About Toy Reviews @ BeTwinned
by Jane Day Rasmussen
Photo from Amazon.com
Name: Thomas & Friends Conductor’s Figure 8 Set
Manufacturer: Learning Curve
Manufacturerâ€™s Suggested Age Range: 3 years and up
Our tested age range: 1 year and up
Learning Components: Motor Skills, Independent Play
Price Value/Honeys: (what are Honeys?)
My best friend gave my son, Jake, this Thomas & Friends Conductorâ€™s Figure 8 Set for his first birthday. Thinking Jake was a little young for the concept, I tucked the present away for a rainy day (hint: a practice Iâ€™ve continued so new presents miraculously appear throughout the year, and not just at birthdays and the holidays).
What can I say? When we opened the box several months later, it was love at first sight. My son hasnâ€™t been seen without a train in his grip since. This set is a great introductory set for the soon-to-be Thomas enthusiast â€“ or, all you will need to have a great set of trains for your non eat-drink-sleep train guy or gal. I have since given this gift many times over and was thrilled when my twin nieces loved this gift on their second birthday.
The set includes a stone bridge, conductor’s shed, tree, stop sign, signal, Sir Topham Hatt, wooden track, and wooden Thomas, boxcar and caboose. If you are buying this for multiples, I would recommend purchasing some extra trains for more fun â€“ especially if your multiples will need to play with Thomas at the same time.
The quality of the toys is exceptional â€“ the wooden track and trains are nearly indestructible. The track goes together (and stays together) easily, so even the littlest of engineers can maneuver and create their own railroad.
My son loved pushing the trains on the track when he was one year old and now loves to act out the storylines in the videos at the age of three. The twins take turns with the track design â€“ one loves to make circles and the other loves more intricate layouts. Both must have Thomas in their sight, although they are content sharing twin trains Bill and Ben.
Of course, there are tons of accessories to go with the wooden Thomas railway system – visit www.learningcurve.com for the complete list. I will admit, the Thomas craze can get expensive; that is why I only gave it three honey pots out of four.
If you have an A.C. Moore in your area, they have great 20 percent off sales on Thomas stuff pretty regularly, and look out for videos that have a train inside â€“ a great money saver. Iâ€™ve also gotten some cool trains and sheds on E-bay. PBS airs Thomas in our area every Sunday morning â€“ so we can get a regular Thomas fix.
There are also other great Thomas products that are not compatible with the wooden railway system â€“ Thomas Take Along (smaller, plastic track, and less expensive version of a great theme) and a battery-operated set that runs a blue plastic track made by Tomy. My son and twin nieces love these as well.
This set has won several parenting awards, and Iâ€™d be remiss not to mention them:
In 2003 – Scholastic Parent & Child Magazine, Teachers’ Picks “Top 10 Toys of the Last 10 Years”; and in 2002 it won the prestigious Parents’ Choice Award. A similar item, the Water Tower Figure 8 set won the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio, Gold Seal in 2004.
Overall, an excellent toy choice and guaranteed to pay for itself with hours and hours of fun. All aboard!