Children love trains. Whether it be Thomas, Chuggington, or their own variation, no child can resist sitting down, connecting track, and sliding miniature trains along the rails, making trains a long-standing staple of childhood play.
Imaginarium train tables have long been synonymous with wooden train tracks and imaginative play. Train tables offer a solid surface for building, storage and contain playtime in a confined space. Train tables also provide many developmental benefits.
Best Imaginarium Train Table Reviews
The Imaginarium tables of the good ole days may not be as easy to find, but there are plenty of manufacturers who make tables that are just as delightful. Here is a selection of great tables for you to check out!
Little Tikes Real Wooden Train Table Set
The Little Tikes wooden train table set has a rolling storage drawer for easy cleanup and a place for the included 80 pieces to call home when playtime is complete. The set comes with wooden train tracks, figures, rings, bridges, and of course, trains. The table is 30” by 25” and just over a foot high, giving your child plenty of room to play with a sibling or a friend while being small enough not to take up too much space.
The table offers your child the choice of a city background or a country background, giving them a chance to explore their imagination with various play scenarios. The figures included range from a police officer to a construction worker, a man, and a woman. After your child sets up the tracks, they can build buildings, add lamp posts, bridges, and trees.
- Rolling storage drawer helps you keep track of the pieces
- Includes a variety of 80 pieces
- Has two different backgrounds to choose from
- Sturdy table construction
- May be challenging to put together
- The table may be too short for taller children
Hey! Play! Hand Painted Wooden Train Set
The hand-painted wooded set from Hey! Play! comes with 75 pieces total, 27 of them being tracks. The collection is 100 percent wooden with no need for batteries or special tools. The painted on scene includes a beach and roadways set over a rolling green backdrop. Build up bridges over the water so your boats can float under the tracks as the train whizzes over the top of them. A gas station is at the ready to refuel your child’s cars to keep them zooming on the roadways alongside the busy trains.
Place houses and trees along the way, and a helicopter is ready to do any flyover track checks. People, lamp posts, railway crossings, and stops signs are all included to continue to enhance your child’s imaginative play. The table’s top separates to move playtime to the floor or another room and can flip from the street scene to a plain background. The table measures 23” by 32” and is just under 16” tall.
- Tracks are smooth for safety
- Comes with cars for the roads and trains for the tracks
- The play surface is moveable for floor or table play
- Set is hand-painted for a unique, high-quality look
- The manufacturer recommends the set for four years and up
- Track pieces do not tightly connect
KidKraft Metropolis Wooden Train Set
The KidKraft wooden table set takes the train experience to the next level. It is an urban backdrop with 100 included pieces for hours of play. A large mountain and suspension bridge provides your child with multi-level fun as the train rolls down into the lower cityscape.
The track itself stays elevated above the road and waterways allowing the cars to zoom around uninterrupted underneath. Cars can also fly through the mountains tunnel over to the water scene.
The set offers a choice of where houses can go, and your child has people, trees, boats, and roadway signage to accent their playtime. A helicopter stays at the ready on its mountain perch, waiting to swoop in and save the day.
The entire playset can be broken down and put away in the rolling storage drawer beneath the table at the end of the day, so your little one isn’t tempted to play instead of sleep! This colorful set has a footprint of around 47” by 33” and is just under 27” tall.
- The complete set fits into the storage drawer
- No batteries needed
- 100 pieces included for a large variety of play
- The solid table is not easy for a little one to move
- The table weighs a lot and can be difficult for one person to move
- Complicated setup and can take some time, and patience
Hape Railway Train Set
The Hape railway set is a wooden construction with an interior storage compartment. Your little one can reach inside to access the pieces they need for their master railway, or the top of the table can come off the grab all the parts at once.
The set comes with 70 total pieces, including track, trees, cars, railway signage, and a magnetic crane. This set’s locomotive takes two AA batteries, allowing your child to watch it zoom around the track after they finish creating it. As it continues to zoom around, your child can play with the construction trucks and people. The table measure in at 31” by 23” and is just under a foot tall.
- Internal storage
- Easy to assemble pieces
- Compatible with other track sets
- Provides multi-level play
- Has only one backdrop
- Locomotive requires batteries
Step2 Deluxe Canyon Train & Track Table
Step2 makes many fantastic toys for children, and their train table is no exception. The plastic construction table is inset to allow play to be contained in the table instead of on top. The pieces are molded into place, so you will never have to worry about putting the track pieces back in the right order without instructions. It comes with a three-piece train that your little one can zoom in and out of the tunnels.
The table has a lid converting it quickly into a coloring or snack table. The cover also makes for easy storage, ensuring nothing will fall out. Place the included stickers on the table, and it is ready for play!
Fisher-Price Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway, Island of Sodor Playtable
If you have already delved deep into the land of wooden trains and tracks and are now considering a train table to lend some order to train play, the Fisher-Price Thomas and Friends table comes as a plain table waiting for your child’s imagination.
The table has a two-sided play board for a variety of play complete with all the iconic scenes from Thomas that will be sure to delight your little conductor. The tables edging will keep the tracks and trains on the table and off the floor. The table is 5.5’ by 53.5” and stands 18.5” tall. The table is easy for you to assemble with some screws and a few stickers. It is to keep your little Thomas fan happy.
- Easy to put together
- Great for households with pre-existing tracks
- Compatible with a variety of train sets
- Rail on the bottom can house some trains
- No large storage for trains and accessories
- Incredibly light and would provide no support if your child climbed up on it
Benefits of an Imaginarium Train Table
Wheels rolling down tracks, winding around the table through tiny tunnels, are trademark parts of a child playing with Imaginarium train tables. Train tables have bright colors for your child to look at and fantastic scenery to explore and play pretend.
Your little conductor can imagine they are in the country saving a princess from a dragon via train or a princess riding the railway in search of a kingdom to call her own. Aside from hours of endless fun, train tables provide many developmental benefits for your child.
Like many of the skills, your child learns as a baby and as a toddler, learning hand-eye coordination will carry them throughout their entire lives. Toddlers begin to fine-tune their grasp between 12-15 months. Stacking and connecting objects can help further develop their hands and the use of their thumb and fore-fingers. Placing objects inside one another, such as track pieces, also helps to develop this skill.
At 15- 23 months, these skills continue to increase to a more finite degree, leading to more complicated tasks such as stacking and placing smaller objects like the train’s wheels onto the tracks.
Fine Motor Skills
Fine motor skills are essential to foster when your child is young and continues expanding as they get older. Growing these skills leads to more independence as your child moves through their developmental stages. Your child will help increase their fine motor skills by playing with objects on their train set, whether it be with the trains themselves or the decorations on the train table.
The development of these skills leads to the ability to create more massive stacks of blocks, draw and color more precisely, and even begin to write as they become preschoolers. Fine motor skills also help your toddler develop the skills to use safety scissors to do art projects and cut shapes.
Learning the order of things is an incredibly important skill for a toddler to learn. With train tables, your toddler learns what order to put the tracks in to achieve their desired result. If they want to go straight for a long time, they need to attach the straight track pieces, and if they wish to have lots of twists and turns, your child can use a sequence of curved pieces.
The trains themselves also help with learning to put things in order. Your child will see that the engine goes in front, and the caboose goes in the rear. They will also begin to understand which pieces fit best in between the line of track. They can create their own patterns.
Learning to sequence helps your child to begin to see patterns. This ability to see patterns helps your child develop the ability to comprehend what they see around them. As they grow and begin to read, this skill allows them to understand the words they are reading and the storyline.
With anything new, your child learns the words that go along with it. The names associated with tracks, trains, and decor may not be words that would appear in everyday conversations. While your child is playing with their train table, they learn new words every day.
Teaches Problem Solving
We have all been there—the innate frustration of magnets not connecting correctly together. With trains, children learn to attach the tracks the correct way to ensure their trains will go the direction they want them to. If the trains are magnetic, your child will learn to overcome the frustration of figuring out which direction the magnets attach to connect the trains to one another.
Nurturing problem-solving skills helps your child harness leadership skills later in their lives. It also helps them learn to survive in life. Problems occur naturally all around us on a day to day basis. Learning how to come up with solutions from a young age will help your child navigate through life.
Build Social Skills
Train tables are large enough to allow for multiple children to play all at the same time. Children playing together gives them a chance to learn how to share and adequately communicate with one another. Increased communication is one of the main reasons you see train tables in daycares and preschools. The ability to share and play nicely with one another is a skill that lasts for a lifetime.
Allows for Guided Play
Having one-on-one time to play with your child is one of the pure joys of parenthood. Playing together also gives you the opportunity for guided play. Guided play is led by your child but has the added benefit of your input and mentorship, increasing your child’s learning.
Guided play allows your child to be creative and use their imagination. You can guide their play to help your toddler learn more about the trains, tracks, and other moveable pieces that the table may have to offer.
How to Pick the Best Train Table Set
While the original Imaginarium train table sets may only exist on eBay and in our fondest childhood memories, many manufacturers have stepped up to make a similar table for the current generation of kiddos to enjoy. There is a wide variety of options available. Each has its pluses and minuses. Here are some features to consider while you are looking at train tables.
Children start to become interested in building and creative play closer to the age of 2-years old. As with anything, this depends on your child. Some may show interest as early as 15-18 months, while others will not be interested until closer to 3 years old.
Tables that come with train and track sets also have the potential of having small pieces. These smaller pieces could pose a potential choking hazard for your child. You should assess your child’s readiness before your table search begins. Tables that come with marbles and other small pieces are better for children 3-years old and up.
If you are buying for your 18 months to 2 years old, you can also remove all the smaller pieces that may be of concern and add them back in when your child is older and less likely to place the pieces in their mouths.
Table Dimensions and Weight
Tables are generally rectangular and measure somewhere around 30” by 40”. Size can vary slightly by manufacturer. The tables will take up a bit of space either in your child’s bedroom, your front room, or a playroom. The table is generally under 18” tall, making it the perfect height for your little one to play with easily.
Weight can vary depending on storage, features, and the type of wood. On average, train tables can weigh as much as 80 pounds, especially if they have a complete set of drawers for storage. Storage free train tables can weigh as little as 5 pounds, though most are between 20-35 pounds.
Train sets come with many different pieces from tracks, to the trains themselves. It will be easier for you and your toddler if the table itself has a built-in place to store everything. Some tables have drawers that run the table’s full length, while others have bins on the sides to place unused track or trains in.
Storage can help your child categorize their pieces and keep track of what they are using. It can be especially helpful if your child gets overwhelmed with too much clutter, allowing you to keep out a few pieces to work with and pull out more as needed.
Some train tables come plain jane with just a table and nothing else. Others come with 80-100 pieces for your child to enjoy. This feature all depends on what you already have at home. Some kids may have their parents’ old sets of wooden trains and track from their Imaginarium train tables. Others may have beloved Thomas the train or Chuggington sets, and they just need a table to set them up on.
If you are starting from scratch, a fully loaded table with all the accessories may be the answer. An Imaginarium mountain rock table or classic wooden table can have all the fun your child needs with track and trains to delight for hours. Other models have bridges and shoots, and some even have marbles to extend the imagination and play.
How to Setup an Imaginarium Train Table
Even though train sets come with instructions, they may not be as straight forward as you would hope. Often instructions can be tricky. Diagrams can be hard to decipher, and the tools provided may not work well for you as an individual. Assembling your children’s toys can often lead to frustration and the need to employ some of your own problem-solving skills. Having your child there asking you if it is ready yet, or trying to play with the table while you are trying to assemble it, generally only ads to the frustration.
Your train table arrives in a box, with its manual/ instructions, parts, and screws. Sometimes it will come with an Allen wrench or a small screwdriver depending on the manufacturer. You will likely only need to attach the legs to the tabletop. If your table comes with a drawer or two, you will slide those in as well.
As far as the track goes, it will depend on your set, whether you have bridges, a mountain, or a simple track with lots of twists and turns. Your Imaginarium train table set should come with a diagram for this as well. It will guide you on the preset way to set up the track, so you use all the pieces, and they all fit on the table as intended.
Even if your child takes the track all apart and you did not save the configuration instruction, there are many Imaginarium train table diagrams available online, especially on Pinterest. It may be just as fun for older toddlers to create their own layout with the track and choose their own adventure. Your toddler choosing this route only increases their level of involvement with the train track and helps to improve their motor and problem-solving skills.
Manufacturers create train tables with little ones in mind. Most even take into consideration multi sibling houses and are at least a foot off the floor. Some train tables have edging or lips. These prevent anything from being grabbed off the table or sliding off while during play. Even though train tables seem relatively straightforward and safe, they can have a few different safety concerns.
Small parts can be choking hazards. Most train table manufacturers recommend them for ages three and above, especially for that reason. Small pieces that are deemed hazardous should be removed from the set and only put back in when you believe your child is old enough not to put the toys in their mouths.
The table itself needs to be a sturdy one. Many toddlers are prone to climbing on tables. Some models may not support the weight of a wiggly toddler trying to climb aboard. Look for tables with strong legs and plenty of support for the tabletop. Your toddler can quickly push a lighter table, creating a fall hazard for them and a possible scratch hazard for your floor.
Also, take a look at the corners of the table to see how the edges meet. Toddlers are not the most graceful creatures and can get a little klutzy. Edges of tables are prime places to get scrapes, cuts, and owies. While you cannot save them from this entirely, rounded edges are safer for little ones and can decrease the chances of unnecessary boo-boos.
The final safety feature to look at is the wood and paint used for the train tabletop and the trains. Many manufacturers are very aware of concerns around paint and choose non-toxic kid-safe paints for that occasion when your child decided to see if the train may be tasty or not.
The processing of the wood is also a consideration. Non-toxic processing of the wood used for the table as a whole is safer for your child. Since they handle the wooden track and play for an extended period, you want to limit unnecessary chemical exposure. Many of the manufacturers will use a high-temperature, high-pressure washing system to avoid the use of chemicals. Those who do will proudly tell you in their product descriptions.
There is no doubt that trains are an essential part of childhood play. Train tables help keep life a little more organized while your child has fun creating. Train tables grow with your child as well. Many children start playing with the tables at 2-3 years old and keep playing until 7 or 8.
Choosing a table that is best for your child’s playing style and your space will be necessary. If your child is easily frustrated by loose track, it will deter them from their play. In that case, a modeled option will be best. If your child leans more toward creative playing and would prefer to build their own twists and turns, a freestyle table will be better suited to their tastes.
Whether your child is playing with a friend, on their own, or having some guided playtime with you, they are sure to have a great time.
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