We mentioned before that we have a train-obsessed toddler who currently has three train sets – two wooden ones and one Christmas train set made of plastic with the train designed to go round the Christmas tree. So, we’ve decided: no more toy trains! We’re putting our foot down.
In fact, just yesterday, we published The Top Christmas Gifts For Train Loving Toddlers That Aren’t Just Toys. We’ve already begun the toy culling and to our surprise, the little one is all for it – often volunteering some toys he doesn’t normally play with.
However, if you read the post above, we mentioned something about certain items being a bit anticlimactic for a toddler opening presents so it’s a good idea to include some other items that they could get excited about.
So, I naturally, I went and took a look at what train-themed toys are available. A silly mistake, I realised, because now, I have a list of the best toy trains to give your toddler this Christmas.
And isn’t this a slippery slope? It is!
Should I just tear the list to pieces and let it burn in the Samhuinn Fire Festival before I succumb to the temptation and buy my beloved son all the trains? That may be the best course of action.
Will I? Fat chance! Because really, these are the best toys for toddlers who love trains so you won’t get this wrong at all.
So, instead of burning this list, I’m publishing it. That way, you can all share in the merriment…and the temptation (hah!) #sorrynotsorry. 😀
And if you really needed this information? Then, you’re welcome (think of Maui singing that song)!
Side Note: Some of the presents here are big items and I strongly recommend you buy them in advance (think, September or October) to make sure there are no mistakes that will make you ask for a replacement or a refund.
Top train sets for toddlers
We start our list of the top train sets for toddlers with the most popular wooden train sets because there are so many to choose from and well, where do you even start?
These are eight of the most popular wooden train sets on Amazon and with good reason – all of them are made of solid wood and contains a number of trains along with a few destinations.
Check them out below.
Best wooden train sets for toddlers
The most popular wooden train set on Amazon includes 55 pieces made of solid (AKA real) beech: 4 trains, 1 car, 1 red bridge, 3 destinations and a boatload of other accessories plus a manual of instructions and a warranty. And, it even comes with a free gift box – so perfect for Christmas!
If you need more train cars (4 just doesn’t seem enough, right?), you can get this wooden train set along with the 12-piece wooden set below.
Take a look at the above video so you can see it in action.
Technically, this one is an expansion set but it contains 67 pieces (even more than the more popular ToyOpoly above as well as 1 train car.
It’s also made of solid hardwood, so you don’t need to worry about plastic pieces breaking off and presenting a choking hazard. Equally important, every piece has been tested to comply with all US toy safety standards and are free of lead, cadmium, and phthalates.
Although of course, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be supervising your toddler whilst playing.
It makes two figure-eights (the only one of its kind) and contains 8 adapter pieces so your toddler can go all out with creating the tracks of her dreams.
Finally, it’s compatible with all major brands so if you already have a set and were just interested in expanding what you already have, then this would be perfect for you.
Another excellent train set from ToyOpoly, this one doesn’t contain any tracks and instead has 12 magnetic train cars and a bonus of 3 wooden animals.
You need trains to go on the track, right?
This particular set, like the one above, is also made of beechwood and compatible with all major brands: Thomas Railway System, Brio, Mellisa and Doug, Kidkraft, Imaginarium, Conductor Carl, Maxim Wood, Chuggington Railway, and Die Cast Gordon Trains.
Now, this is like the king of all wooden train sets.
If you look at the manufacturer’s video above, it’s pretty massive so I recommend just buying this if you have space at home. Theoretically, you could buy this and not use the other pieces if they don’t fit but then that’s a bit pointless, isn’t it?
You might as well just get the smaller train sets.
Another Orbrium Toys classic, this deluxe train set is smaller than the one above, includes premium wooden tracks, engine, passenger coach, hopper car, automobile, buildings, figurines, road signs, trees, and bushes and also features three destinations: a long 8″ bridge, a train station and a railroad crossing.
It’s also made of solid wood as well as fully compatible with other major brands.
So, if you don’t have enough space for the 100-pieces train set, consider this one.
If you’re on the move a lot, then you might prefer something that you can take with you – particularly if you need to make sure your toddler stays busy whilst on the train or the plane.
In this case, then you might go for something with less pieces and comes in a portable case that also doubles as part of the train track.
KidKraft has a few bucket top train sets that your toddler will surely love but which will still fit your requirements: a mountain top train set, a construction top train set and a dinosaur top train set.
All come with the necessary pieces packed away in a plastic bin, with the cover serving as a necessary part of the track.
We love it but be warned, the reviews are a bit mixed as some don’t like the quality or need to make sure that they are fully compatible with other major brands.
So, you need to make sure that this is fit for your purpose. We travel a lot so portability is most important to us.
If that’s not yours, then maybe the other tracks would be a better Christmas gift for your toddler.
If your toddler is into world-building, then this might be the perfect train set for him as it will allow him to build not just the tracks but an entire town around it.
This particular set contains 34 pieces of track, 12 vehicles, 15 people/signs, and 39 trees and houses. It’s like a screen-free Sim City.
Just like the other train sets, this is made of real wood – a combination of lotus and beech that makes this a joy to touch (I’m very tactile so this is important).
Best ride-on train for toddlers
This is Amazon’s Choice (with over 1,000 positive reviews) and our choice too since, as we mentioned before, we actually already have 3 train sets and don’t really need to add another one.
You can use it with the track or without it – with minimal difference in speed. You can go as fast as 2mph off the track and up to 1mph while on it. That doesn’t sound much but that’s actually pretty fast for a toddler.
Just mind that the weight limit is 40lbs so no, you cannot go on it, dad!
Best train table sets for toddlers
If this Christmas, you want to give your toddler more than just tracks and trains but a little bit less than the ride-on (which needs loads of space and is quite pricey), then you might want to consider getting one of these table sets – two are portable and the other two are bulkier and are designed to stay in the house.
The great thing about this table is that each side has got a different surface.
One is a Lego-compatible building plate so if your toddler is not only a train-lover but also Lego-obsessed, this would be perfect. It even comes with 200 Lego-compatible blocks
The other side is a smooth veneer top that’s ideal for setting up your train tracks and actually, you do get 30-pieces of basic wooden tracks with this table – an ideal starter set for young train-lovers.
You also get a storage compartment under the table which makes clean-up a lot easier.
Just remember that because this is a big item, you might want to order and assemble in advance. That way, you can see if everything is as it should be or if you need to order a replacement (I’m a bit paranoid when it comes to this haha).
This is an excellent train table because not only does it contain a play board, which will set the scene for your toddler’s trains, it also contains a number of tracks, people and signs, trees and buildings and vehicles.
That’s a total of 80 pieces (82 if you count the table and the play board separately).
The tracks are also all made of wood with no dangerous loose pegs to present a hazard.
Finally, it’s 100% CPSIA compliant and all the parts are certified lead and phthalates free.
Now, it’s not perfect and if you tend to notice tiny little details (like off-centre stickers, etc), this might not be for you.
But if you don’t mind the little things, then you’d absolutely adore this train table.
Again, it’s best to order and assemble in advance.
If portability is key, then this is the one you want.
It’s two-sided. One is a racetrack with built-in obstacles for toy cars and trucks and the other is a figure 8 toy train track with lake and quarry decals.
At 6.5 lbs or a little over 2kgs, this is lightweight and easy to carry.
It’s even got a side handle.
Finally, it’s made of double-wall plastic construction so your toddler can play with this both inside the house and outside.
The only downside to this, in my opinion, is the colour. Reminds me of flaxseed meal – healthy but doesn’ look appetising. hah!
If you’re thinking the same thing, then the far more colourful Melissa & Doug Take-Along Railroad is for you!
It looks pretty cool, doesn’t it?
I particularly love all the colours (not bland at all!), the scenery and the other pieces that come with it They’re not just limited to the 3 magnetic trains. They also have a house, a deer and bridge pieces.
This is essentially a wooden suitcase that opens up into a train track and which contains all the pieces inside.
All the pieces are made of wood.
So, it’s extremely portable. Your child can just carry it wherever he’s going and play with trains whenever he wants.
A great Christmas gift for the train-obsessed toddler!
And there you have it, folks, the best toy trains to give your toddler this Christmas that will cement you as the coolest parents ever.
Do you already have any of these toys? Which one is your favourite? Let us know in the comments below!