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I recently read an article about just how good Thomas the Tank engine was for a child's development. I wish I would have kept it to quote it here in this review as it was a really interesting article, I'm pretty sure it was a marketing advertisement from Tomy but still, a lot of what hey said makes sense and was something that I definitely agree with. Thomas and his friends have been a favourite with a little boys and girls for decades now and the article said things like Thomas promotes colour and number recognition as well as hand eye coordination and also promotes fun role play from driving the train, picking up goods and taking turns at being the fat controller. According to an article I read, TOMY (known as Takara Tomy in Japan) is a Japanese manufacturer and in 2011 they company acquired learning curve and all the product ranges distributed by them, Thomas included. We all know Thomas as the blue engine with the number 1 on his side so I would definitely say this is a great way of learning numbers and colours by playing with this engine. We got this Thomas as part of a small starter set when my little boy was first born. It included the engine, a baggage cart and a small round wooden track. Thomas works well as just an engine on his own though and I don't think you need to own a track to get the most out of this engine. My little boy pulls the wooden track apart as soon as I put it together so mostly at the moment we use this train on its own just wheeling it across the floor saying choo choo. He is only 1 so right now for him this is fun but I'm sure by the time he gets a bit older he will be using this train with the track as well. Thomas the engine is very well made and looks exactly like the photo that Dooyoo have provided here. I have numerous photos of my boy playing with this train if you have any questions about the train. Thomas is a little wooden train with six blue plastic wheels, three on either side. The wheels are made so that they fit into the grooves of the wooden track and when you play with this train and the track it scoots around the track quite well although it is not motorised or anything, you have to push it yourself. As we all know, Thomas is a blue engine and this train has been painted true to colour. The wood is painted and so after about a year or so there are a few chips, mainly on the top of Thomas at the edges but apart from that the paint has lasted well. THomas has a little round plastic face and his familiar welcoming smile. The train is not very big, its just a small one and fits perfectly in my little boys hand. In fact, he often carries this train around with him and I will find it in the car, his cot, etc where he has picked it up and wanted it to come with him, its definitely one of his favourites. On the underneath of this train is written the word THOMAS in capital letters so you know which train it is if you were in any doubt. THe number 1 is written on the side and I think this is great number recognition for kids to always see this when they are playing with their favourite toy. Thomas also has a round magnet on the front and back of him. This is so you can link him up with the baggage cart or other trains etc that you can buy for this set. THe magnets hold well and do not come apart when you are scooting the trains around the track and I like this. This is a great starter train in my opinion to get your boy or girl interested in the world of Thomas and one we have enjoyed playing with.
For Hollie's third birthday my sister bought her a wooden train set which came with a small wooden track and accessories, the only thing it didn't come with was trains (d'oh!) so after realising her error she got my bro-in-law to drive her to the nearest toy shop (a wonderful little independent in the midst of a sea of chains on the high street) and came back with a small selection of trains from Thomas and Friends - including Thomas himself. Now, Hollie is very much the girly girl and I think she may have played with the set twice before putting it in the far corner of the playroom, never to see the light of day again. Good job the next baby I had was a boy! With complete gender specificity I can say that while Hollie adores the pink fluffy femininity of Barbie, David is very much more the Thomas and Fireman Sam type of child. His eyes absolutely lit up when he saw what was inside a heavy ex-knitting bag he'd been dragging around for long minutes - Mark saw the opening first, a boy to raise after the peace of three girls, and built that track quicker than it took David to say 'choo-choo'! This little Thomas is fabulous; true in appearance to the character you see on the tele, perfect hand size for small people and works beautifully not only along our tiny track but also as a stand alone train which can be pushed along the table or floor. Thomas is a wooden train with small plastic wheels, he looks and feels fabulous and even after lots of recent play I'm impressed by the condition he's in - admittedly there are a few tiny dents and paint chips on the corners but apart from this he still looks great. On either end of the train there's a small but pretty powerful magnet which allows him to pull carriages behind him, or to shunt them from the back. This works brilliantly and once the carriages are attached they don't come loose again unless David is being particularly rough with them - the magnets are strong enough that you can carefully lift Thomas and his carriage will hang down without falling off, again this only works if you're gentle so to be honest it's very rare that David manages to do it (much to his tantruming disgust!). The colours are all very well done and true to how Thomas is depicted on the programmes David watches, I love his cheerful little face although this his eyes look a bit buggy on this particular little train and this gives him the impression of looking even more shocked than usual! Thomas's name is printed on the bottom of the train, which is a cute idea and great when Hollie was learning to read as she'd go through all the trains reading their names off the bottom (as David was playing, reading their names was about as much interest as Hollie ever showed in this cute little set of trains) - she also enjoyed copying the names down but quickly lost enthusiasm for this when she realised she knew the name of every single train on Sodor and didn't need to refer to the bottom of the trains anymore! At 23 months David knows it says something and sometimes I'll see him tracing the letters with his finger, although to be honest he's such a Thomas and Friends nut that I think he knows all their names and everything about them by now! While I'm tempted to buy David a bigger track to accommodate his growing collection of trains, I don't think this will be for this Christmas simply due to the fact that even when Mark has set the track up David definitely prefers to carry the train around with him rather than be forced into making Thomas go in a simple tight circle (our track is very small). I suppose when he's a little older he'll understand the whole track/trains thing better, but until them I'm happy for him to have free-play with Thomas and learn about wheels, directions and even magnet properties! Of course, at only a little under four inches long he's easily lost so I try to keep a close eye on David whenever I see him playing with any of these little trains - even so he's disappeared several times, usually to be found underneath one of the settees or behind the TV cabinet. The problem is that Thomas's wheels rotate freely and there's hardly any friction at all - with a good push on a wooden floor it can travel for miles (well, slight exaggeration there but certainly from one end of our large living room to the other), Thomas will go in pretty much a straight line so if David aims him to go under the settee then that's where he'll go. I've just learned to check the obvious places first, and if he stays lost for a few days then maybe it will teach naughty David a lesson! I really love this cute little wooden train, and so does David! He's totally obsessed with trains in general and already adores Thomas and Friends so what better than his own toddler-size fully portable Thomas? He had an awful gastric bug a couple of weeks ago which resulted in him having zero energy and lying down all day, gripped in his hot little hand for the duration of his illness wasn't a cuddly Pooh Bear but this little hard Thomas! It really comforted him for some reason and he'd look for it whenever he woke up and wasn't holding it, I don't recommend it for sleeping with as it was lost amongst the bedding and down the side of his cot far too many times (and also bruised his nose when he rolled over onto it one night) but it made poorly David feel better so I let it go. The recommended age is two years, but I suspect that's from an ability point of view rather than any safety issues. David has been playing with it for almost a year now (although more regularly in the past three months) and I've never had any worries about him causing himself any damage with Thomas, other than the bruised nose, there are no small detachable pieces and the magnets and wheels are both firmly attached to the body of the train. I've got no worries about David playing with it, although maybe he'll start to show a little more interest in the track itself once he reaches the recommended age level - time will tell I suppose, but for now he's happy enough to toddle around the house pushing Thomas and saying 'choo-choo' while laughing as loudly as is humanly possible. It doesn't get any better than that!
My little boys are Thomas mad and as my son received a wooden train track for his birthday we decided to buy some wooden Thomas trains to go with it at £10 a pop there not cheap especially for the size of the engine you receive but to see my little boys face definitely makes it worth it. These trains are made of wood and are really very sturdy they can be bashed and hit without much actual damage although the paint does chip very easily. They have magnets on each end that act as couplings and means when you have more than 1 engine they can be joined up together and it also means I can use them to teach my youngest son about positive and negative points when he asks why the engines will not couple up the wrong way round. They are only small engines and do not come with any carriages although you can purchase them separately this becomes very expensive especially with the range of characters that are available my son always has a new one each birthday and Christmas that he adds to his wish list. The wheels on the bottom work very well and can be pushed along carpet flooring and wooden flooring very easily although they do work better on wooden tracks. We found they work well with both the elc wooden starter pack, learning curve wooden tracks and the Tesco wooden train set as they are all the same size and so comfortably sit the trains easily. We found the Tesco one to be better as you are not paying for the name and it comes with lots of accessories that my son can seem to link to Thomas anyway he never knew the difference. Thomas has his name printed underneath him which my little boy who is 4 loves as he is just learning to write so he likes to tell me each letter of the name and then write it down which I think s really sweet. It also has number 1 printed on its side as this of course is the engine number of the famous blue engines number and my son loves to pint this out and then list the Thomas trains and there numbers. He also likes to line them up in order of their number so it helps with both numbers and writing. My only downside is that from the very first day the paint chips with even the slightest impact. Although this does not affect the way they are played with as they are made of wood and are very sturdy it does mean they can begin to look very tatty and old almost straight away. This does not seem to bother my sons they just say oh no Thomas has had an accident but I do think it is a shame especially as they cost £10 each and you can pick up other wooden trains cheaper and this does not happen. They are recommended from 2 years plus but my 18 month old son uses them no problem there are no small pieces and we play trains together so I do not see the harm and they are nice and small so younger children can hold them no problem and both my sons love them. I would recommend these trains even though they are quick to be damaged they still are good to play with and my sons absolutely lovely. They are expensive for what they are but personally do not think you can beat wooden toys much better than a sea of plastic.
Thomas is a cheeky chappy who's always getting into scrapes but also likes to be a 'Really Useful Engine.' Age range: From 2 years.