularity of Thomas the Tank Engine proves that there is a lot of little budding engineers and conductors out there. For some, the experience of building the track and the environment around the train is cathartic while for others it’s all about hurtling those toy trains around the tracks towards their destination and visualising an adventure on the way. For whatever reason you decide to introduce your child to train sets, there are surprisingly a lot of options on the market and it is important to consider your child’s age, their interest in trains and how long you are expecting that interest to continue before you purchase your dream railroad.

Awesome Toy Train
Image From Pixabay

Train sets offer pretty much open-ended play, but if your little engineers are really little, it is probably best to stick to a wooden option. Besides offering less small parts and great durability, most brands are compatible with each other allowing endless opportunities for imaginations to run wild, especially if you’re not short on space. Some generic brand train sets also use the same basic track system as Thomas the Tank Engine, Bigjigs, Melissa and Doug and Brio which can be a great money-saver in the quest for the ultimate train set. Thomas can chug happily along your Brio farm railway for a welcome change of scenery.

Awesome Toy Train
Image From Pixabay

If the wooden option seems like the way to go and you have limited space to set it up in, it might be worth researching a train table to meet your specifications. This will give you a level space to work with at the perfect height for your little engineer. Be warned though, if you want to ensure open-ended play with your train set, it’s best not to glue the tracks together! Once you’ve sealed the deal, there’s no going back and re-imagining or expanding your track. Although a fully imagined train set glued to a train table in your local toy store might initially encourage your child’s interest in trains, bring that train table home and they might find it too restrictive for their own grand design.

If your kids are a little older and already obsessed with Lego, it might be worth considering adding some Lego Duplo trains to their collection. Lego is an investment unto itself, so if you’re already swimming in or stepping on the stuff (ouch!), this might be the way to go. If they’re a little reluctant to embrace their inner engineer and and Dad is the one with the train bug, this might help get them over the line. Not only can they tack on train tracks till their heart’s content, but they can also build structures out of the rest of their Lego or Duplo too. Build the tracks around the Sydney Opera House from Lego’s Architecture series and Thomas can wrestle with a cargo or bullet train for time on the tracks while being dive bombed by Star Wars’ Millennium Falcon. Priceless!

Awesome Toy Train
Image From Pixabay

Once you’ve decided to go down either the plastic or wooden path, it’s time to start collecting toy trains, tracks, bridges, mountains and other structures. The best way to get inspired is with a train set that includes a few trains a track and a structure that you can expand on with pieces from other brands or collections. Thomas the Tank Engine is always a good place to start as he comes in both wooden and plastic versions and having a face, and a TV show, lets them connect with him as a feeling character which increases the possibilities for pretend play. Keep them interested by adding new structures and continuously breaking down and reinventing the track. This process is similar to building blocks and puzzles allowing the development of motor skills and cognitive functions including problem solving. Above all get involved, train sets can be a great family activity for all ages.

#0-3 year olds
#3-5 year olds
#5-10 year olds
#10-13 year olds
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