- Games, Toys, and Hobbies
Imaginarium City Central Train Table Review
This year, Santa Claus decided to bring my son the Imaginarium City Central Train Table for Christmas. My son is just over 2 years old and a HUGE Thomas the Train fanatic. See why I think this train table is the best of the best...
Pros: There are many... it's a great buy!
- Fun: This train table has been hours of fun for both my kids. There are many different paths of track the train can take, a helipad, a tunnel, a wash, a suspension bridge, a working magnetic crane, a train station, a roundhouse, and a working turn table. There are even lights and sounds in four different parts, which is a neat addition.
- Age/Gender Diverse: Although this toy is labeled as 3 years old and up, my 2 year old plays wonderfully with it, and has never had a problem. My daughter, who is 4.5 years old, has gotten equal amounts of great play time from it. Whenever we have friends over for play dates, it is (by far) the favorite toy with both girls and boys. It also seems to be great for a wide plethora of ages.
- Compatible: The Imaginarium train products are completely compatible with both Thomas & Friends and Brio products. This was perfect for us, as my son loves Thomas and already had many of the trains. It was great that he can use them here.
- Great Value: I did a ton of research before I purchased the Imaginarium table, as it was a fairly large purchase for very young kid, and I wanted to make sure it was going to be something that would be a good fit for my family. I initially researched Thomas & Friends table/track, and found it is astonishingly expensive. You also need to purchase the buildings, track, and table all separate, which is kind of inconvenient. The Melissa and Doug table was cute, as was Conductor Carl, but both didn't come with nearly as many pieces for your money. A few of the Kidcraft tables seemed like a good deal, but I have heard from more than one person that it is not truly compatible with Thomas & Friends trains, as it claims to be, and that is what we were looking for.
- Great Quality/Sturdy: My son is hard on some of his toys. He has already put this table to the test many times, and I am pleased with how well it has held up. I have, many times, found him sitting on top of the table playing trains. He bangs all the pieces around and is fairly rough, and so far, it has been very sturdy.
- Versatile: The particle board of this table is plain green on the flip side, so it can be used as a Lego/craft table if my kids decide they need a break from trains. The track can also be assembled different ways, which encourages imagination!! My daughter loves to add her small doll pieces to the city, so she and her brother can have even more fun!
Cons: I had to really think hard to even come up with some cons...
- Large: It is a large toy, which I guess to some, might be a con. If you don't have a designated "play room" or area for it, I could see how it could be an eyesore. We read reviews and knew the size, so I was completely happy with how it turned out.
- Long Set-up: The set up is a bit cumbersome. I did not have any trouble following the instructions, but it did take a while. Each building needs to be set up, then the table needs to be built, and then you have to lay out/put together the track (which probably takes the longest!) Again, I knew what I was getting into, so I made sure to allow enough time for set-up beforehand.
Helpful Hints: Now that we have owned this toy for a while, I have a few helpful hints that may help others to enjoy it a bit more.
- Glue Buildings: I expected my son to take apart the track, but I did not expect that he would also dismantle the buildings. This got a bit exhausting after a while, so I eventually just super-glued the pieces together that he kept taking apart. It made my life much easier!!
- Label Track: I got the helpful hint from a friend to label the track once it was all set up. To do this, get a permanent marker and inside the track (where it meets up with the next pieces, so it can't be seen) make a small number (or you could do letters too). Mark the next piece with consecutive numbers/letters, so if the track get disassembled (and it will if you have little ones!!!), you can put it back together easily without the instructions. This is truly the most useful hint I have for this table, as my kids love to take it apart, and do so almost daily!!
- Buy Additional Pieces: We already had many of the Thomas & Friends trains before getting the table. While the table comes with a few trains, it may not be a bad idea to have a few more to enhance the fun. We have also started to acquire additional track, as most of the fun for my kids comes from building their own tracks all over the house, and I love encouraging their learning this way!
Overall, I could not have been happier with my purchase and I would highly recommend the Imaginarium City Central Train Table to anyone with kids, grand kids, nieces, nephews, etc... of all ages.