Train toys for toddlers are timeless. They date back more than 150 years, and there’s been a resurgence of popularity in wooden train sets over the past two decades, thanks to Thomas the Tank Engine.
In the past, train toys exclusively referred to a basic toy set replete with a track and train figurine.
Today, the term “train toy” encompass a variety of different toys with different uses—everything from battery-powered ride-on vehicles to train-themed tents and huts.
Of course, modern variants of the original train set are also great train toys.
Train sets are ideal toys for toddlers because they provide continual entertainment for long stretches of time. The cyclical nature of the train’s route keeps toddlers engaged and excites his or her imagination.
Toy train sets help develop focus and architectural skills in a toddler, and most of all, they provide a source of fun. And these are just a few of the many benefits!
Below we review today's best train toys for toddlers, a discussion which involves Thomas and Friends toys, among other brands.
But before we begin, take a look at the table below to see our top picks.
Features we love
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100-Piece Orbrium Toys
- Compatible with Thomas Wooden and Brio
Fisher-Price Power Wheels Thomas with Track
- Helps develop cognitive awareness and build
Steam Train Locomotive Engine Car
- Kids love the flashing
- Toy can be used to teach kids about road and railroad safety
Playhut Thomas the Train Play Vehicle
- Instand set-up
Keep reading for all the details on the best train toys!
This triple-loop wooden train set from Orbrium is the first on our list of the best train toys for toddlers.
This is a beautiful, ornate train set constructed with beechwood. It comes with coaches, an engine, buildings, a bridge, and numerous city vehicles, each constructed with fine detail.
Some of the 100 pieces are multi-purpose and there are many ways to build a track with this set.
This set is more appropriate for older toddlers. Younger toddlers might find the complexity of this set difficult to grasp, or be at more risk to clumsily damaging the parts.
The city vehicles are the most unique aspect of this train toy. Buses, cars, ambulances, police cars, and more come included. These are fun additions not often included with other sets.
Next on our list of best train toys for toddlers is battery-powered train from Fisher-Price. The train travels up to 2 mph, and it's powered by a 6-volt battery (charger included). It's meant for indoor use only.
If your toddler isn't ready to ride around freely, he or she can first practice by riding along the included track. The ride-on train is limited to 1 mph when moving along the track. It's easy to operate with simple push button switches that toddlers can grasp, and even better, it teaches them cause and effect.
You'll quickly find your toddler enjoying a ride across wooden or carpet surfaces on this fantastic train. All aboard Thomas!
What looks like a simple ride-on toy on the surface is actually a great learning experience for your kiddo. Using the buttons teaches cause and effect, and maneuvering the toy helps build self-confidence. This is an excellent toy for role playing, and getting on and off helps with balance, motor skills and cognitive awareness. What more could you ask for in a train toy?
This train toy from Velocity Toys is certainly a showy source of entertainment for your toddler.
From its striking silver and red design to its flashing LED lights, this fast-moving toy train definitely excites.
It can run on all surfaces—indoor and outdoor—and it is designed to instantly change directions as soon as it makes contact with another object. This function enhances the safety of the toy.
The ability to blow bubbles as it travels absolutely makes this toy unique. The set comes with bubble liquid and a funnel pour, so you can add as you go.
This train comes with a lot of accessories: a buildable tree, two figurines (train driver and car driver), flowers, crates of apples and pumpkins for loading the car, and an open level crossing, which can serve as a way to educate your young child about railroad safety.
Though it's not motorized, this toy can provide a lot of fun for your toddler, and it's easy to put the parts together. This particular train is compatible with a lot of tracks from other DUPLO sets.
Our favorite feature is the open crossing accessory. It is nice to see a toy manufacturer emphasizing traffic safety with a feature like this.
This playhut is perhaps the most unique item on our list. It's perfect for a toddler looking to escape into his or her own space to play for a while, either alone or with friends.
There's room within for up to 4 toddlers, and easy entrance on the slit side door and tunnel port in the back make this a very comfortable play space. The hut also connects to an optional tunnel that can link up with other play structures.
EZ Twist technology makes the set-up easy as pie. Plus, the hut comes with a carry bag; you can fold up the nylon playpen and stuff it into a duffel-style bag for easy travel.
Perhaps the foremost point to be made about today's train toys is that they are not as simple or uniform as in years past. To a toy industry once limited to the basic track and figurine structure and wooden train sets, this list demonstrates that train toys now include play items from tent-like play huts to ride-on battery-powered vehicles, not to mention train tables.
If your child is more attune to long periods of playtime, the Orbrium 100-piece and the Playhut Thomas are probably your best options. On the other hand, if your toddler is in need of visual and sonic stimulation or is overly active, perhaps you should examine the Engine Car or the Power Wheels Thomas.
When considering the appropriate train set for your child, you are going to want to examine price and functionality. Hopefully this article gets you on the right track!
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