Train sets are an excellent gift to give to toddlers. They have been enjoyed by children across a number of generations, and have excellent educational value. They can develop imaginative play skills, early understanding of construction and even numeracy skills if the child needs to count the pieces. There are many different sets available on the market currently to fit a wide variety of needs.
From wooden to plastic, and with many additional features, you are sure to find the perfect set for the toddler you are purchasing for. We suggest looking at the safety features first and then considering the developmental needs of the kid you are buying for. Looking for outdoor gifts? Try one of these amazing outdoor playsets.
We think you might like: Thomas the Train Toys.
We consulted bloggers, experts, and customer reviews to give you the top ten best train sets currently available online, as well as a quick guide to what factors you should consider before purchasing.
View the Best Train Sets for Toddler, Below.
- Orbrium Toys 52 Piece Wooden Train Set
- KidKraft Waterfall Train Set and Table
- Play22 12 Piece Wooden Train Set
- VTech Go! Go! Smart Wheels Train Station Playset
- Melissa & Doug Deluxe Wooden Railway Set
- LEGO DUPLO Town My First Train Set
- Tiny Land 39 Piece Wooden Track & Train Set
- Thomas & Friends Fisher-Price TrackMaster
- Brio My First Railway Beginner Pack
- KidKraft Bucket Top Construction Train Set
Orbrium Toys 52 Piece Wooden Train Set
- Loads of pieces
- Amazon’s Choice for train sets
- Compatible with other brands
At 52 pieces, this is one of the largest sets on the market and comes with a very reasonable price tag. The pieces include tracks, buildings, people, signs, foliage and a train with an engine and two cars. There is a bridge and inclined pieces, as well as a level crossing with ramps for using it with toy vehicles. There is also a train station for placing somewhere along the track. Orbrium pieces are compatible with most other major wooden train set brands including Brio, Thomas, and IKEA.
The set is designed entirely out of wood for durability and is painted with child safe wood stains. It conforms to safety standards set by two major US regulatory boards. The packaging comes with a handle for easy transportation and storage. There are 23 track pieces and instructions for a number of different layouts are included. Fully assembled it is around 33 inches long and 19 inches wide, making it quite a large set. Awarded Amazon’s Choice for train sets, customer reviews are very positive.
The trains are well weighted for ease of use and to prevent frustration that can be caused by slipping pieces. The curved pieces are double sided to make it easier to customize, however, the straight pieces are only single sided. The pieces are sturdy, however, some customers suggest that other brands are sturdier - such as Brio and IKEA. Nevertheless, this kit is compatible with both these sets and can be used as a starter kit.
KidKraft Waterfall Train Set and Table
- Sturdy materials
- Easy to build
- Great for toddlers
Though quite a pricey train set for kids, this set comes with a full table for keeping the fully constructed set on and will keep toddlers entertained for hours. There are also three plastic storage bins included that fit perfectly underneath the train table for easy storage of extra parts. It includes 120 pieces that are very durable and will last for years. There are multiple track pieces and accessories including a waterfall mountain feature, bridge and turning track parts. The train table itself is built with sturdy composite wood.
There is a one-inch lip to make sure toys remain on the train table, and the corners are designed to minimize the risk of chipping and general wear and tear. The train table top has a landscape design made with silk-screen material to ensure it does not wear down and is easy to clean. The total dimensions are 48.75 inches in length, 34.5 inches in width and 16 inches in height. It is quite short to ensure it is easy to use for small children, but make sure you have enough space to store it when not in use.
All of the tracks and play pieces are also made out of wood for durability. The tracks are compatible with Thomas wood tracks, though customer reviews suggest the curved tracks may not all be entirely compatible. It is easy to construct, taking most customers only ten minutes to fully set up. The track pieces included can be arranged in multiple configurations, helping to encourage imaginative play.
Play22 12 Piece Wooden Train Set
- Colorful design
- Compatible with other brands
- Storage shelves included
If you are only looking for the trains themselves, this train set for kids is a great option. Compatible with a number of wooden track sets - including Thomas, Brio train sets and IKEA sets - this can also be played with independently and is easy to store. The wooden set comes with three engine parts, as well as nine carriages in different styles. They are colorfully painted to create an attractive toy for children and are coated using kid-safe wood stains and paints. Like all Play22 products, this set comes with a two-year warranty.
The trains are made of sturdy wood and connect with durable magnets that will last for many years. A set of wooden display shelves are included for easy storage and will allow you to display these beautiful toy trains in the toddler’s room or play area. They are also easy to clean, with many customer reviews saying a quick wipe is all that is required. They are coated to protect against chips and general wear and tear - so no need to worry about splinters!
Play22 also sell train track pieces, so you can mix and match these train cars with other products in their range. The magnetic parts allow kids to customize their train arrangements and will be compatible with other magnetic toy trains. Some customers have suggested you should measure other components of train sets - such as tunnels - to make sure these trains will fit, but in general, most user reviews are very satisfied with the quality.
VTech Go! Go! Smart Wheels Train Station Playset
- Great for younger toddlers
- Educational value
For younger toddlers - around one to two years - it can be a great idea to consider a cheaper plastic set for their first train set. This VTech Go! Go! Smart Wheels train station playset is fully customizable but the set comes with suggested layouts making it easier for toddlers to build and use. There is a motorized freight train included and the three AAA batteries required for this are also included.
The SmartPoint Train included is also electronic and teaches toddlers all about the letter f as it moves around the Go! Go! Smart Wheels train station playset. This added educational value is great for very young toddlers who are still developing their speech and communication skills. It is fully compatible with other VTech Go! Go! sets creating the potential for large full train track sets that can provide hours of fun. Parts include an electronic train station, bridge, tunnel, and a conveyor belt hill, and 32 track pieces.
Go! Go! Smart Wheels train station playset kits are designed for ultimate interactivity. Certain pieces have 10 SmartPoint locations that allow the train to interact with the set and maximize educational value. It has an automatic shut-off meaning the sounds will stop if the toddler abandons the set, helping to keep parents happy. The plastic materials are safe for children and easy to clean. Customer reviews love the different configurations available and the bright colors of the tracks.
Melissa & Doug Deluxe Wooden Railway Set
- Great budget option
- Variety of pieces
- Good for older toddlers
Slightly lower priced than other wooden railway sets, this is a great option if you are on a budget but still looking for a high quality set with a wide range of pieces. Constructed entirely out of sturdy composite wood, and coated with child-safe wood stains, this is a very safe and durable set for toddlers and children of all ages. There are instructions included for four preset track configurations, however, the kit is fully customizable to allow children to develop their imaginations and understand basic construction principles.
It comes with 100 pieces including a variety of tracks, cranes, an engine shed and decorative pieces like trees and road signs. The wood pieces are sanded down and screws are set beneath the wood to ensure the parts are safe and smooth - no splinters with this set! A freight train, passenger train, and bridge are included. There is also a smaller bridge, five-way switch, and slopes to ensure a variety of track styles can be used. It is compatible with other popular kits including Thomas, Brio train sets, and IKEA.
Melissa & Doug suggest this set for ages three and up, so it is best for older toddlers. Customer reviews also suggest it is a very long lasting set and will also be appropriate for slightly older children who still enjoy train sets. Some of the pieces are easier to damage than other sets, but customers have reported a little problem in fixing these parts and it is a lower priced set than the more well-known brands.
LEGO DUPLO Town My First Train Set
- Great for young toddlers
- Larger parts for small hands
- Compatible with other LEGO sets
This is also a great option for younger toddlers, with brighter colors and plastic construction. There are only 52 pieces in this set however it is compatible with other toy sets in the LEGO DUPLO range. It is much easier to construct than the other sets on this list, so is best for toddlers of about one year old. It comes with two characters - a train driver and a child. The pieces are also larger - great for small hands and safe against choking hazards. The plastic is entirely safe for children and non-toxic.
The included steam train has realistic sound effects and a passenger wagon. There is also a train station with a ticket desk, fueling pump, train signal, extra DUPLO bricks, and tracks. Many of the DUPLO bricks are decorated with animals and plants, allowing the toddler to customize the set however they like. The set is only compatible with DUPLO trains, however, the bricks can be used with regular LEGO bricks.
The train requires three AAA batteries, so we advise you include these if you are giving the set as a gift. The train moves by itself around the track and cannot be pushed, so we also suggest supervising the toddler for the first couple of plays to make sure they do not break the train. That being said, customer reviews report that the plastic used is very sturdy and breakages rarely occur. Check out more LEGO sets here.
Tiny Land 39 Piece Wooden Track & Train Set
- Amazon’s Choice for kids train sets
- Trusted brand
- High-quality manufacturing
For a premium wooden train set, this kit is very well priced and an excellent budget option. It comes with thirty-nine Wooden Track & Train Pack and, is great for a starter kit. It has been awarded Amazon’s Choice for kids train sets thanks to excellent reviews and good attention to quality. All of the pieces are double-sided, maximizing the customizability of the track for kids of all ages. The main layout is a simple figure-8 circuit with a tunnel and bridge, however, it can be changed into a number of different layouts and is compatible with most other wooden train set brands.
The set is made entirely from juniper wood - another very durable and safe material. To reassure you of the quality of this set it comes with a five-year customer satisfaction warranty, protecting you if any problems occur after you purchase. The train cars for toddlers are connected with magnets, and the set includes one engine and two cars. These are also manufactured with wood and painted with child-safe wood stain. Tiny Land sets are manufactured in Germany to high standards that conform to EU regulations and exceed most US standards.
The listing suggests the toy for ages three and up however many customer reviews suggest it is suitable for kids as young as 18 months - though we suggest supervision for younger toddlers. The durable materials ensure it will last for many years, and the expandability means even older children will be able to use the set.
Thomas & Friends Fisher-Price TrackMaster
- Thomas the Tank Engine branding
- Compatible with other kits
- Amazon’s Choice
With an outstanding reputation, Thomas and Friends sets are some of the best in the market for young toddlers. This particular Thomas and Friends set has been awarded Amazon’s Choice for Thomas train set thanks to great reviews and fantastic quality. The set is inspired by the Thomas The Tank Engine DVD movie, meaning if you are giving it as a gift this DVD might be a good accompaniment to spark their imagination and help them set up their own scenarios. Thomas and Percy trains are included and are motorized so they can race with each other across the set.
The Fisher-price Thomas set is not as customizable as others and comes in a standard configuration, however, it is lower in price and is, therefore, a great option for younger toddlers who are interested in trains or the Thomas franchise. The entire track extends to over six feet long, making it an impressive kit. Fisher Price does offer other kits which are compatible with this set - so whilst it isn’t customizable on its own it can be when purchased with other kits.
Accessories include a starting post, racing flags, and bridges. Customer reviews are impressed with the size of this Fisher-price Thomas set, and say it is very durable against the rough play. That being said, it has been suggested mostly for younger toddlers, and older children may get bored of the kit quicker as the trains race themselves. Nevertheless, this Fisher-price Thomas set is a great starter kit for one to two-year-olds.
Brio My First Railway Beginner Pack
- Trusted brand
- Durable materials
- Easy to customize
Another well-known brand for train sets, Brio kits are very high quality. This Railway beginner pack train set has been awarded Amazon’s Choice for brio trains and is an excellent option for young toddlers from one and a half onwards. The tracks are made using European beech wood for ultimate durability and quality. Brio prioritize safety and conduct over 1000 tests per year to make sure their toys are as safe as possible for kids. The wood is sanded to prevent splinters and only child-safe paint is used on the colored pieces.
The Railway beginner pack train set comes with fifteen different track pieces, a tunnel, a train car and a rattling car which makes a sound as it rolls across the tracks. The Railway beginner pack train set train pieces are connected with magnets which are designed to be used in either direction, reducing frustration for the children playing with the set. Starter ramps are included so kids can roll the train pieces directly onto the tracks without having to lift them on. The tunnel has a fun, rainbow-colored suspension bridge giving the child multiple options when building their track.
All Brio sets are compatible with each other as well as with a whole variety of other wooden sets on the market - many of which are mentioned earlier in this list. If you are on a budget you can expand this set with some of the cheaper tracks, particularly the wooden tracks available from IKEA. Customers love the high quality of Brio sets, and this one, in particular, comes highly recommended for toddlers.
KidKraft Bucket Top Construction Train Set
- Compatible with multiple other train sets
- Simple design and easy to use
- Loads of pieces available
This 61-piece train set for kids is made out of solid beech wood and comes with an engine, coaches, bridge, buildings, vehicles, road signs, trees, and little wooden people. The train set for kids is also compatible with Thomas Wooden, Brio Railway and Chuggington wooden sets and the large variety of pieces available make it a great expansion set for kids who already have one of these train sets. The magnetic train and truck pull up to the quarry where a wooden bulldozer awaits. A working crane lifts and lowers cargo next to the steep trestle ramp.
The wood used to make this set is from renewable sources making it a great option for environmentally conscious buyers. There are 61 track pieces and these are easy to construct for small hands. The pieces all have grooves on both sides, allowing curved pieces to be used in both directions and giving full customizability to the train set for kids. Customer reviews love the simplicity of this build set as well as how customizable it is.
Some users suggest using wood glue to keep the track in place if the child would rather keep it in one configuration, although this will obviously hinder its compatibility with other sets and opportunities for expansion. Users have also reported being able to expand this kit with the wooden train track pieces from IKEA. This toy is for boys and for girls aged 3 and up.
When buying a train set for kids there are a few factors you should consider. The toddler you are buying for will have different requirements based on their own routines and preferences so if you are not buying for your own children we suggest speaking to the parents. Here are the main factors you should consider.
Safety and Durability
The safeness and durability of the play set will largely depend on the materials used. For wooden sets, make sure they are sanded and that any painted pieces use child-safe wood stains. For plastic, try to get a play set that is BPA free and always make sure the plastic has been approved by federal and state regulations. Try to make sure the play set conforms to ASTM F963 and CPSIA requirements.
In terms of durability, you want a set that will be long-lasting. Wooden set toys, in general, last longer than plastic sets – so plastic train track sets are best for younger children who will likely grow out of them. Natural wood will last longer than composite wood, and customer reviews usually indicate how sturdy the pieces are.
Train set toys already have great educational value, but some of them have added features. For younger toddlers, it can be a great idea to get kits that include different sounds and textures to stimulate all of the child’s senses. There are also some kits that come with phonetic and numeracy skills development.
This can be in the form of decorated pieces, building structures that require counting and of course electronic sets that make sounds.
Tastes can vary even between one and three-year-olds, so make sure the kit is age appropriate. Most of the plastic sets are aimed for one to two-year-olds, whilst the wooden sets are better for older toddlers. If you are buying for a very young toddler, get a kit with fewer pieces so it is easy to construct and features that make play less frustrating.
Well-weighted toddler trains and reversible magnets can make play easier. For older toddlers, you want to get starter sets that are more customizable so they encourage imaginative play.
Most of the wooden sets are compatible with each other. Brio trains, IKEA and Thomas wooden tracks are all compatible, and some of the smaller brands develop train track sets that are also compatible with these kits. Double-sided tracks are better as these can be flipped to make them more compatible with a variety of layouts.
You should also make sure the toddler trains themselves are compatible with these starter sets. Plastic kits will likely not be compatible with other brands, so keep this in mind when purchasing.
Size and Storage
If you plan on keeping the play set fully built, make sure you have enough space to store and display it. If possible, try to get a small activity table to put the set on so you can move it around easier without having to take it apart. If you have less space, there are also kits that come with great storage options including reusable boxes and shelves.
Train sets are a timeless classic toy for keeping children entertained, and getting a high-quality play set ensures it will be used for years to come. First and foremost you should consider the safety of the deluxe set, and then afterward you will be able to find a set which will conform to the specific needs and wants of the toddler you are buying for.
The educational value of train set toys are excellent, but there are also some great extra features that can be included. Keep in mind the development needs of the toddler you are buying for to make sure you get the perfect set. We hope you find a great kit for the child you are buying for and they enjoy it for years to come!
Wooden sets are a great option if you are hoping the child will be able to use the deluxe set for years. These are enjoyed not just by toddlers but by older children as well.