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Train Set for 2.5 Year Old - Electric or Manual?

I want to get my son a train set for Christmas this year and am trying to choose between electric and manual. My husband thinks the electric will be more fun but I think the manual might spur more creativity on his part... which do you recommend? And do toddlers really like this toy for a long time or are trainsets something that gets old pretty fast? thanks!

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My husband tried electric at that age but the kids really want to touch and push and pick up the trains. Drove hubby nuts. Get something he can play with not watch.

1 mom found this helpful

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My husband tried electric at that age but the kids really want to touch and push and pick up the trains. Drove hubby nuts. Get something he can play with not watch.

1 mom found this helpful

Manual...your 2.5 year old will want to touch the train/push the train etc and will not be a happy camper when you say, no, just look don't touch :-). Electric trains are fun to watch/more fun with an older child I think.

1 mom found this helpful

I would do a manual. Most of the electric ones I have seen are a pretty cheap quality, with plastic tracks that can break very easily, and are not very easy for a 2 yr old to assemble unassisted. They also tend to get derailed very often, meaning that you or your husband will be constantly helping him put it back on the tracks.

When my daughter turned 2 we got her a Thomas the Tank Engine wooden play table and set. She loved it for about 2 years. We had a lot of fun reconfiguring the wooden tracks; it was almost like putting together a puzzle in that we had to try to figure out which size and shape tracks would get from one place to the other with the right 'fit'. It's a very good exercise in creativity and problem-solving, and it was a lot of fun, too! BTW, you can get great used Thomas stuff on eBay; I sold our daughter's set for $800 when she lost all interest in it, and most of it was in mint condition.

It got really old real fast with my grandson...he had the train table and all...I think he was 3 years old then. And for goodness sake...not an electric one!

The electric ones snap apart and break easily and so a 2.5 year old would not be able to play with it himself without breaking it and getting frustrated. Our daughter is 2 and has loved her big brother's old wooden thomas train set since she was about 15 months old. She still loves it. We keep it in a box behind a livingroom chair and she gets it out herself every now and then and we set up the tracks. Every one of her little toddler friends love playing with it. Any toy with time gets old so it is good to put things up for a month and then get it out again later if they are bored with it. I think I remember her brother loved this train set up until the start of Kindergarten...he would make very elaborate tracks in his room with it. Sometime after Kindergarten he stopped playing with it much. PS - He is 7.5 now and is asking for an electric train set for xmas. Many of them say they are good for 8 and up bc they can break easily. They are "model" train sets more than toys is what I've read. We will see how it goes!

My little one will be 3 in April and I'm going with battery operated Thomas and Friends. If it were electric he'd only be able to play with them when I could give him my full attention, not alone. They can be pushed along on their own which I feel WILL spur more creativity on his part.

This helped me:
http://www.thortrains.net/kidtrain.html

We found my son the wooden Thomas set at a craft market last year and that was what he got for Christmas just before he turned two. He loved it and I love that he can put it together how ever he wants and play with it how ever he wants. He still plays with it all the time so I think it was the best choice. Electric trains are neat to look at but at this age they want to touch, take apart and expore things and I just didn't think the electric one would hold his interest as well as hold up to a 2 no almost 3 year old. There are several options for wooden trains out there, we just got lucky and found the Thomas one used but in like new condition for about 1/3 the cost of new.

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