Train for a 4 Year Old Girl

Updated on December 08, 2011
B.C. asks from Arlington, TX
8 answers

My DD is 4 and has asked Santa for a toy train. I'm thinking that she wants the ones like we have at church which are the wooden tracks with wooden/magnetic trains.
Hubby thinks we should get her an electric train, but I think she's too young and since I watch kids in my home, I'm afraid it will get broken.
Do you have a set you love and that's not very expensive? She dropped this on us after we'd spent most of our limit... Lol.

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answers from Milwaukee on

Depends on the size of the electric train, there are some that are larger and I would say is fine for a kid (they usually are plastic and track is a littler smaller then a piece of bread). I would not get the smaller size ones because they are easier to break since they will have real metal, small parts and easier mess up if holding/playing with.

The wooden ones are nice but at age 5 1/2 my daughter has out grown it and we are already thinking of getting an electric one for around the Christmas tree this year or next year. She first got the wooden train, tracks & table when she was 2 years old so she has had it for 3 1/2 years now, soon it will be passed on to her new cousin this summer.

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answers from Minneapolis on

Definitely get the wooden train set. A kid this young will get frustrated with a real train set, mostly because it has to stay on the track, and can not be played with freestyle elsewhere.

I really like the Lionel sets. They're fascinating. But, while the costs are comprable, a real train set has intricate pieces that may pose to be a choking hazzard. There is also a concern about electricity. Is she responsible enough to handle a fuse box? Most sophistocated train sets use these, and the track must also be mounted to a wooden panel as well.

Sounds like dad wants a present too. ;) Why not get both? He could be in charge of the big boy set, and make it a daddy-daughter project that she grows into over the years. But make her everyday go-to set the wooden kind.

As the mom of a house full of train crazy boys and men, I highly recommend the Thomas the Tank engine wooden sets. They're sturdy. They have both girl and boy train characters, they're portable, can take a licking, and are collectible if their cost is alarming to you. They hold their value if you choose to part with them and sell them on Ebay. If you don't, they're heirloom quality and will make some future grandchildren very happy if they are stored properly and well cared for once the kids outgrow them.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Check craigslist/ebay and I would go with the wooden one, absolutely!



answers from Albuquerque on

My four and a half year old twin girls LOVE LOVE LOVE their wooden trains. They spend whole afternoons making elaborate track set ups with their dad. They don't push the trains around all that much, but setting up the tracks and bridges is a lot of fun. I do agree with everyone that it's worth looking on Craigslist to see if anyone is selling a gently used set.

I don't think she's old enough at 4 for an electric train set (at least mine aren't!).



answers from Madison on

There used to be a Precious Moments train that would be cool and neat for a girl (I'm thinking the pastel colors and the animals, etc.), but I think it might be maybe a little too expensive, plus most people think of these as collectors and not as an everyday play train. I'm not even sure if they're still available. I'm also thinking this is probably one that runs on electricity. You might want to check, though, and see if that is an option.

There is Thomas the Train. My daughter had a small Thomas set when she was younger and really, really liked it. (It's a wooden track with magnetic trains that you pull around and play with) I believe they even have "girl" trains now that you can get. I didn't think the train set was too expensive, and she played with it quite a bit.



answers from Los Angeles on

For a 4 year old, I am sure she wants the wooden tracks that you piece together in all sorts of different arrangements, and the magnetic trains you connect.

This was my question a couple years ago. Since it was our "big" christmas gift, we got the train table they sell at toysRus with all the pieces. I think they also sell one at Costco. If you want to go smaller, you can find some small "starter" sets at Target. We have another pretty simple one from there that is just enough pieces to make a figure-8 and some people and buildings to go along.

I found the Thomas stuff to be too expensive but I splurged on a couple of the trains (Thomas and Rosie are just too cute!) all wooden train set brands seem to be compatible so it worked.



answers from Pittsburgh on

My son had outgrown his wooden trains and tracks before he was four (since then he has taken them out maybe 3 times a year). We did the Brio ones - they are not covered in characters and really trains are/should be a completely gender neutral thing. If my son were still into trains at 4, we would have looked into the electric ones but IMO - 4 is a kind of in between age in the train world. Ebay is a good place for Brio and Thomas trains (both new and used), the Ikea tracks fit both Brio and Thomas and the Brio and Thomas work on the same scale. Brio is cheaper and IMO as well if not better made.



answers from Dallas on

Ikea makes a great inexpensive set that is 4 year old appropriate.

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