Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Toy Review Tuesday: Thomas the Train Wooden Railway

Not all kids really get into train toys. Matthew did. Our little train engineer will play with this train set for at least 15 minutes - that's relatively longer than other non-electronic toys and non-screen based games. Elizabeth, his assistant train engineer, enjoys it too. The kids started out with the Water Tower Figure 8 set and then inherited a large plastic tub of tracks from older cousins.

They have two battery-operated metal trains - Salty and Percy - and all the other trains are made of wood. Train Engineer Matthew has mastered the art of connecting the interlocking wooden tracks. Matthew is very particular about how the track is set-up and which trains are on it. If we add another train without his approval, he says "Nooooo!" and takes it off the track. Both little engineers always make sure the trains stay on track. The battery-operated trains tend to go off-track if the tracks aren't connected just so. Some reviews online cite this as annoying but I think it's a good way to hold the kids' attention.

I honestly enjoy playing with the train set too. Bill says I seem to enjoy it more than the kids when I help make elaborate railroad lines. It's just so much fun to think of the possible configurations with bridges, tunnels, twists and turns and then watch the battery-operated trains pull the other trains along the track.

Thomas & Friends books on iPad/ iPhone
Matthew, in particular, has been enjoying Thomas the train so much that I have borrowed Thomas & Friends books from the library. We also have all 13 apps on my iPhone and iPad.

The apps are mostly developed by HIT Entertainment and some by Callaway Digital Arts. The HIT Entertainment ones feature an interactive book, a coloring sheets (6 choices), puzzle, and voice recording capability. The Callaway Digital Arts ones feature an interactive book, a matching game, puzzle, coloring sheets (6 choices), and a short video excerpt of the story.

All books are narrated in a British accent. All the stories are quite lengthy (and wordy) and don't hold Matthew's attention. So I usually disable the British narration and make up a shortened story as we manually swipe through the book.

By HIT Entertainment:
Down at the Docks
Thomas and Toby
Thomas Gets a Snowplow
Thomas and the Castle
Thomas Gets His Own Branch Line
May the Best Engine Win!
Calling All Engines
Thomas-saurus Rex
The Special Delivery

By Callaway Digital Arts:
Misty Island Rescue
Day of the Diesels
Engine Activities
Hero of the Rails


Jess said...

My son just turned 4 and LOVES trains! So of course, Thomas the Train is a huge hit in our house as well! But it's good for Ciena to play too because I think it helps with her fine motor skills. Our newest train sets has a bridge that falls really easily if you're not really careful.

Angie Willey said...

We tried a train at Christmas but Ben really did not get into it. He does like the one at school. Had not thought about getting any Thomas apps. Good idea.