My son is about to turn 6 and we are looking at birthday gift ideas. He has always been a "train" child and has an extensive Thomas collection. He is REALLY interested in electric trains now...but from my reading he is not really old enough yet for those sets. So, I am looking for train sets for this in-between time of "starting to outgrow Thomas but not old enough for hobby trains". Some quick research suggested Playmobil and Lego electric sets. Does anyone know if the Playmobil RC sets are discontinued? I could only find some random parts and accessories. Anyone have feedback on the Lego sets? He has a few Lego things, but although he is really into building, he still gets a bit frustrated with them...build the helicopter but then can't play with it because it falls apart etc...so I am wondering if these trains are "built" or if they are really just electric trains with Lego brand name.
Any other suggestions?
My son is 4 (5 in December). My dad got him an electric trainset, the HO tracks. He is not quite old enough for it yet, but he is really close. He can't quite set it up by himself, but he can do a lot of things. If you plan on investing in something like that later on, and are not opposed to playing with him until he can do it on his own, it might be okay. However, there is a frustration factor. My DS was given this set when he was 3 (yes, too young) and he did break more than a few things then. We keep it stored away and only take it out on occasion. I would say that I have not been thrilled on the quality of these -- there always seems to be a problem with the electric controls (have to do a lot of troubleshooting of connections and sometimes need an extra cable connection before it works properly). We have a Bachmann set, which is supposed to be good quality.
His friend has a huge Geotrak set in the basement that has remote controls. Apparently, he is fascinated by that one! Maybe worth looking into?
I am pretty sure playmobil recently discontinued the train line but you might find collections on ebay. My five year old rarely plays with his wooden tracks but still often plays with our huge collection of duplo trains. The battery powered train (actually purchased for our younger daughter) is much loved.
I have a huge lego kiddo. The train sets need to be built - like all lego things- but my kiddo doesn't have issue with lego falling apart.
Geotracks / fisherprice are a huge hit with the younger kids.
He might do ok with a starter electric set. Id take him to a hobby shop or a train store, they probably have one one display and see how they actually work.
We have some of the Brio smart track range. It's a battery opperated engine which reacts to chips in certain pieces of track, making it slow down, speed up, stop etc.
We already had quite a collection of wooden train tracks so it's worked well for us and my nearly 6 year old still enjoys it. If it would fit with your thomas tracks it might be worth looking out for to bridge the gap. It seems to be getting difficult to find though, we've been watching ebay.