Tag Archives: 2013 gift guide

Bring the magic of the railroad home to your child with affordable train sets!

Thomas&FriendsSets

 

Trains have been one of the biggest fascinations of little boys for centuries.  This holiday season, Fisher Price is bringing the magic of the railroad home with fun sets at affordable prices.   Two standalone sets available this year really stand out as great gifts for toddlers and young children alike.  

 

Thomas&FriendsOrnamentCastleQuest

 

First is the Thomas & Friends TrackMaster Castle Quest Set.  This is a plastic TrackMaster set, and is based on a Thomas & Friends movie, “King of the Railway.”  Just like in the movie, there are obstacles that the train will have to overcome on its journey to the end of the track!  Don’t worry – the obstacles are simply “close calls,” and your child does not have to do anything but have fun.  For example, when the battery-powered train gets to a missing section of track, a piece of track swivels into place just in time!  The set includes the entire track setup, five ‘close call’ obstacles, a motorized TrackMaster Thomas the Train engine, and an attachable cargo car.  Get a copy of King of the Railway and let your little engineer save the day right along with Thomas!  You can also find Thomas ornaments to incorporate your child’s favorite character into your Christmas decorating!  

 

ThomasFriendsAllAroundSodor

 

The second set is much a much simpler design, great if you don’t have much space available for a train set.  Thomas & Friends All Around Sodor features a simple figure eight, with a bridge, small station, and a small Cranky the Crane loading area.  Like the TrackMaster set, this includes a motorized Thomas the Train engine and a cargo car.  There are buttons on the roof of this Thomas, allowing your child to press Stop, Go, or a button for each of the three locations mentioned above.  Pushing one of the location buttons makes Thomas go to that spot and stop, talking to his friends at the station along the way.  His eyes and mouth even move as he is talking!  My older son noticed this and thought it was hilarious to see the train talking.  Once he learned how to make the train go and stop, it became his new obsession.  He really enjoyed discovering that the train works and moved even off the track, so he was able to use it on his play mat or at the table where his little brother couldn’t reach!  Since this set features less pieces than most train sets, it is easy to set up and put away in just a few minutes.  

ThomasSodorTrainSet

 

Both of these sets felt quite sturdy, but both do include small pieces such as the wheels of the trains, which pose a choking hazard for small children.  They’re recommended for ages three and up.  Our older son is two and he has no interest in putting things in his mouth, but we do have to keep these sets away from our one year old, who is likely to chew a wheel off.  He does enjoy getting ahold of a piece of track to smack around or stick in his mouth though, so he still has fun while his big brother plays! 

If you have a little engineer or Thomas & Friends lover to shop for this Christmas, check out Fisher Price!  With a variety of sets, tracks, and even individual train cars at every price range, there’s something for everyone!  If you are looking to include Thomas & Friends around the house, you can find cute Christmas decor,  rain boots, even toothbrushes and toothpaste!  

 

 

2013 Holiday Gift Guide

Thomas & Friends was chosen to be included in our 2013 Holiday Gift Guide!  Are you looking for that perfect gift?  Check out the gifts on our list and you might find just what you were looking for! 

 

Family Centsability was not monetarily compensated for this post. A product sample was provided in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are our own.

KidKraft Farm Train Set Review

KidKraftFarmTrain

 

Ready to make your train lover happy?  The KidKraft Farm Train Set might be just what you are looking for the holidays this year!  My sons both love trains.  We can see and hear the train from our house, and they are fascinated, but they don’t care whether it’s Thomas or Chuggington or anyone else, as long as it’s a choo choo train!  The Farm Train Set is perfect, being durable, affordable, and entertaining for multiple ages.

This set is made of wooden track pieces, small figures and buildings, and train cars – a total of 75 pieces to keep your little ones busy.  Kids decide they love Thomas?  The KidKraft track is compatible with Thomas & Friends and Brio wooden train sets, too!  Our oldest has endless fun with the recognizable landmarks, such as a waterfall, barn, pond, windmill and various animals he identifies for us.  None of these pieces are attached to the track, so if your little one is not ready for small pieces yet, you can simply put those away and bring them out as the children grow and are ready for new adventures. 

 

KidKraftFarmTrainSet

 

The first time we saw a set like this was at our Toys R Us store, all set up on an activity table with trains and accessories galore.  We let our oldest son get down and play with it, and his first tantrum and attempt to run off was when we told him it was time to go.  I know, that doesn’t sound like a good thing, and he didn’t get to take any of it home that day.  But it did show us that he was incredibly interested in the wooden train sets, since it was the first thing he was so passionate about. 

The excitement was even stronger when he finally had his own set at home, and he loves knowing that once in a while, if he is good and helps Mommy and Daddy, he can add to his set with a small and inexpensive train car addition – compatible trains are sold at almost any major retailer!  It’s a great way to save money but also teach him about earning rewards and making careful selections. 

For a wooden train set, it’s hard to beat the quality and price of the KidKraft line.  A gift like this will last your little conductor for years to come, and could be just the start of a fun and educational collection!

 

Connect with KidKraft

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2013 Holiday Gift Guide

KidKraft was chosen to be included in our 2013 Holiday Gift Guide!  Are you looking for that perfect gift?  Check out the gifts on our list and you might find just what you were looking for! 

 

Family Centsability was not monetarily compensated for this post. A product sample was provided in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are our own.

Prince Lionheart playMAT Plus Review

 PrinceLionHeartPlayMatPlusReview

 

With two kids aged two and under in the house, we have been looking for a play mat with roads on it to encourage pretend play with their cars.  Our playroom isn’t ready yet, so we needed something light and easy to move around, but durable and able to hold up to two very active kids.  We found our bright and colorful mat in the Prince Lionheart playMAT Plus.

The playMAT Plus is a light weight, sturdy, and cushioned playmat.  Measuring five feet eight inches by five feet, it is a great size because it does not take up the entire play area.  The mat feels like it is made of a rubbery foam core with a sturdy nylon exterior, but the materials are not listed on the packaging or labels, so I’m not positive what it is actually made with, though it is labeled as non-toxic.  It is water-resistant and cleanable by wiping or using a small amount of water and dish soap.  That takes a lot of the worry out of the equation – you don’t have to worry whether the mat will last through spills or spit up, and the soft core provides cushion for falls.

 

PrinceLionHeartPlayMatPlusPictures

 

Now for the fun part: each mat is double sided.  All mats have a city laid out with streets, trees, cars, people, and buildings, making it a fun place to ‘drive’ their little cars around.  There are currently three options for the opposite side.  The first is an ocean view, with fish, sharks, a whale, octopus, and a ship and sailboat on the surface.  There are plenty of colorful and fun looking items to look at, and the variety means you can teach your child to recognize, find, and name each animal.

The second option is an ABC mat.  This design is split into blocks for each letter of the alphabet.  Each block is a different color, and has a letter of the alphabet inside.  A fun depiction of an animal matching the letter is in the box, all with alliterative names like “Army Ant” and “King Kangaroo.”

The third option is the mat I chose, the farm landscape.  This design has an entire farm, including fields, animals, barns, windmills, people, and tools.  I chose this one because it seemed the most bright and colorful, which is great for my youngest who just turned one.  His older brother loves naming all the animals, telling us what noises they make, and making his cars drive around on the farm too! 

Both kids love playing on the mat, and they go back and forth flipping it over so they can play on each side.  There are only a couple things of note to mention: first, the mat is very lightweight.  This is a good thing, but it means that even my youngest can flip it over and drag it around – it doesn’t stay put.  Second, it comes rolled up in a sleeve, meaning the ends will roll up when you first put it on the floor.  I found that if you take it out, roll it the opposite direction, and put it back in the sleeve for a while, it will stop rolling up as much.  This step is important because when it rolls up, the kids tripped over it constantly while playing.

Overall I am glad we went with the playMAT Plus from Prince Lionheart, and our kids are definitely happy with it.   This will make the perfect gift for anyone who needs a soft play mat for a new baby, a fun mat for toddlers, or even a lightweight and versatile picnic mat for the park!  

 

Connect with Prince Lionheart

Website |  Facebook  |  Pinterest

 

2013 Holiday Gift Guide

Prince Lionheart was chosen to be included in our 2013 Holiday Gift Guide!  Are you looking for that perfect gift?  Check out the gifts on our list and you might find just what you were looking for! 

 

Family Centsability was not monetarily compensated for this post. A product sample was provided in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are our own.

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