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Best Toy Train Sets
Updated on
January 4, 2024

Best Toy Train Sets

By Babylist Team
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Best Toy Train Sets.
Best Toy Train Sets

Train sets have long been a favorite for kids of all ages, sometimes even inspiring life-long hobbyists. But while kids are small, train sets put little ones on the right track for learning.

Toddlers experience important physical and cognitive benefits from grasping and pushing trains across the floor. Handling small objects like trains and track pieces help develop fine motor skills that play a key role in day-to-day tasks. By keeping trains on course, navigating obstacles and creating imaginative scenarios, your toddler can build their problem-solving skills and foster their creative thinking.

Start with simple kid-powered wooden trains, then gradually build out the collection. From toddlers to preschoolers and beyond, kids can work their way up to more extensive sets with tracks that can be configured in different ways. Add in motorized trains, accessories and more. A timeless toy that’s been around for centuries, even a small wooden train can provide hours of fun.

All aboard! These are our favorite train sets:

The Starter Set

BRIO has been in the toy-making business since the late 1800s, designing safe, quality toys that fuel endless imaginative play. This smaller-scale track makes for a perfect first train set for any toddler. It comes with two colorful train cars that connect magnetically, a rainbow bridge, ramps and just the right amount of tracks for little engineers to navigate. Better yet, all of the wood used in this toy is traceable and originates from responsibly managed forests. This awesome starter set grows with your kiddo—simply add BRIO’s expansion pack to build out the route. And if you saved your own childhood BRIO train sets, they’ll work just as well, too.

Additional Specs
Child Guidelines Ages 18 months+
Includes 18 pieces: 1 train engine, 1 rattle train car, 4 ramps, 1 tunnel, 8 curves, 2 ascending tracks and 1 connecting track

For the Thomas Fans

Has your tyke demanded a hundredth repeat of Thomas & Friends episodes? We completely understand if you’re a little burnt out on the theme song, so here’s an opportunity to turn the show off for a bit and let your little Thomas fan play with the friendly engine and his whole crew in real life! While there are smaller, more budget-friendly Thomas & Friends sets out there, the Super Station gets the gold star from parents because it can grow with your child. Small circular track, medium-sized figure eight, large two-level racing ramp…there are lots of different configurations for the tracks, so it can fit nearly any space, height or creative desire. These tracks are compatible with trains from Thomas & Friends Adventures, TrackMaster, MINIS and Wooden Railways, and the set can store over 100 engines!

Additional Specs
Child Guidelines Ages 3 years+
Includes Over 35 ft of track, plus 4 engines: Thomas (TrackMaster), Percy (Thomas & Friends Adventures), James (MINIS) and Harold

Two-in-One Train

Build. Take apart. Repeat. Introduce your toddler to blocks and trains at the same time with this interactive set featuring colorful blocks that stack together right on top of the three interlocking train cars. Aside from choo-chooing around the playroom, kids can rebuild the train into whatever structure they dream up. Keep in mind, though: unlike the other trains in this guide, this one doesn’t come with a track.

Additional Specs
Child Guidelines Ages 2 years+
Includes 1 engine, 2 train cars, 15 wooden blocks

Nice Flex!

The ability to customize a railway is part of the grand appeal of train sets, but most sets only have fixed shapes for their tracks, which ultimately limits what your toddler can build with them. Enter the flexible track: train tracks made of much smaller pieces that, when connected, allow for about 10 degrees of flexibility in either direction so kiddo can truly customize the sharpness of every turn. This set also comes with a loop and battery-operated trucks that can tackle the 360-degree inversion with ease. Keep in mind: While the description says this set comes with 192 track pieces, remember that the pieces are much smaller than with typical tracks, so the size of the full track when put together is comperable to other beginner-sized sets.

Additional Specs
Child Guidelines Ages 3-7 years
Includes 192 track pieces, 2 race cars, 3 small cars, 18 signs, 1 door, 1 slope, 1 crossroad, 1 ball, 4 tires, 1 turntable, 1 tunnel, and 1 crane

Budget-Friendly Expansion

Lots of brands out there make expansion packs for wooden train sets (most of which are considered universal, meaning they all fit together seamlessly regardless of brand), but this 50-piece pack from IKEA only costs about $20 and fits with the wooden tracks and trains from major brands like BRIO, Melissa & Doug, Thomas & Friends and more. Other budget-friendly pieces from IKEA include an elevated bridge and a turntable.

Additional Specs
Child Guidelines Ages 3 years+
Includes 50 wooden pieces, including 4 sizes of straight pieces, 2 sizes of curves and crosstracks

Train On the Go

Trains were made to move, but what about entire sets of tracks? With this handy little set, kiddo can take their entire railroad on the go with ease. The tracks are built right into the wooden case, and the interior of the case is hollow to store the 17 pieces, including train cars, buildings and scenery. The case even has handles to make it easy to carry, whether you’re going to grandma’s house, the park or a long car trip. Keep in mind: Since the tracks are built into the case, there’s no customization like with other train sets.

Additional Specs
Child Guidelines Ages 3-6 years
Includes 1 foldable wooden case, 3 wooden wheeled train cars, a park ranger vehicle, bridge, mountain tunnel, gondola, station, cabin, trees, animals, and a railroad sign

The Splurge

Serious train enthusiasts will want to hunker down at this big, sturdy train table all day long. KidKraft’s Waterfall Mountain set includes 120 pieces that drive your little conductor’s creativity (and trains, of course!) around the multilevel tracks. A two-piece board sets the stage for imagination, designed with colorful grass, roads and water. It even includes detailed accessories like street signs, a helicopter, people, trees and little buildings that create a city, and your tot’s favorite trains from other sets can also join in the fun. And good news, parents: there are three storage bins included below the table for easy cleanup. Keep in mind: the table is about four feet long by three feet wide, so make sure your play area has plenty of space.

Additional Specs
Child Guidelines Ages 3 years+
Includes 120 pieces, table, 3 storage bins
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