A train set can be captivating for a kid. It spurs their imagination as they watch it go round the track. If you can find a really good set, the tunnels, stops and obstacles can make a child play for hours. Apart from the fun factor, a kid will also have a chance to be creative as he assembles the track. Some sets allow for different configurations to offer more variety of play. Below are some of the best train sets for kids as young as 3.
Thomas the Train: TrackMaster Castle Quest Set
The Thomas the Train: TrackMaster Castle Quest Set is based on the movie King of the Railway featuring none other than Thomas and Friends. If your kid had watched it before, this set will be a nice complement. He will definitely has a more vivid imagination playing with it and relating it to the scenes in the movie.
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This is a multi-level track set with a few close calls in terms of obstacles including a crumbling castle grounds, a missing track piece and a dropping gate. The set comes with a motorized TrackMaster Thomas engine, cargo car, King’s Crown and track set.
The design of this train set has a sense of adventure with an interesting storyline behind it. The mission is to retrieve the missing King’s Crown with obstables in the way. With this as its theme, it is hard for kids not to be excited with this set. Another good thing is you can also mix and match this set with the Thomas wooden trains and tracks. The Castle Quest set itself is durable and the track pieces fit well together. The downside is it could be a little too complicated for a 3-year-old to assemble on his own. The train may also derail at times. But all in all, it is a fun train set with moving parts to provide excitement.
There are also many other Thomas the Train toys that you can get for your kid if he is a big fan of Thomas the Tank Engine. Apart from trains, there is a whole range of other merchandise including play tents, ride-on cars and toy phones.
KidKraft Waterfall Mountain Train Set and Table
With a table, you can avoid having the pieces all over the floor. The KidKraft Waterfall Mountain Train Set and Table will make the room neater and tidier as it also has 3 plastic bins that slide under the table for storage of the tracks and other parts. The table design is also well thought out with a 1.5 inch lip to make sure the pieces are not so easily slid off the top.
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The table is made of composite wood and measures 48.75 (L) x 34.5 (W) x 16 (H) inches. The top is a silk-screened landscaped play board. Altogether, there are 120 pieces for this set. The train tracks are solid wood while the accessories are made of plastic.
The design of this set is engaging with the printed play board. There is an airfield, a lake, roads and pathways printed on the board. As for the tracks, they fit easily together and stay connected. There are also elevated portions to make play exciting. There are lots of pieces to keep your kid interested too.
Melissa & Doug Deluxe Wooden Railway Set
The Melissa & Doug Deluxe Wooden Railway Set has 100 wooden track sections with more than 30 accessories. Included in this set is a 6-piece freight train with cargo, a 4-piece passenger train and a 3-piece flatbed truck with cargo. Except for the wheels and uprights on the suspension bridge, the rest of the set is made of solid wood for long lasting play.
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There are instructions included to configure the tracks in different ways. This would provide a challenge for your kid to build it out differently each time. With road signs, trees and workers, your kid will have fun imagining the scene and building the landscape. Another interesting aspect of play is the ability to load and unload cargo from the train. This is done via 2 magnetized crane assemblies that have a lever to raise and lower the cargo.
This wooden railway set has all the accessories needed to make play interesting. However, there is a common complaint that the wheels for the train are a little wobbly.
KidKraft Bucket Top Mountain Train Set
If you want something cheaper, the KidKraft Bucket Top Mountain Train Set may fit your needs. There are 56 pieces in this set, far fewer than the Melissa & Doug wooden railway set above. But in terms of price, it is about half the cost of the latter which is ideal for those working within a tighter budget.
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The good thing about this toy train set is that it comes in a bucket. So, when play is over, all the pieces can go back inside the container. And the lid for the bucket makes part of the accessories. It is a molded mountain with 2 waterfalls and a lake on which tracks are built over for the train to pass. Other accessories include a fire truck, police station, helicopter, trees, road signs and people.
This is good as a starter set but you may need to upgrade as your kid grows older. The size isn’t that big although some people do prefer a smaller track due to space constraints. The magnets that hold the train together also could be stronger so that the cars don’t get separated when the train goes uphill. There are weaknesses to this kid’s train set but the price is far more affordable with the varied accessories offered.
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