Train sets are a beloved childhood staple, and kids of all ages are eager to play. Big kid trains can be a little too complicated for toddlers, but there are tons of great train sets that are designed for the younger set. Made for little hands and intended to help develop fine motor control and foster developing minds, train and train sets can be an excellent learning tool for toddlers. We’ve taken a closer look at 13 great train sets for toddlers to help you understand what’s out there and what features are most important.

Our Top Picks

How to Pick the Best Train Set For Toddlers

1. Recommended Age

Age appropriate toys are especially important for toddlers, who are prone to quickly reject anything that’s not stimulating enough or too complex to have fun with. Additionally, toy trains are popular among many ages of people. Train sets designed for older kids can be more complicated or even dangerous for toddlers, so you’ll want to make sure you’re choosing an age-appropriate pick for your little one.

2. Material

Reputable toys are made with safe wooden, plastic and metal materials without harmful dyes or chemicals. You’ll never see us recommend a toy here that could be dangerous to your child, but knowing what material your toddler’s toy trains or other toys are made of is important to protecting their well being. Look for denotations like ‘non toxic’, ‘lead free’ and ASTM certifications indicating that they’ve been tested safe by the American Society for Testing and Materials.

3. Compatibility

For kids who love trains, part of the fun of a railway set is building a massive connecting track. What makes this possible is the fact that a lot of manufacturers use a standard joining connector shape on their wooden track pieces. You’ll see that a lot of the sets we mention here are compatible with most wooden railway sets, but not all. It’s important to know in case you’re trying to start or add onto a collection that depends on track compatibility.

4. Size and Storage

It’s always important to have some idea of how much space a toy is going to take up in your home. Toy train sets come in many shapes and sizes, and the ones listed here run the gamut. Knowing what size train set you’ll be getting before it comes home will let you figure out where it should be played with and stored, or, if it’s a train table set
, where it should be placed.

5. durability

Nobody wants to deal with a toy that’s broken five minutes after it comes out of the box, which is why durability is an essential feature. Some cheaper toy trains don’t hold up very well and can scuff, break or stop working easily. Trains are a toy that get a lot of play time, and therefore a lot of wear and tear. They’re often indoor-outdoor toys, so if you’re going to spend the money, you won’t regret doing it on a set that will hold up.

6. Safety

At all times and with all toys, safety is paramount. Most toddler train sets are specifically designed to avoid pinched fingers and car speeds are slow, but that doesn’t negate the presence of choking hazards. Any time small parts are present, toddlers should be supervised. That said, it’s important to know if there are pieces in a train set that could prevent a choking hazard to small kids.

train-set-toy

The Winners

#1

Editor's choice

An ideal first train set, the BRIO My First Railway from the trusted train toy experts combines bright colors and elegant construction to create a cute, fun track toddlers will love. Featuring a colorful train engine, a rattle wagon for fun sensory play, guiding ramp tracks to help kids guide cars on and off the rails and a rainbow bridge they’ll love playing with, this set is perfect for creative toddlers. There’s lots of room for imagination, it’s great for improving motor skills and this set is compatible with all other BRIO toys and most other wooden railway toys.

Recommended age: 18 months to 4 years
Material: Wood
Compatibility: Compatible with all BRIO and most other wooden railway sets
Size and Storage: Small and easy to store
Durability: Yes
Safety: Choking hazards are present, supervise children while playing

#2

upgrade choice

Unarguably the largest set on our list, the KidKraft Ride Around Train Set and Table is the Rolls Royce of toddler train sets. It’s a beautiful standing wooden table featuring a whole community setting plus lots of wooden track for building. Straight and curved pieces can be arranged in a variety of patterns around a farm, hospital, police station with helipad, construction site, lake and more.

Trucks, boats, a plane, a helicopter and a crane dot the landscape while familiar townspeople round it out – a doctor, a farmer, construction workers, a policeman, a boater and farm animals. A stop sign, a road sign and a duck crossing sign are also part of the decor, giving many educational opportunities for toddlers.

This toy is huge, awesome for creative play and free play and ideal for cooperative play and sharing. Because it’s a standing unit, you’ll want to make sure you measure and make room for it, but it comes with two very convenient storage bins for keeping unused pieces safe.

Recommended age: 3 years to 12 years
Material: Wood and metal
Compatibility: Compatible with most other wooden railway sets
Size and Storage: Large display table with storage bins
Durability: Yes
Safety: Choking hazard – supervise play for younger kids

#3

Best budget buy

Learning shape and color recognition are an important part of a toddler’s developmental process, and the Melissa and Doug Stacking Train is a great choice for improving those skills. It features bright colors and stackable wooden shapes which fit easily onto the two dowels built into each train car base. There are many stacking possibilities, and this simple, creative toy inspires the imagination while improving motor skills and spatial reasoning. You’ll be able to use the blocks to teach names of colors and shapes to your to toddler, allowing them to form associations between the two.

 

Recommended age: 18 months and above
Material: Wood, plastic and metal
Compatibility: Compatible with other BRIO railway sets and most other wooden railway tracks
Size and Storage: Medium sized, store in box
Durability: Yes
Safety: Yes

#4

DUPLO has been making toddler safe building sets that young kids love for years, and their railway sets offer the same durable construction and creative fun that keeps kids coming back to play again and again. Powered by 4 AAA batteries (not included), this 59 piece remote control train set is fun for kids to assemble and encourages problem solving, reasoning and spatial thinking while providing an opportunity to improve hand eye coordination. The DUPLO Steam Train features lights, sound and movement with a push-to-go train car that’s easy for little hands to start. Action bricks can be added to the track, which trigger the horn, lights, and changes of direction. Even cooler, this set is compatible with other DUPLO rail sets, blocks and figurines.

Recommended age: 2 to 5 years
Material: Plastic
Compatibility: Compatible with other DUPLO railway sets, blocks and figures
Size and Storage: Large, 59 pieces, store in box
Durability: Yes
Safety: Yes

#5

best train set for 2 year old

Eco friendly toys are something we absolutely love, and the Green Toys Train does an amazing job of producing a train that’s ultra safe, globally minded and tons of fun for the small set. Toddlers can improve hand eye coordination with this toy, which is ideal for small hands and easy to roll. It has no external coatings, paint or dye and even the packaging is recyclable. The train itself is made from 100% post consumer recycled milk jugs, has no metal axles and is dishwasher safe. It’s simple, which makes it great for creative play – that’s why we’ve named it the Best Train Set for Two Year Olds.

Recommended age: 2 years and up
Material: 100% post consumer recycled plastic
Compatibility: No
Size and Storage: Small, easy to store, no pieces to keep track of
Durability: Yes
Safety: Yes

#6

best train sets for 1 year old

Thomas the Tank Engine is loved by children all over the world, and is the source of many early fascinations with trains. If your child adores Thomas, the Thomas & Friends Railway Tower set by Fischer Price is an ideal choice – powered by 2 AA batteries, which are included, the track features 4 activation points which, when rolled over, play a combo of over 30 songs, sounds and phrases. They’re designed to teach numbers, letters and colors as toddlers play. Pressing Thomas’ light up bumper triggers additional songs, sounds and phrases. The track features a cargo car, cargo piece, archway, crossing gate, rescue tower, cargo bin and more.

The track is compatible with other Railway Pals vehicles, which are sold separately and offer new songs, sounds and phrases with educational content for kids. The simple operation and multiple learning opportunities are why we’ve named this the Best Train Set for One Year Olds.

Recommended age: 12 months to 5 years
Material: Plastic
Compatibility: Compatible with other Railway Pals vehicles, sold separately
Size and Storage: Medium to large, store in box
Durability: Yes
Safety: Yes

#7

Unique and fun, the HAPE Musical Rainbow Railway has a lot of bells and whistles – semi-literally. The 4 part track, with ladybug, bumblebee, butterfly and banana themes, features a xylophone and tambourine as well as a bead maze and shape sorting action. The track comes with four cars, each of which have a cool glass effect when you look through them; one is mirrored, one inverts and one is kaleidoscopic. 

The Musical Rainbow Railway is made with sustainable materials and is a great way for kids to learn trial and error as well as counting, organization and shape identification. In addition, music is a positive and enriching addition to a toddler’s sensory environment, and interacting with musical toys and instruments can teach rhythm and self soothing.

Recommended age: 18 months and over
Material: Wood and metal
Compatibility: Compatible with most other wooden railway sets, including BRIO
Size and Storage: Medium to large, store in box
Durability: Yes
Safety: Yes

#8

BRIO trains are favorites among kids, but this set will quickly become a parent’s favorite because of how quickly and easily it stores and how portable it is. The BRIO My First ‘Take-Along’ Railway comes in a plastic carrying case which unfolds to reveal a bell wagon, train, tracks, two ramps, and curved tracks. The case itself attaches to the tracks and ramps to become part of the set, which is easy for small hands to assemble. The wagon and train have magnetic connectors, which takes the frustration out of playtime for kids. Because it’s portable, this set makes great on-the-go entertainment, and there’s no need to worry about taking it outside, as it’s very easy to clean. It’s also compatible with other BRIO train sets.

Recommended age: 18 months to 4 years
Material: Wood and plastic
Compatibility: Compatible with all BRIO railway products and most other wooden railway tracks
Size and Storage: Small, functions as its own storage case with a fold-close design and convenient carry handle
Durability: Yes
Safety: Yes

#9

Best electric train set for toddlers

BRIO prides themselves in making extra durable toys. In fact, they test their toys until they’re 25% more durable than the law demands. The sturdy, BRIO Battery Powered Train Set is not an exception. Powered by 2 AA batteries (not included), the simple to assemble track features easy to connect magnetic cars, patented ramps which make it simple for small hands to get trains onto the track, and a simple arrow button on the top of the train car that’s push to operate. It offers real electric train action while also being safe and simple for younger kids, which is why we’ve named it the Best Electric Train Set for Toddlers.

Recommended age: 18 months and above
Material: Wood, plastic and metal
Compatibility: Compatible with other BRIO railway sets and most other wooden railway tracks
Size and Storage: Medium sized, store in box
Durability: Yes
Safety: Yes

#10

The LEGO DUPLO Town My First Train is bright, safe and simple to assemble. It features a town setting that’s perfect for pretend play, including an arch, pony, flower, train, car, train signal, fuel pump and ticket window. The hand operated train cars have removable tops which convert to fun cargo trains, so no matter what game your toddler is playing, they’ll be thinking creatively. This set is great for fine motor control improvement and is compatible with other DUPLO track system products as well as other DUPLO blocks and figurines.

Recommended age: 2 years to 5 years
Material: Plastic
Compatibility: Compatible with other DUPLO track system toys and DUPLO blocks and figurines
Size and Storage: Large, store in box
Durability: Yes
Safety: Yes

#11

One of the bigger sets we’ve covered here, the Melissa & Doug Deluxe Wooden Railway features a large, creative track with curved and straight pieces. Up to four track configurations are possible with the included pieces, which include decorations like a roadhouse engine shed, trees, workers, traffic signs, and even cranes with magnetic tips. It’s a great toy for inspiring a toddler’s imagination, and it’s also packed with features. Switches, a trestle bridge, a suspension bridge, a t-junction and course changes make playing with the wooden railway even more fun. The 130 pieces in this set include a six piece freight train with cargo, a four piece passenger train and a three piece flatbed truck with cargo. It’s a great tool for teaching kids about neighborhood and community, and assembling and playing with the set is great for improving hand eye coordination.

Recommended age: 3 years and above
Material: Wood and metal
Compatibility: Compatible with most other wooden railway sets
Size and Storage: Large, store in box
Durability: Yes
Safety: Yes

#12

Pretty in pink, the BigJigs Fairy Town Train Set is colorful and fun. There aren’t a lot of train sets out there that are designed specifically for girls, which sets this one apart. The 75 piece set features 36 track pieces and 39 accessories, which include an engine and two brightly colored carriages, an engine shed, a pink bridge, trees, houses, fairies, a helipad and more. The wooden tracks are compatible with most other wooden railway sets, and assembling the track is a great way to stimulate problem solving skills and use of fine motor control. A great train set for girls is long overdue, which is why we’re naming this the Best Pink Train Set.

Recommended age: 3 years to 8 years
Material: Wood, metal and plastic
Compatibility: Compatible with most other wooden railway sets
Size and Storage: Medium to large, store in box
Durability: Yes
Safety: Choking hazard – supervise play for younger kids

#13

A toy you can really count on, the LEGO DUPLO Numbers Train is a bright, fun way for toddlers to learn to count while also playing with a fun train toy. Featuring a buildable locomotive and three wagons, it’s safe for little hands and has bricks numbered 0 through 9, which also helps in learning number identification. Young toddlers often start learning their numbers by rote, but this toy can help them conceptualize about the actual enumeration of counting in a new way. It’s a cute, simple, versatile toy that’s especially good between ages 2 and 3, and it’s compatible with other DUPLO figures and blocks.

Recommended age: 18 months to 3 years
Material: Plastic
Compatibility: Compatible with other DUPLO figures and blocks
Size and Storage: Small and easy to store
Durability: Yes
Safety: Yes

DIY, Craft and Décor: Ideas for Train lovers

Zoo Activity

Create fun scenarios and dioramas with existing train tracks and other toys! Jessica at Play Trains teaches you how to use a simple box lid and toy trees and animals to create a fun zoo diorama that’s sure to inspire other ideas in you and your child. Including dolls and other toys already on hand is always a plus.

Train Themed Party

A train themed birthday party doesn’t need to break the bank – cardboard train crafts and decorations are very simple and inexpensive. They’re cute, fun, and kids will love helping to make them and having them at their party. Sue at One Time Through shoes us how it’s done.

Tea box Trains

Need a rainy day arts and crafts activity for your little train lover? Merrilee at Mer Mag shows us how to make adorable box train cars with empty tea boxes, which can be decorated with brightly colored paper and shapes, painted, connected with string and displayed.

DIY Train Toy

Quick Decision

Brio My First Railway – Best Overall
The My First Railway set is cute, colorful and fosters learning and imagination in younger kids while helping to refine motor skills and improve hand-eye coordination.

KidKraft Ride Around Train Set – Upgrade Choice
We think the Ride Around Train Set and Table is pretty close to every kid’s dream train table. It’s a bit fancier than the other sets here, packed full of learning opportunities and ideal for cooperative roleplay.

Melissa & Doug Stacking Train – Best Budget Buy
A great tool for teaching shapes and problem solving, this stacking train is an awesomely inexpensive option that keeps toddlers entertained while stimulating their minds.

garbage truck toy

Crunk, bang, shuffle! Kids love garbage trucks and we’ve discovered the very best and most realistic garbage toy trucks you can buy.

Gary B.

Gary B.

Gary is a father of two, self-identified RC fanboy, and part-time guitar plucker. When he's not racing his collection of remote-controlled vehicles or strumming away, we bend his arm and get him to write with precision and expertise on a range of mechanical and electrical toys.

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