Best Wooden Train Sets for Toddlers That Encourage Child's Development

Review & Comparison, Last Update April 19, 2017
Kids learn about the outside world through play. So, what matters in selecting toys is how much knowledge and fun your child can derive. A wooden train set is the most beneficial toy in terms of child’s development that also can bring a lot of joy. Our review will help make your choice! ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2017
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
Recommended Age
Pieces
Size
Features
Warranty
 
PROS
This kid-sized wooden train table will become a favorite playtime activity for your little one. It’s not just a railway, but a whole town full of adventures! Also, your child can expand an existing set by adding a variety of other toys.
CONS
May not be suitable for small nurseries.
OUR VERDICT
KidKraft is an excellent choice for children over three years of age! It helps foster your kid's imagination and turn their fantasy into reality. And parents will appreciate removable storage bins to keep your child’s nursery clean and tidy.
detailed parameters
Recommended Age
3-8 years
Pieces
120 pieces including bridge, tunnel, gas station, helicopter and more
Size
48.75" x 34.38" x 16"
Features
Table with 3 removable storage bins, 1 1/2" lip along the perimeter of the table, compatible with major wooden railway brands
Warranty
90 days
PROS
Brio wooden train set would fit confined rooms where there's not much space for big toys. All pieces can be stored away in a box until the next exciting trip.
CONS
AA battery is not included.
OUR VERDICT
This admirable, bright train set will come to liking to kids over three years of age. The battery-operated set will make kids' play more realistic and diversified.
detailed parameters
Recommended Age
3+
Pieces
54 pieces including 2 trains, battery powered engine, 3 cranes, truck, cargo, bridge, rocks, and crossing signal
Size
31.9" х 22"
Features
Special BRIO storage box with latching lid, engine is powered by 1xAA 1.5V battery, combines with most other railway systems on the market
Warranty
Amazon's 30-day return policy
PROS
Dozens of track pieces allow for building a variety of track formations, encouraging your child's imagination during play.
CONS
The carriage wheels seem a bit wobbly.
OUR VERDICT
Melissa & Doug Deluxe railway set for 3-year olds and over offers a good quality product at an affordable price. The set is large so it will be an ideal solution for families with many kids.
detailed parameters
Recommended Age
3+
Pieces
132 pieces including roundhouse engine shed, dozens of track pieces in curves and straights, trees, workers, traffic signs; multi-piece trains; magnetic-tipped cranes; switches and T-junction for changing course; suspension bridge, and trestle bridge
Size
48" x 32"
Features
Compatible with all popular wooden railway systems
Warranty
90-day return policy
PROS
In addition to versatile track pieces for future expansion, the Orbrium Toys set offers non-colored pieces to boost your child’s imagination.
CONS
The bridge can be a bit unsteady.
OUR VERDICT
Every child of about 3 years of age will be excited with such a variety of cars, buses and other pieces included in the set. The set complies with the CPSC's testing and certification requirements.
detailed parameters
Recommended Age
3+
Pieces
100 pieces including engine, coaches, bridge, buildings, city vehicles (police cruiser, ambulance, cars, buses), road signs, trees, and figurines
Size
~ 6''
Features
Compatible with all major wooden railway systems on the market
Warranty
Amazon's 30-day return policy
PROS

The Ikea Basic set is what you need to start your child’s large collection! Your kid will be encouraged to develop new practical skills while building up new track combinations.

CONS
Larger trains from other sets may not pass through the tunnel.
OUR VERDICT
Ikea Basic train set can become an ideal solution for those looking for a simple yet exciting game to engage kids in an adventurous game and help develop their imagination.
detailed parameters
Recommended Age
3+
Pieces
20 pieces including train, carriages, and rails
Size
9-10"
Features
Combines with most other railway systems on the market
Warranty
Amazon's 30-day return policy

What is a Wooden Train Set

There are certain toys that kids can't do without and one of them is a train set, a popular and surely a must-have toy in any nursery. The market offers a great number of sets with wooden trains which differ by material, size, and a number of pieces included. You can find simple sets for smaller kids with bigger pieces and some real masterpieces for teens and adults. Commonly, wooden train sets are known to be more eco-friendly and suitable for kids use, they aren't easy to break and they can easily last for several years of play. Train sets have a positive effect on child's development and can help kids improve coordination, imagination and social skills through playing together with other children. Don't hesitate any longer and pick one of the best train sets from our review.

You can also consider play dishes and dollhouses that your child will surely love playing with.

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What Features to Compare

A quality wooden train set is a great investment in your child’s development. However, when it comes to choosing an appropriate train set for your child, some important features should be taken into consideration.

Recommended Age

Today, most toys include a suggested age range. On that, a wooden train set is not an exception. Normally, the age levels for toys are determined by safety factors. In addition to being safe, toys for kids should match their stages of development and appeal to their interests. So, toys are ranked by popularity for a particular age group. In terms of safety, some toys have small parts that can be swallowed, thus they are not intended for children under 3 years old. At this age, children stop taste-testing small pieces unlike younger kids who need to have a direct experience with the world. Thus, if you have decided to buy a toy, recommended for 3-year-olds and older, keep small items away from your child to avoid ingestion hazards.

Play Possibilities

Play possibilities and the diversity of track pieces are also important for building unique routes and creating your own busy cityscape. A wooden train set with lots of pieces like straight and curved train tracks, bridges, and level crossings allows for complex layouts by changing the track configuration with trains, freight cars, and other vehicles running on a railroad track. It's great when the set has plenty of extra pieces, such as buildings, human and animal figures to create different environments and stimulate your child’s imagination. If you are not sure that your little one will be interested in this train themed activity, you can buy a starter set and then add extra track pieces.

Track Dimensions and Features

Surely, a train set that takes up half your room or even the entire room will fascinate children and adults alike. However, not everybody is fortunate enough to have space for a separate playroom to keep all toys organized. But there is no problem at all with a plethora of wooden train sets of different sizes on the market. Before buying a set, take a closer look at the additional features it provides. It may come in a box that could be saved as storage for the set. Also, it can be a battery-powered locomotive with moving parts, flashing headlights, smoking action, and realistic sounds. If you are planning to add more pieces to your existing set for a large expansion, you need to check if it’s compatible with popular wooden railway systems. After taking into account all the above-mentioned features, it will be easier to make an informed choice.

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Review of KidKraft Waterfall Mountain Train Set and Table

KidKraft Waterfall Mountain Train Set and Table

KidKraft Waterfall Mountain Train Set and Table

Everything You Need is on the Table

Every parent would love his/her kid to have a separate play area. Toys all around the house eventually can piss anyone off. This won’t be the case if you get this train set from KidKraft. It comes packed with a big wooden table where your kid would be able to store all pieces together away instead of scattering them on the floor. The height of the table isn’t too big and is suitable for kids of about 3 years of age. The manufacturer doesn’t recommend buying it for younger children since the set contains many tiny pieces that can be swallowed. For all the rest, it’s got everything you’d expect from a quality train set. The pieces from the set can be put together to build a real city, so you can give your child full freedom and see what he/she’d do about it. We’re more than sure your little one will be attracted to the game and spend hours at the table. The set is really fun and you’re likely to join your kids in play. The KidKraft train set is so colorful and diverse, you both will find playing with it a fascinating pastime.

Review of KidKraft Waterfall Mountain Train Set and Table

Your Own City in One Set

This multi-configuration train set is great for creating your own small town on an island-like table. The accessories include a police station, hospital, construction site, fire and gas stations, waterfall, various tunnels, bridges, railway crossings, and a helipad on a silk-screened landscaped play board made of solid wood. Moreover, the set includes 4 cars, a helicopter, an airplane, and even a boat! You can change the positions of wooden blocks with magnets inside and rebuild the train tracks. The trees along the track add beauty and color to the scenery, and lots of signs help keep traffic under control. Besides, a few citizens also live in this tiny metropolis, that adds unmatched realism and lifelike detail. A double-sided table top has a landscape design on one side and a plain reverse side. The railway track can run through a beautiful landscape along the river or motorway. If you don’t need a landscape design, simply turn the table on the plain side. Parents can use this set to help their kids learn colors, teach social skills, and foster creativity and imagination through creative play, that are important aspects of child development.

KidKraft Waterfall Mountain Train Set and Table in the use

120 Pieces With Easy Assembly

The table size is appropriate for kids of 3 years of age and over. It’s large enough for multiple children to have hours of intriguing play at once. Parents will be happy to find out that this 120-piece train set takes about half an hour to assemble! Each sticker is coded with the number, corresponding to a picture in the manual. The set is supplied with construction pieces and pre-drilled with holes for bolts and nails. Some toy pieces require assembly, so the set comes with a Phillips screwdriver. Specially-designed T-molded edges prevent the table from chipping and a 1" lip keeps play pieces from falling off during play. Also, durable plastic bins under the table are designed for convenient storage of all pieces. The bins with dimensions of 15.25 x 11.25” can hold all elements of your KidKraft Waterfall Mountain Train Set as well as additional track pieces for expansion.

Detailed review of KidKraft Waterfall Mountain Train Set and Table

A Great Addition to Your Train Set

Wooden blocks of different shapes and sizes will help create different buildings, castles, and hills, that is particularly helpful in the development of spatial skills. Besides, your child can experiment with adding other elements to create a unique townscape.

KidKraft Waterfall Mountain Train Set and Table application

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


KidKraft Waterfall Mountain Train Set and Table
KidKraft Waterfall Mountain Train Set and Table
 
Review of Brio Cargo Railway Deluxe Set

Brio Cargo Railway Deluxe Set

Brio Cargo Railway Deluxe Set

The Box of Wonders

Most parents would agree that keeping home in order isn't easily done when little kids mess around and when there's not much space for storing their toys. Still, this isn't a reason not to consider buying a train set. The Brio Cargo Railway deluxe set won't take much space but will help teach your kid to keep things organized. The set contains several biggish pieces that can be arranged in many different formations. Here, besides a train itself, you'll also find some nice trucks and buses with flashing headlights, a bridge, a police car, etc. Comparing to other train sets, this set is rather basic, but it may be the only option for a lot of people who don't want to buy a huge thing yet would like to indulge their kids' desires a bit. The set comes with a sturdy plastic box where you'd find it easy to hide away all pieces, carriages, rails after play. Or you can teach your child to do so, playing together and learning to right a room.

Review of Brio Cargo Railway Deluxe Set

Ready, Set, Go!

The headlight lights up the way for the battery powered freight engine that will surely attract your child’s attention. All you need is to install 1 AA battery (not included). The battery is strong enough to go uphill and push train cars attached to each other with magnets. The switch tracks change the direction of the rails when pushing a button. Undoubtedly, this set will keep your children busy for hours.

Brio Cargo Railway Deluxe Set in the use

What’s Hidden Inside the Box?

The set contains 30 track pieces with straight, curved, and elevated elements that allow you to build a layout with brick and arch-shaped bridges. Children are tactile learners. They need to physically touch and see what they are playing with to understand it. With this excellent train set, you can show how a battery-operated train slows down going up the hill and then speeds up plunging down the other side. Also, it will be interesting for your child to load and unload the trains with 3 mechanical, magnetic cranes, specially designed to hold the cargo securely during transportation. Thus, this train set will not only provide your little one with hours of imaginative play but also help obtain new knowledge and skills.

Detailed review of Brio Cargo Railway Deluxe Set

Logical Thinking Development

The Brio Cargo Railway Deluxe Set offers lots of developmental benefits to your child. And colorful marble runs will be a great addition to the set. This is a great way to develop logical thinking and visual perception, as well as keep your kid busy and occupied for a long time.

Brio Cargo Railway Deluxe Set application

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


Brio Cargo Railway Deluxe Set
Brio Cargo Railway Deluxe Set
 
Review of Melissa & Doug Deluxe Wooden Railway Set

Melissa & Doug Deluxe Wooden Railway Set

Melissa & Doug Deluxe Wooden Railway Set

Turn Your and Your Kid's Fantasy Into Reality

When choosing toys for children, parents often ponder about for how long they will be playing with these toys. Meanwhile, children don’t always share their parents' excitement about the same toys. When it comes to the Melissa & Doug Deluxe wooden railway set, however, you both will love it at the first sight! The set includes dozens of track pieces that set it apart from many other models of train sets. Using an easy-to-follow instruction, your child will be able to build 4 various track formations with straights and curves, climbs and descends, creating new layouts each time. Besides main parts, there are 30 other accessories - trees, workers, trains, trucks, a magnetic crane, etc., so that your child could transport imaginary passengers, ship cargo and load off carriages. You can find a similar farm animal wooden train set with colorful cows and horses on it. The Melissa & Doug Deluxe wooden railway set is one of the toys that can unleash your child's potential and contribute to his/her creativity.

Review of Melissa & Doug Deluxe Wooden Railway Set

Perfect For Large Playrooms Or Multiple Kids

This fabulous set consists of a huge number of train track pieces - all your kid needs for railway fun! However, it takes up a lot of space. When assembled, the set measures up to 48"x 32". Just keep it in mind when planning to set up the set in your child’s playroom on a permanent basis. Yet, it is able to accommodate a number of kids at once. So, you can invite your child’s friends for an exciting play. The Melissa & Doug Railway Set offers lots of different train track combinations to keep multiple children busy at the same time!

Melissa & Doug Deluxe Wooden Railway Set in the use

A Note on Safety

In addition to fostering creativity and imagination in children, Melissa & Doug focuses on manufacturing toys with safety in mind. The Melissa & Doug Railway Set is made of quality solid wood and painted in vibrant colors from nontoxic materials. So, this train set is built to last and will delight your little one for many years to come. The product conforms to toy safety standards (ASTM-963 and CPSC Directives).

Detailed review of Melissa & Doug Deluxe Wooden Railway Set

Enjoy Playing With Friends

Are you thinking about how to keep a large group of kids occupied and entertained for several hours? Consider buying the slot cars to provide hours of thrilling racing fun! Trigger your kids' competitive spirit by holding slot car championships!
Melissa & Doug Deluxe Wooden Railway Set application

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


Melissa & Doug Deluxe Wooden Railway Set
Melissa & Doug Deluxe Wooden Railway Set
 
Review of Orbrium Toys Triple-Loop Wooden Train Set

Orbrium Toys Triple-Loop Wooden Train Set

Orbrium Toys Triple-Loop Wooden Train Set

Creative Approach

Actually, the Orbrium Toys Triple-Loop wooden train set is quite similar to other sets on our shortlist as they are compatible with other railway systems. The manufacturer offers a high-quality set with versatile track pieces. The bright-colored set allows your child to imitate various real-life situations, develop imagination, fine motor skills, and visual perception. The materials used in manufacturing the set are completely safe and conform to certification requirements. Add the Orbrium Toys Unpainted Wooden Train Cars to your child’s train set collection (sold separately), coloring them with painting markers or buy the Orbrium Toys 8 Unpainted Train Cars for Wooden Railway with colors paint and brushes, so your little one can create his/her own fancy toys, learn and recognize colors, and have a lot of fun in general! What could be more enjoyable than learning and playing together with your little one!

Review of Orbrium Toys Triple-Loop Wooden Train Set

Basic Set

Adding some extra pieces will allow for more layout configurations with plenty of opportunities for creative play. However, everything your child needs to recreate an exciting wooden train world is included in the basic set. So, it will keep your little engineer busy for hours! This affordable train set includes 100 easy-fitting wooden track pieces. It comes with a triple-loop track layout that allows a smooth transition of cute colorful trains. Also, the set comes complete with figurines, buildings, cars, buses, trees and road signs. Different types of city vehicles, traffic signs, and a railway crossing allow you to explain some road safety rules to your child. Thus, your kid will be captivated for hours, while creating a world of fascinating train scenarios.

Orbrium Toys Triple-Loop Wooden Train Set in the use

Skills Development Through Play

The Orbrium Toys Train Set is designed for kids from 3 years of age and older, as it contains small pieces, which can be accidentally swallowed. However, what is dangerous for young kids can be useful for older children since small objects develop fine motor skills. This has a positive impact on cognitive abilities, enhances memory, develops speech and agility. The basic set is what you need to help your kid start recognizing colors without adding unpainted train cars. Most pieces are covered with bright non-toxic paint, besides some track sections. According to many experts, explaining difficult topics to children is easier through play. Moreover, the knowledge and skills obtained during the game are more likely to be applied to the real-world situations. So, this wooden train set is a good investment into your child’s development.

Detailed review of Orbrium Toys Triple-Loop Wooden Train Set

Young Artist

Does your child enjoy drawing? Then one of the beginner drawing sets is everything you need for teaching your little one how to draw step by step. If your kid doesn’t lose interest in drawing over time, you may buy a professional drawing set.

Orbrium Toys Triple-Loop Wooden Train Set application

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


Orbrium Toys Triple-Loop Wooden Train Set
Orbrium Toys Triple-Loop Wooden Train Set
 
Review of Ikea Basic Train Set

Ikea Basic Train Set

Ikea Basic Train Set

For a Start

Actually, wooden train sets are very popular among children and adults. Doubt that your child will love playing with it? Give it a try and buy a small, basic set from Ikea to see what your little one thinks about building tracks and running trains. Despite being rather small in size, the set is still complete and contains all main parts required for play. Like more expensive rivals, this railway station is compatible with many other railways systems from different brands, which means you can start with little and then expand the functionality of the toy with more pieces and rails, making it a much more exciting set to play with.

Review of Ikea Basic Train Set

Add More Pieces to Your Basic Train Set

The Basic Ikea Train Set includes 16 pieces of the track with a total length of 9' 10" and a 3-car train. If you would like to add more pieces to your existing train set, the Ikea Basic Train Set offers lots of additional pieces of its own production. Furthermore, the Ikea railway is compatible with Fisher-Price Thomas Wooden, Melissa & Doug, Brio Railway systems - the most well-known train set brand names. So, you can expand your set with additional track sections to make your railroad adventures more exciting! Though, if you would like to add trains, cars, and other vehicles, you should bear in mind that larger trains may not pass under the arch.

Ikea Basic Train Set in the use

Construction Peculiarities

The track configurations of the Ikea Basic Train Set differ a bit from the other brands. Anyway, it doesn’t influence compatibility. It has female connection ends. The track pieces are connected together like a puzzle to form a figure 8 train track, that allows for more options for new layouts. However, keep in mind that this train set is suggested for kids of 3 age and up due to small parts.

Detailed review of Ikea Basic Train Set

Your Collection of Wooden Train Track Pieces

Along with railway tracks, there is an abundance of car toys on the market. Add different models of car toys to your child's collection! If your kid is interested in collecting things, consider buying the car model kits.

Ikea Basic Train Set application

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


Ikea Basic Train Set
Ikea Basic Train Set
 

Infographics

Comparison of Wooden Train Sets for Toddlers That Encourage Child's Development

FAQ:

Q: Are wooden railway sets compatible with other train sets?

A: Most train sets are compatible with popular wooden railway systems like, for example, Fisher-Price, Melissa & Doug, Brio Railway, yet, we'd still recommend you to check compatibility of the chosen set with other systems in advance. 

Q: Are your wooden toys safe for kids?

A: Safety is one of the key parents' considerations when choosing toys for kids. The good thing is, all wooden train sets from our shortlist have been thoroughly tested by manufacturers and they all comply with legal safety requirements, so you can be sure, none of the sets from our picks can make any harm to your kid. 

Q: What's the best layout for children?

A: Most children like layouts with tunnels to see the trains disappear and reappear. Also, they love animations, such as flashing crossing signals, operating crossing gates, and oil pumping accessories with bubbling tubes. Kids are interested in operating freight cars - animated box cars and log dumpers. Besides, they like to hear the whistle and see the smoke of steam locomotives.

Q: How does a battery train set function?

A: Put the batteries into the tender car, then connect to the engine, and push the engine switch. Neutral, forward, or backward settings make the train move along the track. Adjust the smoke setting to control the sound of the trains.

Q: What should I use as replacement ingredients to make the train engine smoke?

A: You can use water and corn oil for making the train engine smoke. But it's better not to use vegetable oil since it can damage the train heating element.

Q: What is the best scale for beginners?

A: The larger scales are recommended for younger railroaders. Electric train set requires adult supervision. G-scale or O-scale train sets are easier to manage. Also, they are big and colorful. The larger scales are also good for adult beginners.

Q: Is it hard to set up an electric train set?

A: Most modern sets have snap together track and color-coded wiring that easily plugs in.

Q: What is the best way to build a layout?

A: It primarily depends on who it is for. If you plan to build a layout for children, consider the layout's playability. You may build tunnels, bridges, roads, matchbox cars, and wagons without lots of fine details. However, if you create a layout for adults, add more details and realism. Besides, you should decide what it is for. Would you like to make a detailed layout or something fun to play with? There is not much moving action in realistic layouts, whereas a fun layout is your total imagination and can be full of fun things.


Sources:

1. Bea Toome How to Choose a Child's Wooden Train Set, HubPages. March 20, 2012.

2. Steve Pak Wooden Train Set Track, Editorial Today.

3. Laureen Miles Brunelli 11 Good Toys That Entertain (and Educate) Your Child, About. April 23, 2016.

4. Ryan Kunkle Choosing the Right Train Set, About.

5. Wooden toy trainWikipedia. March 27, 2017.

6. How to Buy a Toy Train Set, wikiHow.

7. Model Trains Buying Guide, eBay. March 3, 2016.