Thursday, August 5, 2010

Thomas Train Set Wows Zach!

I’ve been reviewing toys for young children for the last year but except for one small item my grandson, Zach (14 months old), has not been ready to play with any of them. That changed last week. I received a sample of the Thomas Wooden Railway Early Engineers line from Learning Curve Brands. The Roundabout Station Set is absolutely perfect for toddlers! It has nice size pieces that a toddler can hold and explore the details. The set includes train track connector links for easily connecting to additional tracks that can be bought separately. There were big pieces including a station and moveable crossing gate that fit around the tracks like 3-d puzzle pieces. The highlight is the Thomas train engine – a favorite of Zach’s. The set is very well made and reminds me of LEGO products - you can build on themed sets that you will want to keep to pass on to future generations. The Early Engineers line is like the DUPLO line of LEGOs. They are designed for younger children but then can connect to the Thomas Wooden Railway line for older children.

This is my first review where I can report on how my grandson enjoyed the toy. Zach was immediately interested in it and enjoyed examining the pieces in detail. He enjoys watching the train go around the track and seeing how the various moving parts work. He especially likes the Thomas engine piece – big surprise! Zach doesn’t play attentively with many toys yet, but he does with this Thomas train set. Zach visits us often and we are set up with toys around the house. The Thomas set is his favorite and the one he goes to first all the time. I think the only thing he likes better is when the neighbor’s cat, Bella, visits. Nothing can compete with that. I always appreciate toys that encourage imaginative play and the Early Engineers line of Thomas Trains does just that. I also like toys like this that you can add to incrementally either in a small inexpensive way with individual pieces or in a grander style with a comprehensive set. After all, grandparents are known for providing both the bigger gifts and the occasional “just because I love you” smaller ones. And as this picture shows, grandma enjoys playing with this set too.

I always like to have some information about the companies that make the toys I write about. Learning Curve brands is not one I was familiar with. But they are well established and you’ll recognize the name of other quality products they make including The First Years and Lamaze brands. Their website also has a parents section you can join. You’ll find the Thomas sets everywhere from ToyRUs to small educational oriented specialty shops. You can also order directly from Amazon. See the link below.