Days out diary - child friendly and family activities

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This is a review of the Fisher Price Thomas Take-N-Play children toys based on Thomas the Tank Engine and friends. It is a push-along train set with plastic track and diecast metal trains. The "sets" are normally sold in the form of a plastic building with a simple loop track and an engine. The building includes space to store the track and engine so that they can be taken along as a play toy when away from home. The engine in the set is normally Thomas, which is good for the first set, but you do end up with lots of spare Thomas engines.

There have two different types of tracks, but it's been a few years since the old style track has been on sold. There were also a lot of adapters provided by default in the new sets for some time after the track changed. If buying second hand you may want to check that it is either the new track, or that there are some adapters included.

I think that the old track was actually much better, as it had large connectors to the tracks, whereas the connector on the new ones is more fragile. If a track section breaks that's not such as big deal, but in our case it's the connector on the Tidmouth Shed's which broke quite early on.

Thomas Take-N-Play / Take Along Thomas train playset

I suggest that you observe the minimum recommended age for these toys. The engines are well made and do not have any obvious choking hazards, but whilst they rarely break if one does (we have had one break) then it ends up with small magnets etc. which would be a risk to younger toddlers.

There are lots of different engines, carriages, trucks and cars for the Take-N-Play which has much better variety than any of the other Thomas The Tank Engine sets. You can actually create a long train with lots of carriages without having to buy them with new engines all the time.

Caparison with Thomas the Tank Engine Trackmaster (Fisherprice)

I have already posted areview of Fisher Price Thomas the Tank Engine Trackmaster.

Compared with Trackmaster the Take-n-play is smaller and so is easier to fit into a small room. They are also portable although it's rare that we've actually taken them somewhere with us. In comparison the Trackmaster / Tomica sets are large and so need a large room to get a decent size layout, although it is possible to create tiered tracks with one track running above the other.

The take-n-play are not motorised and so need to be pushed around the track. For younger children this is perhaps better as the can play more than with the Trackmaster / Tomica, but the Trackmaster / Tomy Tomica is more like "a real train set" so may appeal to older children.

Another advantage of the Take-N-Play is that the engines and carriages are available separately and (except for the lights and sound engines) are normally much cheaper than something from the Trackmaster range, so are good to give as a Toy (eg. as a souvenir from a day out at Thomas Land UK).


A good fun train set that can be set-up in a fairly small space. The engines are cheaper than some alternatives which makes them better as pocket money presents. For younger children you may also want to look at wooden train sets instead.