“ Brand: Brio / Train Set „
My son received this train set from his grandfather for his 2nd birthday in January. The train set is recommend from 3 years up but we had borrowed a similar train set from the toy library when my dad was visiting and he had seen how much my son had enjoyed playing with it so decide to risk buying it for him.
What is it?
This is a wooden train set from the world leader in wooden trains Biro. The train is designed to look like the legendary Flying Scotsman train engine complete with coal tender. These are both a deep green colour. There are also two brown classic style carriages. The carriages have a magnet on each end to attach themselves to the magnet at the back of the coal tender. In the set are wooden bits of track including curved, straight pieces a bridge a level crossing and a Y shaped junction for the train to go into the sidings These are all in natural wooden bar the level crossing which is painted grey for a road and has a red and yellow plastic lever at either side to raise and lower for the cars to go through. The train set has several decorative bits including a house trees two small cars that also fit onto the track and can attach to the train via magnets on their front and back bumpers. There is a plastic arch way that goes over the track which is meant to represent a garage and a few people.
In use and our opinion
I think I first need to establish that my son is 2 and 2 months so is slightly below the age this toy is recommend for ( 3 years plus) so there are a few bits that he finds hard to do mainly assembling the track. But I can comment on this as I generally do this for him.
I think the first thing to mention that I love about this toy is just how well made it all is. It has been in daily use since we got this over two months ago and it is not showing any wear. The train, track and all of the bits still look as if they have just come out of the box. Given at times my son is a bit rough in his handling of the train and the track especially as we dismantle it I am very pleased about this. For example when we take it apart my toddler loves to help and will often lift the track in the air by one piece. The track generally holds together in the air as he swings it about till I either tell him off and take the pieces apart or he pulls the pieces apart himself.
The train itself looks good, but how accurate a reproduction it is of the Flying Scotsman I couldn't say but it looks very much so to my untrained eye. My only gripe with the train and I think this is more to down to the age of my son rather than the train is that the engine and coal tender need to be attached to one another before you can put the carriages on as the engine component does not have a magnet on it. The tender has the magnetic attachment on its rear for you to attach the carriages to it. The tender and engine attach to one another by a hole on the underside of the engine and a prong on the coal tender. This makes it not that stable for pushing around the track in my opinion and they can often come apart especially when going down the bridge this causes some frustration for my son. The magnetic attachment for the rest of the elements of the train are great and very simple to use and hold their connections well as the train is pushed around and up and down the bridge. The two small cars within the set also have a magnet on them and my son loves to put these on the back of the train to make it longer and push these around too. The cars themselves seem to be designed to do this and hold the track well.
The track itself lends itself to several designs due to the inclusion of bridges, curved and straight track my son generally prefers it in a large oval so he can sit in the middle to push the train and have an off shot for the siding. Now as he is slightly younger than the age group this intended for he can't assemble the track alone as yet. He has the co -ordination for putting the bits together as it is just like a jigsaw with interlocking pieces really. They interlock very well and slot into one another with no difficulty at all. However my son hasn't got the ability as yet to think how to put it together to get them to all join up in a smooth endless circle way. However I think an older child would start to learn how to do this very quickly and learn to experiment with different track designs.
Learning and education value
I think the main learning for this toy is simply the use of imaginative play. My son loves pushing the train around making choo choo noises. He interacts very well with the set as a whole as he sets the trees up and uses animals from other toys to create a field area. There is at times a cow on the line and a subsequent crash but the train quickly gets back on the tracks and going again unlike in real life! I think as he gets older he will definitely extent the imaginative play he does with the train especially if we expand and buy more tunnels and carriages and other accessorise for the set or we can make some Blue Peter style.
I think this train set also has the potential to help with the development of children's co- ordination, problem solving and spatial awareness in children as they learn to plan the track designs fix it together to get the train to run smoothly.
Overall and recommendation
This is a classic toy which is very well made and encourages children to have wonderful imaginative play. It is a firm favourite in our household and I would definitely recommend this for any young child. It is a great starter set which can be added to over the years. My son enjoys playing with this and it keeps him entertained for a long time. Given he is still younger than the age this toy is designed for I think it will over the years be a toy that grows with him.
My Dad bought this from Adventure toys for £59.99 the link is here if you want to view the train. thttp://www.adventuretoys.co.uk/prodpage.asp?ProdID=1566
Specially made by Brio for the british market. The flying Scotsman completed the first non-stop London to Edinburgh run on May 1st 1928 in 8 1/4 hours and achieved the first speed of 100 miles per hour.