10 Best Thomas and Friends Toys & Trains Reviewed in 2019
The first Thomas the Train toy was released in 1945. New toys are still being released today as kids love him just as much as they did back then. If your child is enamored by the heroic tales of Thomas and his friends, we got several toys that are sure to put a smile on your little one’s face. In fact, we created a list of the ten best Thomas and Friends toys on the market. Little fans will love the fun factor each toy brings while parents will appreciate the developmental benefits.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 14 hrs of research
Compatible with other Thomas Toys
Legs are designed to hold up to 100 engines
Can be setup to fit any space
Includes Thomas and four friends
- Fisher-Price Super Station
- My Red Railway Book Box
- Fisher-Price Wooden Railway
- Fisher-Price My First Thomas
- Jay Franco Plush Pillow Buddy
- Happy Birthday, Thomas!
- Step2 Up and Down Roller Coaster
- Fisher-Price Wooden Railway Harold
- Schylling Mini Lantern
- Fisher-Price TrackMaster Stepstool
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
10 Best Thomas and Friends Toys & Trains Reviewed
1. Fisher-Price Super Station
Compatible with other Thomas Toys
Legs are designed to hold up to 100 engines
Can be setup to fit any space
Includes Thomas and four friends
Some reviewers have an issue with Thomas flying off the track
The Thomas & Friends Super Station provides your child with three levels of imaginative play. This station is great for children with a collection of Thomas toys as it is designed to be compatible with all of the Thomas toys currently on the market. In fact, the set includes Thomas from the TrackMaster series, Percy from the Thomas & friends adventures series, and James from the Minis line.Read more
Harold the helicopter is also included to provide your child with a little extra fun. The size of your house or child’s room is not an issue because this super station can be set up in a variety of different ways to fit any space.
The working crane, helipad, and operating turntable for the trains are just a few of the features that will your child’s imaginative play. Your child’s fine motor skills will increase as they grasp the engines and send them soaring down the tracks.
Your child is encouraged to use their creativity and build the station how they want. The legs of the stations are equipped with cargo bins and tunnels, thus providing them with the ability to hold up to 100 engines.
2. My Red Railway Book Box
Holds a collection of books in an easy to carry case.
Promotes reading at home or on the go.
Comes with 4 child-friendly books.
Box has sturdy handles and velcro closure.
The case is not a real lunchbox, but it is still a nifty case the books can be housed in.
The velcro on the box is difficult to open; this is strong and tough velcro.
This set includes 4 popular Thomas books: Go, Train Go!; Stop, Train, Stop!; A Crack in the Track!; and Blue Train, Green Train.Read more
They are all board book and they are 5.5’ x 4”. These books were inspired by the Bright and Early Series Collection like ‘Go, Dog Go!’. Kids 1-4 years are perfectly intrigued by this series, but kids as young as 9 months old have been known to enjoy the stories too.
Parents can read their kid's bedtime stories from these books. Kids can use these books to practice learning how to read quietly and aloud. The stories are fun, engaging and definitely age appropriate. This set can also be taken out on picnics and enjoy reading time with the family.
This is a great way to spend time with the family and teach valuable skills like reading. It is entertaining for all ages.
3. Fisher-Price Wooden Railway
Its small size of 5” makes this train easy to take along on trips.
Kids can play with this toy any time of the year because it is always someone's unbirthday.
The batteries the cake needs is included, it requires 2 AG-13 batteries.
Kids will play more with their toy than be interested in their own birthday cake.
This engine’s cake only plays one song.
Now Thomas can be a part of the party by bringing their buddy a yellow birthday cake. Thomas can be added as a cake topper or he can be one of the gifts.Read more
This engine plays the Thomas and Friends theme song and he works on wooden railway tracks. This Thomas can pair up with Rosie and go on all sorts of adventures together. They have easy to use magnets that help the trains stay together while moving around the tracks.
Thomas also connects to his musical birthday cake car with magnets so there is nowhere for little fingers to get pinched. The best part is that this birthday train fits and helps expand any Thomas and Friends wooden rail set.
This compact engine is perfect for families on the go or at home. Little ones love taking this train with them everywhere and reenacting episodes.
4. Fisher-Price My First Thomas
The designs are permanent, they are not decorations that can peel off.
The toy is well made and durable, there is a good reason why they call this toy ‘My First’.
It is made from 100% plastic.
It can roll almost anywhere in the house, it travels fine on hardwood floors.
Instead of magnets, the cars connect with a plastic hook.
This is a Thomas engine that is large-scale. It can be moved around by its wheels and makes a whistle sound by the push of a button located on top of his head.Read more
The colors and detail make this Thomas look just the one on T.V. This engine also comes with a removable cargo car and two pieces of cargo. One is green and the other cargo is red.
This is a great toy for push-along play as kids will be working on their physical and cognitive abilities. Kids will also experience the benefits of creativity, friendship, and exploration while they play with Thomas and the cargo car.
The size is perfect for a toddler to play with. When the toddler accidentally drops it, it won’t break so easily. Plus, this is entertaining for almost all kids.
5. Jay Franco Plush Pillow Buddy
Comfortable to lie on
Good size for cuddling and for play
Easy to spot clean
Some units were not well-stitched in the back
The best friends are the huggable kind and the Jay Franco Pillow Buddy is cozy and fun to squeeze! This pillow is modeled after Thomas the Tank and made from soft polyester microfiber. Kids will love snuggling up to their plush pal no matter what time it is.Read more
Thomas provides great moral and physical support in this form. Measuring 15 in x 8 in x 6 in, he’s a great size for toddlers and young children to be able to carry and cuddle. He’s ultra soft and comfortable to lie on thanks to the fluffy stuffing inside.
You might not think of a train as being especially cozy but Jay Franco manages to bring that juxtaposition to life in an exciting and effective way. This pillow pal is detailed in its design and will inspire sweet dreams in train enthusiasts and Thomas fans alike.
This Thomas is almost as big as some toddlers! That in and of itself is pretty entertaining for parents. But kids will also love having a larger-than-life buddy that’s soft enough to cuddle and light enough for them to zoom around with him in their arms. Snuggle up or set out on an adventure in the playroom!
6. Happy Birthday, Thomas!
This is a great item to include with the Happy Birthday Thomas toy.
Reading books like this one helps prepare kids for their first years of school.
Some kids are born on Xmas, this book is a great stocking stuffer.
Teachers can purchase this book in a special bound form.
It is made of paper and not cardboard, so it can be easily destroyed by kids.
This book is fully illustrated in color. It is Thomas’ birthday and he is wondering where everyone is at.Read more
Kids follow along a journey to find Thomas’ friends and to see what happen to his birthday party. Kids will want their parents to read them this book before bed every night they love it so much. The text is simple to read and follow along and kids really like that.
This book will build on your kid's imagination and encourage creative play.
Kids between the ages of 4-years and 6-years-old benefit the most from this book. During preschool and kindergarten is when kids can start following along the storyline and engage with their parents and ask questions.
7. Step2 Up and Down Roller Coaster
Steps make it easy for children to access the coaster.
Designed with high back, hand-rail, and foot rests
Increases balance and coordination
Recessed wheel wells will keep the car in place
Assembly may be difficult
With the Step 2 Roller Coaster, kids can pretend to engineer Thomas. This set includes a Thomas the Tank ride on engine car and a 9-foot long roller coaster track.Read more
The car is designed with a handrail, high back, and two foot rests ensuring your child will be safe during the ride. Designed for both indoor and outdoor use, your child can enjoy the ride wherever you lay the track. Riding on the coaster car will increase your child’s coordination and balance.
Your child can use the step on both sides of the track to easily get on the car and ride down. You don’t have to worry about the car slipping out from under your child as the recessed wheel wells will keep it in place until your child is ready to ride.
In order to get the car moving, your child will simply need to use their feet to push off and down the track they go. All aboard!
8. Fisher-Price Wooden Railway Harold
Compatible with Thomas Wooden Railway Sets
Magnet on bottom allows Harold to lift cargo (and he can be lifted by Cranky the Crane!)
Sturdy wooden build
Cute realistic engine detailing
Some customers mentioned their packaging being beat up upon arrival
It’s easy to keep spirits high with a pal like Harold! Harold loves to spend his time up in the sky, helping Thomas and their other friends by carting cargo to and from the work yard. He can even connect to other engines thanks to the magnet on his belly.Read more
Made from real wood, this toy is cute, safe, and sturdy. The magnet on its bottom allows it to carry cargo and other engines around in the sky. The blades at the top are lightweight, gentle, and really spin. Harold is compatible with all Thomas Wooden Railway sets.
Children love the magic of toys. A simple magnet can create hours of fun and we know your little ones will be awed and excited by Harold’s ability to haul cargo around as he helps Thomas and Friends. The spinning blades on top are pretty cool and the design is simple and durable.
Thomas fans will be thrilled to have Harold along for their adventures. Role-playing is a wonderful and expressive way for children to play as well as to learn. Creating their own stories allows them to explore the social dynamics of the world while building confidence and stretching their imaginations.
9. Schylling Mini Lantern
Easy for kids to grip and carry
Strong LED light powered by AA batteries
Adorable Thomas design
Easy for children to turn on and off on their own
Batteries don’t stay put; cover is not secure
Light up the room with this adorable Thomas the Tank Mini Lantern from Schylling. Designed for ages three and up, it has a perfectly shaped handle for little ones to be able to carry it around themselves. Whether you’re going camping, exploring the backyard at night, or just need a friendly and bright face in the room once it gets dark, Thomas has your back!Read more
Easy to operate, children only need to turn the knob at the bottom of the lantern to illuminate a dark space. It’s light and easy for kids to tote around on their own. Powered by 4 AA batteries, the LED light lasts a while so you won’t be having to pack the closet with Duracells.
We love the simple design and classic artwork. Kids will recognize Thomas right away. The lantern is made for a younger audience so it doesn’t have a ton of bells and whistles but children love it all the same and it’s a fun idea to make a portable night light with kids’ characters on it.
Little buddy having trouble sleeping at night? Or maybe it gets too dark in the car once the sun’s gone down. Maybe your child enjoys the evening and wants to play outside for longer. In any case, they’ll be glad to have Thomas along with them. He’ll light up the way so they can explore for hours, whether it be in the waking world or dreamland!
10. Fisher-Price TrackMaster Stepstool
Holds up to 100 pounds
Perfect for toddler ages
Rubber grips can make it difficult to clean
This non-slip stool is perfect for your little one to climb up on to reach their favorite toys, brush their teeth, or even help in the kitchen. It has Thomas and all his friends on it and it’s able to hold up to 100 pounds.Read more
This is a fun, functional item for your child when they want to help or are starting to gain that independence and wanting to do more things on their own.
This is perfect for your independent toddler who wants to start reaching things on their own. Not only is Thomas the main feature on this tiny stool but you also won’t have to worry about your child slipping either.
We love this product because it is the perfect size for your toddler. Not only is this a stool but it can also act as a tunnel for your child's trains.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Many of these toys are small enough to be traveling with. Thomas and Friends have many toys inspired by them, but things such as the coloring book or figurines can easily be stored in a bag and brought with you wherever you go. Kids can even fit them in their backpacks for show and tell if they want to since Thomas makes for a great toy to show off. Kids will have a blast bringing these toys over to their friend’s houses as well, and it’s even more fun when their friends love Thomas and Friends just as much as they do. Try bringing one of these toys with you and your child the next time there’s a long wait or car ride–we’re sure they’ll be plenty entertained and not bored at all!
Kids always benefit from using their imaginations for creative play, especially when they create their own scenarios and situations. There’s nothing we love more than to see a child truly playing and having fun because it means that they’re being a kid to the fullest extent of their abilities. Thomas and Friends toys will encourage this because you’re taking a very well-loved character and providing your child with a basis to create their own stories and tales. The more creative the toy, the better their imaginative play will be. Kids are able to play for hours with the simplest of things as long as their creativity and imaginations aren’t restricted, and toys inspired by popular television shows such as this one can increase fun, innocent play.
How much fun is it really to play with a pretend train? Well, all you have to do is give one to your child, sit back, and watch! Many of us remember having our own toy trains to play with when we were younger, but unlike kids nowadays, we never had a daring talking train to entertain us. Thomas toys are inspired by the character that so many kids love so much, which means that they’ll always have fun creating their own scenarios and rolling their favorite train engine around. It’s even twice the fun when they have Thomas’s friends to play with as well, but we’re sure they’ll have just enough fun with their pal Thomas and his crazy antics.
Even if your child is only a toddler and not yet able to read on their own, reading to them can provide significant value and help them improve their comprehension and listening skills. These stories are fun and adventurous, and follow Thomas through a myriad of situations that his friends always help him with. It’s a great source of learning as well as a good pastime or option for a bedtime story.
Other Factors to Consider
Some of the greatest tools we can use to help educate children are books. You can’t put a price on reading and it’s a skill that will help your child throughout their entire life. Several of the toys featured on this list are books, which will not only provide a source of entertainment but also will improve your child’s reading skills.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Why do kids like Thomas and Friends?
All kids love trains. It is a wonderful sight to see kids put together the train set they received from Santa and operate it around a track at the base of the Christmas tree. The show is so popular that it became a multi-million dollar franchise worldwide. The franchise sells millions of Thomas and Friends merchandise every year. The engines can be found on blankets, food items, clothes, etc.
q: Who invented Thomas the Tank Engine?
The TV show is based on The Railway Series novels. Reverend Wilbert Awdry and his son created the beloved stories about trains and vehicles that talk and travel and live on the island of Sodor. The Reverend created many stories that he used to entertain his son while he was recovering from the measles. Many events in the story were taken from their personal lives. Awdry continued writing his adventures until he retired from writing in 1972.
q: Why do kids love trains?
No one really knows why trains become an obsession among some young kids. The obsession can start as early as 2 years old. They get introduced to a great book like Thomas and Friends and then they are hooked. When they are 3 years olds, they get their first train and then they start wondering why the rest of his buddies aren’t around. Soon the kid’s room is filled with trains of all sorts, with train tracks running all over their room and around the house if parents allow.
It’s not all bad when kids go through their obsession stages. Kids do outgrow their obsessions eventually, and in the meanwhile, they learn so much. But in order to save a buck and not buy all the trains in the world, parents come up with different strategies. When they are questioned about why Thomas’ friends aren’t around, one father responds that they’re busy finishing their tasks on their home island of Sodor.
q: How do Thomas and Friends help kids with autism?
Kids with autism enjoy the series because of the bold colors and the clear facial expressions the trains give. It’s easy for them to interpret what the trains are trying to say and mean. The trains make consistent faces that are easy to identify. Studies show that kids with autism and Asperger’s cling to Thomas the Engine more than any other character. His relatability helps Thomas be a positive role model, which is something that is hard to come by with children with certain disabilities.
q: What does the franchise hold in store for Thomas?
Thomas and his friends will travel to foreign lands and meet new friends. There’s new music, jokes, and more action-packed adventures. There are also two new engines that joined the crew, Nia and Rebecca.
q: What is the premise of the new storyline for Thomas’ new journey?
Thomas and his friends leave their island of Sodor and travel the world. They discover new cultures and visit countries like China and Australia. Half the episodes take place in Sodor, and the other half takes place halfway around the world.
q: Who owns the Thomas and Friends franchise?
Viacom’s Nick Jr. bought the multi-billion franchise in January 2018. The new owners have big plans for their new engine family. They plan on changing the franchise to move in a different direction and deepen their engagement with their fans.
q: What do kids learn from playing a conductor?
It encourages the love of machinery and transitions well into STEM-oriented learning and other STEM-related toys. It stimulates their imagination to pretend to be someone who can repair and operate their own engine. It reinforces the positive self-image to be in a leadership position.