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My darling hubby has an obession with toy train sets and is waiting for the earliest possible opportunity that he can build a scale model complete with trees, tunnels and lights for our toddler. To keep this potentially livingroom destroying concept at bay, I purchased this for his christmas from Amazon for just over £10. It is a plastic railway set with a train, tunnel and two trees, designed for kids over 18 months.
It is pretty sturdy in construction and comes in 10 pieces, 8 round and one straight in green, yellow, blue, red and orange. This means that you can build a round track or a oblong one. The tracks snap into place using a notch system, which can be difficult for little ones to master. My 19 month old cannot do it by himself without getting into a strop, but a 3 year old who recently played with it had no problems.
The train itself is a really cute little blue train with eyes that go from side to side when it is going round the track. To get it to move, you just pull it back to get friction and it propells itself round, for a really long time. I have no idea how this works, but it does the job brilliantly. It sits on the track easily, which is great for when toddlers are fumbling, as you don't want a toy that is too intricate, as that will just upset them. It only took my toddler a few watches to figure out how to use it.
I would reccomend keeping the box to store the pieces in though, as they do have a habit of escaping under your couch/tv unit.
Overall, a great way to introduce trains to little ones- it's sturdy, wipeable and doesn't need batteries- great!