Seriously, what is it with toddlers and trains?
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My son started liking them since the time he received his first ride-along train as a gift when he was 7 months old.
Now he’s 3 and is totally obsessed with them along with dinosaurs. Because, again, what is it with toddlers and dinosaurs?!
His 2nd birthday had a train theme and we went on the Pumpkin Patch Express to celebrate and then searched for the best Polar Express in Texas.
Also Read: Best Travel Gifts for Kids who travel
I had a great time looking at all sorts of best train gifts for toddlers for his birthday. (Remember this great tip to find the perfect toy: look at the ‘Customers also buy’ section on the Amazon product page. I have found some great toys this way!)
Admittedly, most of them were Thomas the train gifts because let’s face it, no-one can beat Thomas, but I did buy him a cool set of wooden train tracks – his very first – and few great train books.
See that train track at the top of the post? That’s ours, built by my toddler and me on a weekend!
In the past year, the track has grown enormously and we have a host of train-themed toys chugging along.
In the process, I have become somewhat of an expert in buying train gifts for kids and so I’m sharing my newfound knowledge with you all!
Here are the absolute best toys and gifts for train lovers of all ages including infants, babies, toddlers, preschoolers, teenagers, and even adults!
Toy Train Gifts for Babies, Infants, and Toddlers
During the Holiday season, whenever a gift box arrived home my son would run towards it and promptly guess its contents, “choo choo…train”.
Literally, for each and every box!. It was hilarious. Infants love trains!
In fact, the love affair can start right from the womb, as in the case of our toddler.
The proof is in this Baby-center article which says, ‘babies get used to the music and voices they hear while in the womb.’ Tada! That’s the source of his obsession.
I loved the ‘Engine Engine Number Nine’ rhyme as a kid and frequently sang it to him when I was pregnant.
So naturally, the hubby blames me for it. Or maybe all babes are train-obsessed! Is yours too?
Then he/she would love some of these gifts.
So these gifts do not include Thomas gifts or wooden tracks, because I have covered them in depth later.
Alphabet Train by V-Tech
This is the toy that started the train love in our home and so naturally, tops our list of train toys for toddlers.
For about a year, my son’s day started with pushing around his Alphabet train by V-tech.
He absolutely loved taking it everywhere around the house: pushing, running, riding, and even standing on it as he grew older. We have even used it in the driveway.
The train has held up to the rough use very well and is one of our favorite train gifts for infants. In fact, my son started standing and walking by holding on to this train.
It comes in many colors; my son has the yellow while I gifted the pink one to his cousin.
Apart from being a train, the toy has lots of infants early development features.
It has alphabet blocks, it sings the alphabets, colors, numbers, has music and is a toddler’s dream. It’s one of the ideal trains for 1 year olds.
Age: 9 months+
Wooden Farm Train
Perfect for little kids, this wooden train with farm animals is a great toy with 3 colorful cars and farm products to load on the train.
Plus the toy is Melissa & Doug one, so you can be assured as to its quality. It teaches kids basic concepts of numbers, colors, and farm animals.
Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Train
This motorized Mickey Mouse Clubhouse train set is perfect for Disney / Mickey fans.
It has a clubhouse lookalike tunnel through which the train passes and can easily distract a toddler for half an hour.
Psst… are you traveling to Disney World in Florida or the Cali Disney parks? You should totally check out our 50+ Gifts for someone traveling to Disney article.
The baby and toddler train is a fun toy that teaches early development skills.
It has fun songs, lifelike train whistle sounds, and has flashing lights for more fun. It has balls for toddlers to throw and improve hand-eye coordination skills.
The train runs quite fast and is great for crawling babies and toddlers to run behind it.
Real sounding Train Whistle
The charm of a train is in its whistle.
Children love to imitate the whistle sound, so a train whistle makes the best gift for train lovers.
A friend’s son has the Brooklyn Train whistle and boy it sounds real! Just perfectly loud to give a pleasant train whistle and not give a headache to adults – that’s a very important consideration, folks!
A must dress up item for little railfans. My toddler chose to be a Railway Engineer for his 2nd Halloween and I got him this set as well as the full costume.
We used it for Halloween as well as continued using it for playing almost every week or so.
It now resides in our dress up chest along with his dinosaur costume, and a lion Halloween costume.
The material and texture are more costumey than durable, and the size itself is large so some parents don’t like it.
But I found it perfect for the playroom, plus it’s cheap.
The perfect train gift for 2-year-olds, this alphabet train has 26 cars – one for each letter of the alphabet.
They magnetically attach to each other and there’s a cool little engine as well.
The best part, however, is that it’s compatible with all kinds of wooden tracks so kids can have fun taking it around the tracks.
The letters are bright and colorful and are great for letter introduction for toddlers and preschoolers.
Children can spell words and their own name too since the cars magnetically attach – the possibilities are endless!
We are fans of all VTech products since they combine multiple playing modes as well as can be used for open-ended play.
The train has lots and lots of colorful gears which can be connected to the animals to move them.
I love the bright colors on this train and the engine car has sounds and lights which is really cool.
Children can pull the train with the attached string and learn problem-solving by playing with the gears.
Train Engineer Costume
If you want something more elaborate than the engineer cap and Bandanna set, then the full costume by Melissa and Doug is a great option.
It comes with two pockets and a set of engineering tools including a toy hammer, wrench, and even a walkie-talkie.
The dress is an instant hit plus doubles up as a Halloween costume!
Last but definitely not the least to make my list is the Tumble Train – a truly unique train gift.
I almost bought it for S-Boy’s birthday but then just decided to save it in my basket for later.
This battery operated train marches down its curved track and randomly reverses direction – I love the idea of running behind a zig-zag twisting train! Just the gift for mirth-filled holiday times.
Thomas The Train gift ideas for children
Every child loves Thomas. My son has Thomas clothes, toys, books, cartoons, what-nots! If your child likes Thomas then you will love Thomas the tank engine presents on this list:
Thomas Push Train
I snagged this Thomas push train on clearance at Walmart.
My son enjoys pushing it around and it makes a loud popping noise as it moves.
My son has also successfully tried pushing the alphabet train with one hand and the Thomas train with the other.
The other day he was trying to stand on the Alphabet train and push the Thomas train; I’m not even kidding!
Honestly, the games that toddlers can come up with!
Thomas and Friends Miniature Trains
This is a Thomas and Friends metal 10 pack and includes Thomas, Percy, Gordon, and the gang.
Another option is the Thomas and Friends mini 20 pack which has Thomas, James, Gordon, Percy, the trucks, and cars.
The trains have hooks to connect to each other and are great for toddlers.
You can also get a Thomas storage case to keep all the minis in one place.
Thomas TrackMaster Sets
The TrackMaster Sets include motorized Thomas, Percy, and the gang trains running around cool tracks.
There is a lot of variety in the sets.
The Railway Race set is pretty huge and allows fun racing of the trains.
The Boat & Sea Set even has a rolling boat and makes the perfect Christmas gift.
The Sky High Jump has Thomas jumping from the top of the tracks in the beginning.
Or you can splurge on the Superstation which comes with tracks, working crane, Thomas, Percy, Harold and is simply the best!
These motorized tracks are the absolute best Thomas the tank engine gift ideas for everyone including toddlers, pre-schoolers, pre-teens, teenagers, and even adults!
Thomas Cuddle Pillow
Another Thomas the train gift topping my list is this plushy Thomas cuddle pillow.
I saw one of these at Toys R Us before they went out of business and it felt just perfect for a squishy infant over 6 months.
My son loves plush toys and at the moment has about 40 of them in different shapes and sizes – that’s the only reason we didn’t get it.
The pillow was however super plushy, super cozy, and pretty long – almost 2 feet!
I can almost hear the babies chugging away into Dreamland while hugging this pillow.
(Remember, no toys or pillows in the crib for babies!)
Age: 6 months+
Ride-on Thomas Toy
Next up on my list for Thomas fans is the Thomas Ride-on by Fisher Price.
A battery powered train that babies and toddlers can sit and ride!
One Thomas to rule them all! It rides on the tracks as well as off it – and the tracks are about 5-6 feet wide when assembled. Isn’t this the most amazing Thomas the tank engine gifts ever??
Still, the idea of a ride-on train is so tempting! I loved reading the reviews for this; the one with the picture of a child falling asleep on Thomas is so adorable!
Thomas the train stickers
I always keep stickers in my purse when we are traveling – they make the best travel toys for toddlers on airplanes.
These Thomas the Train Stickers are perfect to distract fidgety toddlers and keep them happy.
The stickers and his Buckle Toy were super useful when we got stranded at Miami Airport for 5 hrs on our way back from Easter Island and Chile due to Hurricane Irma.
The stickers are easy to pull for a toddler and don’t create a mess. I even distributed them as party favors at S-Boy’s daycare.
What’s better than a life-size Thomas The Train car for the kids?
A life-sized Thomas that they can actually enter!!
This is much like a tent and has doors to go inside.
The Thomas is pretty huge, even adults can sit inside in the tallest part and kids will have a great time playing inside it.
The best part is that it folds and can be dissembled and kept away after playing.
Also Read: 14 Best Travel Toys for toddlers
Wooden Train Tracks for toddlers
So as I mentioned, we got the starter train track set for our son’s birthday and he loved it instantly.
The track set also has a product brochure, and since then our son has taken to leafing through it and asking for pieces to complete his set.
The latest items we purchased are a working drawbridge and a turntable. All wooden tracks are compatible with each other, even cross-company compatible.
Seriously, I would suggest you venture carefully in this territory because once you get the wooden tracks, you are not going to stop buying more!!
Here are some of the best train sets for toddlers:
Brio is a standard name when it comes to wooden train tracks. Brio tracks are exceptionally durable, high quality, and safe for kids to use.
They perfectly fit into each other with no misalignment and make the perfect train gifts for toddlers.
Their 18 piece starter train pack has a train, bridge with ramps, and other track pieces. It also has track ends and connectors.
Age: 18 months+
For a lesser budget than the brio track above, consider the Melissa and Doug one with a simple circular track and a cute little wooden train that is carrying a horse and a cow to the farm.
While the set might seem small at first, you can always expand it with expansion wooden tracks.
This train track set from Orbrium is the one we got for our son on his 2nd birthday.
While there certainly are a lot of options when it comes to starter train tracks, we picked this one because the price was great, the quality is good, and it has a lot of pieces to keep a toddler happy for quite some time.
Scratch that, it was a few months before we started buying expansion pieces but that’s another story!
It is seriously one of the best trains for 2 year olds for many reasons: The track is of perfect length, the track pieces are easy to assemble for a toddler, and the bright blue bridge is a hit.
It was the perfect train gift for our 2-year old boy.
Train gifts for preteens and teenagers
This massive Lego set based on Harry Potter with over 800 pieces makes the perfect gift for teenagers and even adults.
Everyone loves Harry Potter and constructing the platform 9 and ¾ is great fun.
The set even has little Lego Harry, Hermione, and Ron to complete the set.
Children can actually make the Lego people sit inside the train.
The platform has a moving entrance to enter the secret part of the platform.
The coolest part though is the little Lego witch who sells chocolate frogs on the trolley and the little Dementor Lego figure.
There are even unofficial accessories to motorize the train plus it works with any Lego train tracks.
Another Lego train makes the list for teenagers and adults.
This one is for 12+, so it’s a bit more complicated than the Hogwarts Express set.
The train itself is beautiful and the set also has a rotating Christmas tree. Inside the train, children can sit Lego people.
The train has little tables on top of which rest small hot cocoa cups. The attention to detail in this set is just breathtaking.
This set is great for the entire family to put together just in time for the Holiday season.
The train comes with a circular track and runs around it.
You can purchase additional Power Lego accessories to motorize the Winter Holiday Train.
You can add more track to make it go around a big Christmas tree.
While the Lego Hogwarts Express is for teenagers and Winter Holiday Train for older teens and adults, if you want a Lego train for preteens then the City Passenger Set is a great option.
The train comes with a big circular track and the engine is Bluetooth powered so it can be operated with a remote (that comes with the set).
Ages 6 and up will enjoy controlling this motorized train as it runs around the track.
You can add more Lego train tracks and connectors to create complicated tracks with this set.
If you are looking for wooden railway sets for preteens and teenagers then you can’t go wrong with this giant set. Featuring 132 pieces it makes the train yard come alive.
It has a rotating turntable, suspension bridge, many types of connectors, and other good track pieces like curved tracks, T junctions etc.
There are also two magnetized cranes – somehow in all of our train track accessories, we don’t have a magnetized crane – I need to rectify that ASAP!!
This set should keep older kids happy for a long time as they try out different track combinations and play with the trains.
Wooden train track accessories
You can potentially add a thousand accessories to the train tracks to keep kids of any age happy.
And mind you, when you get a wooden track that is what usually happens. Every few months we are buying something or the other to expand our tracks.
What we have is this combination: Orbrium 52 piece deluxe track, Orbrium 56 piece expansion set, Wooden Turntable and 13 piece expansion set, Hape Wooden Drawbridge, Happy Motorized Engine and some really cool trains including this Orbrium Trains 12 piece set.
That is enough to keep me happy for an hour or two (if S-Boy happens to be sleeping then even three) as I assemble a giant working turntable track for S-Boy!
You can check the most recent one we did in the pictures below.
We can always add more tracks as needed to keep us happy for days, plus everyone who visits us spends some time building the tracks – age no bar!
A track with all such accessories and expansion sets makes a great train gift not just for teenagers but also for dads and men in general.
Thomas the Train books for kids
Good Night, Thomas
This Good Night, Thomas board book is the perfect bedtime read for babies and infants.
It is a glow in the dark book and my son loves to see the shiny lights on such books.
However, the story is super simple and won’t keep toddlers occupied for long.
This wonderful, wonderful book is an encyclopedia of every Thomas character ever written.
You can read lots of interesting information about Thomas, Percy, Gordon, Belle, James, Harold, and about 100 other characters.
Kids will love to turn the pages and tell character names.
There’s even a little Thomas engine at the top of the book that goes around a track. This is really the perfect book gift for Thomas fans.
Other Train Books for Children
For unique train gifts that have lots of train terminology and stories and to foster a love for reading, try gifting these train-themed books.
The list contains train board books for younger kids, lots of trivia and information filled books for older kids and adults.
And of course, the list can’t be complete without the beloved Thomas the Train books!
My Big Train Book
We also got the My Big Train Book as a birthday gift for our son.
It has two simple redeeming features, it’s BIG and it’s full of train pictures – an instant hit!
If you know the Big Book series you know how sturdy these books are.
Our son likes flipping the pages, pointing at different trains, describing their colors, counting windows and so on.
It’s the perfect book to learn about trains and create stories.
Also Read: 50+ Gifts for someone traveling to Disney
The Polar Express
Want to know what I have put aside in our Holiday registry? First up is The Polar Express book by Chris Van Allsburg.
I have seen and enjoy the movie a lot; S-Boy is still new to the story.
I plan to read him the book, then see the movie together and then take him again on the real Polar Express train ride at Palestine, Texas.
A classic, this story is the best to teach toddlers about persevering and not giving up.
In the story, the little engine is not strong but it helps the toys reach the kids by not giving up and saying to itself ‘I think I can.. I think I can’.
It is one of my son’s favorite train storybooks.
These items do not cover everything train-themed in our house but they are a great starting guide for train-loving kids.
S-Boy also has this super cute wobbly train which he received as a gift while we were in India but I have no idea what to call it or where to find a similar toy.
Did you find our guide about finding great presents for train lovers useful? Do you have any more cool and awesome train gift ideas for toddlers that we forgot to mention?
If yes, please let us know! Also if we helped make Christmas shopping easier – please share us on Facebook!