Pick of the Day: Learning Curve’s Thomas and Friends New Talking Train Set

I’m pretty old school when it comes to wooden trains.  Having watch kids play with trains sets for a long time, they usually don’t need a lot of bells and whistles.  Several years ago (before all the lead issues), train makers were looking for ways to compete with all the electronic toys–so there were lots of  trains with lights and sounds.  They were ok, but truth be told if you have a child really in the train zone they provide their own scenarios and excitement.  So I was pretty skeptical when Learning Curve announced voice recognition technology for their new set, Thomas and Friends Wooden Railway-The Great Discovery Set.  I have to say–it is pretty amazing.  Sir Topham Hatt greets the trains by name as they go through the station…how does he know?  While one of our testers was amused (not amazed) with this aspect of the toy, what I loved was that he continued to play with the setting in a very traditional manner.  The technology did not take over the play experience–it enhanced the play possibilities.

Trains are a wonderful puzzle–which is why I do not recommend gluing down tracks or being wed to a train table.  Train tracks can take all different turns — I’ve also observed that 4 year olds are better at making train tracks work than most adults.  Watch your child as they work out how to make the tracks connect–it’s really one of those moments to enjoy.

This 35 piece set comes with enough for making a figure eight, the Great Waterton Station, Morgan’s Mine, Thomas and Stanley.  The trains and accessories are sold separately so you can them to your existing trains.  The sound levels are set very high when you demo them in the box–the good news, you can turn down the volume.   With BRIO all but gone from the US market–it’s nice to see Thomas the Tank back with all engines a go.


3 Responses to Pick of the Day: Learning Curve’s Thomas and Friends New Talking Train Set

  1. We don’t have this fancy new set, but my 4 1/2 year old is really starting to impress me with his Learning Curve train track design skills!
    If only he would let his little brother play along…

  2. toyportfolio says:

    Yes! That’s a totally different issue!

  3. Isabella Bertelli says:

    No way in the world would I consider buying learning curve’s (RC2 corp)Thomas trains or any oftheir other products People forget, they had one of the largest recalls of toys trains for lead paints in 07. and has still had products which have had recalls. I avoid the train issues by buying from Whittle Shortlin Railroad. Thier products are made here in the USA by a family owned and operated business. I got my son the “Little Engine That Could”, an Amtrak and a BNSF train. These toys are hairloom quality and lead free.

    I guess if one really needs “Thomas”, Lego makes Duplos sets and are known to be a safe choice in toy selection. Just my 2 cents.

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