How to choose a children’s railway., tips for choosing and reviews
Toy railway – a toy that imitates a real railway with many of its attributes. It is equally suitable for both boys and girls. The railway is able to captivate the child for a long time, because playing, he will be able to build his own world. During the game, the baby develops fine motor skills, coordination, ingenuity, imagination and logic.
An example of a railway starter kit
Wagon – a vehicle that is used in conjunction with a locomotive. Passengers and various cargoes are transported in the wagons.
Locomotive – a vehicle designed to pull wagons.
Composition – consists of a locomotive and one (several) wagons.
Starting kit – includes railway train and rails. Over time, such a set can be turned into a large railway network by purchasing additional elements. In this case, it is important that the parts are compatible with each other (usually the manufacturer of the starter kit and elements should be the same).
Important: it is advisable to purchase a set that allows you to create various configurations of the railway track: this will make the game more interesting.
- Toy car for kids
- Electric locomotive
Types of locomotive
Locomotive – driven by a “steam engine”. Sometimes steam locomotives have a smoke simulation function, which makes them more realistic and more fun to play.
Locomotive – driven by an “internal combustion engine”.
Electric locomotive – driven by a “traction motor”.
Types of wagons
Motor – has a “traction engine”, and thus, combines the functions of a locomotive and a wagon. Rarely seen in sets.
Passenger – designed to carry passengers. Available in all sets.
Mail – Used to carry mail. Occurs rarely.
Covered – equipped with a roof and used for the transport of goods. It protects them from adverse weather conditions, damage and theft. Such a wagon is an important part of a full-fledged railway train.
Semi wagon – has no roof and is designed for the carriage of goods that do not require protection from adverse weather conditions. Along with a covered one, such a wagon will come in handy in any railway train.
Platform – used for the transportation of goods of great length that do not require protection from adverse weather conditions. On the platform, you can transport toy cars, construction equipment, such as excavators and more. Included in the cargo-passenger and freight railway trains.
Cistern – Designed for transportation of liquids, liquefied gas. Often found in sets of commercial and industrial railway trains.
Hopper – used for the transportation of bulk cargo (cement, coal). An important component for the construction railway composition. Rarely included in the package.
Tender – attached to the locomotive and serves to transport the fuel it needs. It is found in sets stylized antique.
Toy – a trailer for the smallest, does not have a real prototype or is made without exactly following the original. In such a carriage there are often fairy-tale characters or animals, and he himself can look like a “living” creature – with “eyes” and a “mouth”.
For kids up to 3-4 years simple models will be the best option. A toy for kids, as a rule, is painted in bright colors and does not differ in realism: fairy-tale characters are depicted on the carriages, and the locomotive has a “mouth” and “eyes”. Details in such a railway should not be too small so that the baby cannot swallow them.
Children 5-7 years interested in more complex toys. These sets often include additional elements (trees, towers, figurines, train stations) that expand the player’s options and allow him to simulate various situations. Railway tracks in such toys can have a rather complex design.
children from 7 years sets that accurately replicate real railway tracks and vehicles are suitable. Such sets can include tunnels and bridges, landscape elements, various buildings, locomotives imitating smoke, and the road itself is full of sound and light effects. In addition, it is possible to lower and raise barriers, switch arrows.
Important: sets for children from 7 years old allow you to travel not only in space, but also in time – for this, it is enough to choose a railway stylized as the 19th century.
- Plastic railway for the little ones
- Metal railway with loader
Number of wagons
The more cars, the more diverse the simulated situations and the more interesting the game. In sets for kids, as a rule, there are few wagons (1-3). Older children prefer a large number of wagons in the train.
Important: it is wiser to purchase a starter kit with a minimum number of wagons. Over time, the child will decide what kind of composition he would like to assemble – passenger, commodity or construction.
This parameter indicates the size ratio between the toy and the real prototype. The scale is relevant for exact copies of railway tracks and transport, made in a certain ratio with the size of the originals. The scale indicated on the set, for example H0 1:87, indicates that the real prototype is 87 times larger than the toy.
Manual – the locomotive is set in motion by the hand of the child. Such a “drive” is found in toys for kids who are interested in rolling a train with trailers themselves.
Mechanical – the locomotive is set in motion by means of a winding mechanism (energy of a twisted or compressed spring). Mechanical toys are cheaper and do not rely on batteries, but require physical effort. In addition, such a locomotive will have to be constantly wound up, which is inconvenient.
From batteries – The locomotive is driven by an electric motor powered by batteries. Electric toys require no effort to wind them up, but depend on the condition of the battery.
Off the grid – the locomotive is driven by an electric motor that receives power from the rails. Such a drive is found in elite sets, which differ in the maximum degree of detail.
Control system for locomotives, switches, lighting. It is found in kits that use direct current as a drive.
analog – well suited for a railway train, in which there is one locomotive. If two locomotives are used, they will move at the same speed in the same direction.
Digital – a more complex and interesting control option that allows several locomotives to move in different directions and at different speeds. In addition, digital control makes it possible to turn on and off the lighting in each train individually.
Plastic – a relatively cheap material that can be given any shape and color. On the other hand, locomotives and trains are not very similar to their prototypes and cannot boast of high strength. Plastic sets are most often designed for children 3-4 years old.
Plastic+metal – the combination of two materials allows to achieve a high degree of detail of the railway. Besides, such sets differ in the high durability and long service life. However, they are not cheap either.
Tree – environmentally friendly and durable material, but also quite expensive. Also, the possibilities of the tree do not allow you to create a realistic railway. Wooden sets are well suited even for 2 year olds, as they have large parts that are safe for the baby.
The dimensions of the railway (the length of the locomotive, wagons and canvas) depend on the degree of its detailing and the age of the child. For kids, sets are made that occupy a small space. Older children are more interested in a realistic railway. Accordingly, its size also increases.
The size of the railway should be taken into account if you plan to complete it with your child, buying new parts.
Various effects are used to increase the realism of the game.
Lighting – is created by the light of lanterns, traffic lights, locomotive headlights.
Imitation smoke – produced by a special smoke generator built into the locomotive.
Sound – imitation of the sound of wheels, beeps.
Remote control – allows you to control the railway from a distance, which makes the game more comfortable.
Decorations – various buildings, landscape elements, infrastructure that turn the railway into a whole world. The game becomes more interesting and exciting.
- First of all, you should pay attention to the safety of the toy. The set must be made of non-toxic materials, as can be verified by reviewing the quality certificate.
- Then you need to check the docking of the rails, the stability of the trains, the serviceability of trains, buildings, switches and the complete set.
- Find out if this railroad can be built up by purchasing additional trains, rails, buildings.
You should not buy railways of unknown manufacturers: most often they quickly fail, and there is also a danger of using low-quality materials. This may affect the health of the child.
Good choices are Bambi, Chuggington, Dickie Toys, Kiddieland, Hape, Thomas & Friends. These are durable toys that can withstand even the most active toddlers. In addition, there are a lot of additional parts and components for the railway on sale.
Cheaper options can be models of the Na-Na, TechnoK, Technopark brands, as well as other local manufacturers with production in China. When buying such a railway, you should carefully examine the mounts, switches and other components. It is impossible to say for sure that the quality of these toys is high, but at an affordable price you can choose reliable options.