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.

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By Cassie Sheets:

With a large quantity of Thomas toys being released in 2018, we recently updated our list to include the most popular. We also removed any out of stock products and replaced them with products that are available.

Criteria Used in Evaluation of the Best Thomas and Friends Toys and Trains

Educational Value

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. 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.

Level of Fun

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.

Portability and Travel Tips

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!

Benefits of Imaginative Play

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.

FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why do kids like Thomas and Friends?

A: 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?

A: 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?

A: 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?

A: 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?

A: 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?

A: 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?

A: 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?

A: 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.

Sources

  1. Lisa Jo Rudy, Thomas the Tank Engine and Autism Connection, informative article , May 29, 2018
  2. Mark Oliver,, The Science behind kid’s obsession with trains , blog, Jan 29, 2017
  3. Lynn Toombs, Do Children benefit from thomas the tank engine, Blog ,
  4. Janel, 5 Ways Kids Learn with trains, Sep 24, 2014