18 Best Trains Sets for Kids in 2017

best train sets kids

It is often difficult to choose toys that kids will surely appreciate or love. While we tend to say that it is in the thought of giving that really counts, for young children, it is more about how much fun they can derive from the gifts or presents that we give that really matters. For them, toys are everything. In the point of view of experts, toys are the instruments that help facilitate optimum child growth and development. It is therefore important to choose toys that are not only fun and will be appreciated by kids but are also developmentally-appropriate.

One of the most beneficial toys when it comes to the development of creativity, imagination, dexterity, psychomotor skills, and cognitive skills is train toy sets. This 2016, we have listed the 18 most popular train sets for kids.

18 Best Train Sets for Kids

Power Wheels Thomas and Friends Thomas with TrackFisher-Price5
Melissa & Doug Deluxe Wooden Railway Train SetMelissa & Doug4.9
VTech 80-146700 Go! Go! Smart Wheels Train Station PlaysetVTech4.7
100-Piece Orbrium Toys Triple-Loop Wooden Train SetOrbrium Toys4.5
LEGO DUPLO LEGOVille My First TrainLEGO Duplo4.4
Metropolis Train Table & SetKidKraft4.2

1Deluxe Wooden Railway Set by Melissa & Doug

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Age range: At least 3 years old

With 132 beautifully crafted wooden pieces, the Deluxe Wooden Railway Set is a kid’s dream playset. It comes with 100 wooden tracks and support sections as well as 30 other accessories including 2 cranes with magnetic attachments, a train house, and a bridge. It also comes with a flatbed truck, a passenger train, and a cargo freight train. It comes with an easy-to-follow instructional guide to help build the train tracks in 4 different configurations.

What We Like about It – It’s got plenty of pieces to stimulate kids’ imagination and creativity. It’s also great for enhancing kids’ problem solving skills especially if they decide to create their own track configuration.

2Go! Go! Smart Wheels Train Station Playset by VTech

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Age range: 1 to 5 years old

Providing the centerpiece for other Go! Go! Smart Wheels vehicles and playsets, the Go! Go! Smart Wheels Train Station Playset is a great gift idea for young kids as they come in colorful pieces. The playset comes with 10 SmartPoint locations that can interact with other SmartPoint vehicles. This activates the playing of fun music, sound effects, and learning phrases. It comes with a SmartPoint train, a cargo car, a train station, a conveyor belt hill, and a bridge and tunnel system.

What We Like about It – It’s a learning and activity center on tracks. Children will have countless hours playing the 32 track-system. We recommend expanding the collection of SmartPoint vehicles to make the learning more fun. It’s also great for imaginative and creative play.

3Go! Go! Smart Wheels Carry-All Cargo Train by VTech

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Age range: 1 to 5 years old

While not necessarily a train toy set by itself, the Go! Go! Smart Wheels Carry-All Cargo Train can be a wonderful addition to the Go! Go! Smart Wheels Train Station Playset also listed here. The colorful 3-piece train features an engine and 2 cargo cars complete with the unique SmartPoint technology of VTech. This activates learning phrases, fun music, and other interesting sounds.

What We Like about It – It’s a part of a much larger system. It is often advisable to play it with the train playset although it can also be played by itself. The cargo help develop fine motor skills while at the same time facilitating spatial intelligence and problem solving.

4Triple Loop Wooden Train Set by Orbrium Toys

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Age range: 3 to 15 years old

With a unique track layout and beautifully crafted train, tracks, and accessories, the Triple Loop Wooden Train Set is something that is ideal for imaginative play. It comes with 100 wooden pieces with provisions for track expansion. The playset includes a train engine with several coaches, city vehicles, railroad crossing, a bridge, houses, train station, commercial establishments, and a church. It also comes with trees and people figures.

What We Like about It – It’s a small community made of wood and surrounded by beautiful wooden tracks. The fact that it can be expanded simply means that the creativity and imagination of children can also be enhanced. And this leads to the enhancement of their problem solving skills and other cognitive skills. Moreover, it fits any other toy train like Thomas, Chuggington, and Brio.

5Power Wheels Thomas the Train with Track by Fisher-Price

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Age range: 1 to 3 years old

It’s not really a train toy set per se, but the Power Wheels Thomas the Train with Track is a ride-on toy train with circular track. It is sturdy enough to accommodate a 40-lb kid and move him or her around the track at 1-mph. It can also be removed from its track and be the perfect ride-on toy at speeds of up to 2-mph.

What We Like about It – Everybody loves Thomas. It’s great that the toy can actually be used both on and off its track. It’s therefore great for stimulating imagination while at the same time helping reinforce balance, coordination, and gross motor skills.

(Like This? Then You May Want To Read: Best Ride On Toys For Toddlers)

6Wooden Engines & Train Cars Collection by Orbrium Toys

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Age range: At least 3 years old

Composed of 3 trains of 4 cars each, the Wooden Engines & Train Cars Collection is a wonderful gift idea for kids who already have an existing train set, meaning they already have an existing toy train tracks. Each train comes with an engine and 3 cars of different functions. The train collection is designed to work with the wooden railway sets of Thomas, Chuggington, and Brio.

What We Like about It – We love the fact that it can be used on major wooden toy track systems. Unfortunately, if you don’t have one yet, your kid will have to use his or her imagination to play with it.

7LEGOVille My First Train Set by LEGO Duplo

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Age range: At least 2 years old

Consisting of 52 high quality and colorful pieces, the LEGOVille My First Train Set is designed primarily for the young toddler as his or her very first train set. It may only include 22 inches of train tracks but it can otherwise be expanded. It comes with a train engine and a coach. It also includes a fueling station, a ticket window, and 2 figures. Pushing the train button plays the sound of motor.

What We Like about It – It is the essential starting set for other LEGO Duplo playsets. The train set pieces can be easily assembled even by toddlers. This helps them develop their problem solving skills.

8Metropolis Train Table and Set by KidKraft

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Age range: At least 3 years

One of the most unique toy train sets we have in our list is the Metropolis Train Table and Set. For starters, it already comes with its very own table so that already solves the problem of where to build the playset on. The toy comes complete with trains, mountains, highways, cars, simulated river with a riverboat, bridges, cranes, a helipad, and an airport. There are also figures of people as well as road signs and building structures. The table doubles as a convenient storage space for the removable pieces and accessories.

What We Like about It – It’s a very simplistic interpretation of a large metropolis with the train system at its core. It helps introduce children to what a mega city looks like. This helps them appreciate the different modes of transportation while at the same time enhancing their creativity, imagination, counterfactual reasoning, and divergent problem solving skills.

9Starter Train Set by Maple Landmark, Inc.

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Age range: At least 3 years old

Imagine a 3-unit wooden train chugging along a perfectly circular track and you now have the Starter Train Set by Maple Landmark. The tracks are laser-engraved to make sure the maple-wooden wheels of the magnetized train set will be chugging along as effortlessly as possible. The track can be used on either side for flexibility in track lay-outing. The set comes with a train engine, a train coach, and a caboose linked to each other by magnets. The train set is finished with non-toxic dye.

What We Like about It – The manufacturer recommends a minimum age of 3 years but we have seen many parents giving the toy as gifts to kids as young as 1 year old. If you purchase the Name Train Letter Cars, you can help improve the language skills of kids. Nevertheless, it can help in promoting kids’ creativity especially with the fact that it can be used with Thomas and Brio trains.

10Polar Express Train Set by Lionel

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Age range: At least 8 years old

Inspired by the movie The Polar Express, this namesake toy train comes complete with a beautifully crafted steam locomotive, 2 well-detailed passenger coaches, and a coal tender. It also comes with 16 pieces of railroad tracks (4 straight and 12 curved) and three figures including the conductor, a boy, and a hobo.

What We Like about It – Today, many trains run on electricity and diesel engines. With this toy train, they will understand the beauty and power of the steam locomotive. Excellent for imaginative and make-believe play.

1160-Piece Train Set by KidKraft

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Age range: 3 to 15 years old

KidKraft’s 60-piece Train Set is a beautifully designed train playset that features a 3-unit train, 7 vehicles, a helipad complete with a helicopter, a bridge, a mountain with tunnel, and several pieces of building structures and townspeople. It also comes with a fully functional crane and a toy boat.

What We Like about It – It’s an interesting way to teach kids about a thriving community built around a fantastic railway system. It helps develop creativity and imaginative play and can also help stimulate the development of counterfactual reasoning.

12Deluxe Wooden Train Set by Orbrium Toys

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Age range: At least 3 years old

With 52 pieces of wooden tracks, a 3-unit train, several building structures, an 8-inch long bridge, and other accessories, the Deluxe Wooden Train Set from Orbrium is a great starter train set for kids. It is easy to assemble and can fit other major toy train systems like those of Thomas, Chuggington, Brio, Imaginarium, and Melissa & Doug.

What We Like about It – The versatility of the train set platform is remarkable. At the very least, your kid can truly expand his or her creativity by playing other trains in the train tracks.

13Farm Train Set by KidKraft

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Age range: 3 to 7 years old

Set on a scenic countryside, the Farm Train Set offers a different kind of train set environment. Instead of a city environment, the wooden tracks are set on a magnificent mountain with cascading waterfalls and move around a farm complete with a stable and a pond complete with farm animals like a cow, 3 horses, a pig, a chicken, and a duck. The pond also comes with a wooden boat.

What We Like about It – It’s a unique way to teach young kids about farm life as well as the animals that live in it. The tracks can be configured depending on the imagination of the child.

14Disney Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Mouska Train Express Playset by Fisher-Price

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Age range: 2 to 4 years old

If you have kids who love Mickey Mouse, you might want to give them the Disney Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Mouska Train Express Playset. The toy set comes with colorful tracks going through a Mickey Mouse arch on one side of the track and a colorful tunnel on the opposite side. It comes complete with Mickey Mouse riding the Mouska with a cargo tender in tow.

What We Like about It – It’s a great way to help reinforce kids’ mastery of colors as well as the characteristic shape of Mickey Mouse’s ears. It also helps develop fine motor skills especially for younger children.

15Chuggington Wooden Railway 1-2-3 Track Wilson Rides the Rails by TOMY

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Age range: 2 to 18 years old

With a wooden oval track providing the base for the train, the Chuggington Wooden Railway system is a wonderful way to start your kids on enjoying playtime with the lovable characters or Chuggington. The set features Wilson who tows a colorful cargo car. The wooden tracks can be flipped, flexed, and rotated 360 degrees for more complicated play.

What We Like about It – The playset serves as a foundation for other Chuggington train play systems. When played as is, children will develop their hand-eye coordination and spatial intelligence as they attempt to put Wilson into the grooves on the track.

16Power Trains Starter Set by Power City Trains

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Age range: 4 to 7 years old

For kids who are fascinated with sleek and fast electric trains, then they will surely love the Power Trains Starter Set. It’s a wonderful toy replica of some of the world’s best-looking bullet trains. The set comes with over 8 feet of tracks, a motorized engine, and train station that comes complete with working lights. You will need to provide batteries for the train station to operate the lights.

What We Like about It – It’s great for teaching kids about the wonders of modern-day trains as these are faster and sleeker. It’s excellent for stimulating imaginative play while at the same time arousing curiosity among young minds.

17Wooden Animal Train Set by Maxim Enterprise, Inc.

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Age range: At least 3 years old

If your kid already has a Thomas or a Brio wooden train tracks platform, you can add Maxim’s Wooden Animal Train Set as a rail-based animal transporter. The 4-unit train comes with an engine driven by a bear, 2 cargo cars, and a caboose occupied by an elephant and a monkey. A giraffe, zebra, and an elephant can be contained in the cargo cars.

What We Like about It – It is great to know that it fits major toy train tracks. Regardless, it is excellent for enhancing hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, and animal recognition. It’s also great for stimulating imagination and creativity.

18Caterpillar Construction Iron Diesel Train by Toystate

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Age range: 5 to 15 years old

If you have kids who are fascinated with both trains and heavy construction equipment, then you should give them the Caterpillar Construction Iron Diesel Train playset. It already comes with more than 7 feet of track to provide a platform for the 5-unit train that includes an engine, 2 trailers, a caboose, and a shipping container crane. It also includes a CAT dump truck and a payloader.

What We Like about It – It’s perfect for playing together with CAT Mini Machines and other CAT playsets. It stimulates imaginative play which, in turn, helps reinforce problem solving skills. It can also be used as a foundation for track and playset expansion.

How We Came Up with Our Popular Toys

There are many factors that need to be considered when choosing the best toy for any kid. The train set must be age- and developmentally- appropriate for it to be really meaningful and worthwhile. Secondly, it must be safe and made of only the highest quality materials. The design must be appropriate for the child’s developmental age – simple yet challenging enough to stimulate curiosity, creativity, and imagination. Also, the toy manufacturer must be reputable, credible, and trustworthy. Moreover, the price of the toy must be affordable enough to be considered as valuable gifts. And lastly, the toy must have passed the discriminating tastes of parents the world over.

With all of these factors carefully considered and duly scrutinized, our researchers have come up with the 18 best train sets for kids this 2016.

Train Sets – It’s More than Just a Playset

Train sets have been regarded as one of the best toys for kids especially when it comes to developing their psychomotor skills and problem solving skills as well as stimulating creativity and imagination.

Studies now show that train sets are highly beneficial in the development and enhancement of kids’ problem solving skills especially in terms of matching the correct tracks, the organization of the track layout, as well as the assembly of the train cars. Because train tracks can be set in a variety of layouts which can ultimately affect the overall speed of the train, this stimulates the development of divergent problem solving skills. This kind of critical thinking allows kids to look at a particular problem from different angles leading to the formulation of a variety of possible solutions. In real life, this allows kids to determine the best possible course of action from several choices when presented with a particular problem. Train sets can also help facilitate the mastery of other cognitive skills such as critical and logical thinking, counterfactual reasoning, and spatial intelligence.

Train sets are also instrumental in enhancing dexterity and mastery of fine motor skills. Train toy sets come in a variety of smaller pieces that need to be connected to one another. This requires absolute coordination and control of the different muscles and tendons of the fingers and hands. Hand-eye coordination is also essential as children will need to make sure that the train pieces are slotted into their correct positions lest the train will be derailed and the whole playset undermined. Fine motor skills are important to growing children as they need control of smaller muscle groups to help them in their daily lives. From buttoning their shirt to writing their homework or even feeding themselves, they depend on their mastery of their fine motor skills to help them through adulthood.

Additionally, train sets can be excellent instruments to stimulate children’s imagination and creativity. In fact, train toy sets are just one of a few children’s toys that even grown-ups seem to never have enough of. Entire basements can be turned into one gigantic train landscape complete with mountains and other geologic features, mini cities, cars, and vehicles, train tunnels and bridges, and everything in between. The fascination children get from playing with train toy sets help them to be more creative and imaginative in their thinking. Role playing and make-believe play are all important aspects of train play as it allows them to explore infinite possibilities.

Train toy sets make perfect gifts for children. It helps them learn more about themselves and the word around them. We are optimistic that our 18 best train sets for kids will help you identify which one to give kids as presents for their birthdays or on special holidays.

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Selina Marie
Selina Marie is our head of content for MyKidNeedsThat.com, mum of two and a self proclaimed toy geek. When she isn't juggling the madness at home, on a school run or baking her world famous blueberry muffins, you will find her product researching and keeping the site freshly updated with the latest toys and fun for our readers!
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