We have discovered wooden toys, in a big way. If you’ve followed our blog, especially the family stuff, for any length of time then you’ll know that wooden train track is no new discovery for us but, with our new love of everything wooden, some interesting new train track was a seriously welcome addition – Especially in rainbow colours, we love rainbow colours. When we were asked to try out this amazing track from Hape it was an instantaneous yes.
Before you start, a warning, this is a very photo intensive post – But cute toddlers and rainbow colours just ask to be photographed.
This is the Hape ‘Rainbow Route Railway & Station Set’ and it is a thing to behold! Aimed at 18 months and up it’s wonderfully toddler friendly and just screams fun from the very beginning.
Hape are a brand who speak to me in terms of their ethos – They care about natural materials and sustainability, their paints are child friendly and their toys are produced with the child in mind, they cater to even the smallest detail and it’s the child that benefits from that.
The track seems to vary, a little, in price but is currently (at time of writing it’s 27th August 2017) £61.88 at Amazon which you can find here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hape-Rainbow-Railway which is a good price for something that’s so very versatile – Keep reading to find out what we thought of the set and the ways in which we found different uses for lots of the parts.
The box contains 30 pieces which span from rainbow track sections to a number of musical elements, a shape sorter, a station and even some cute animals to sit on the train.
And here it is in all its glory. Honestly I was as excited as the children and that’s saying something as the moment he saw the box Oliver was itching to find out what was inside and was shouting ‘choo choo’ at me whilst I was taking photographs – The boy takes after his brother, he likes trains.
Our first stop is the station. This is made up from 6 pieces which, this time, I put together as suggested on the box but, in the future, could easily be made in to a different formation. The station pieces are some of those in which the attention to detail is evident – In the top middle piece you can see a small, semi transparent, section and behind that are coloured beads which means that it doubles up as a shaker. In the two base, side pieces, you can just see that there’s little mirrored sections which make double the fun.
The first of the two noisy pieces is this fun looking cymbal section – As the train drives over this part the cymbals tinkle brightly and are sure to capture the attention of many a little one.
I much prefer the sound of this adorable xylophone, though, the noise is much softer and it really does make the sound you may remember from school when you’d run the stick all the way across the notes. I like that this piece could be used separately from the train set, too, a pencil or something similar could be used to play it independently of the trains.
This may be Oliver’s favourite piece from the set. He loves these bead wire toys and this one keeps him really entertained. As with the xylophone this can be multi use as it makes a fun tunnel for the trains but can be played with separately too.
I love how the shapes from this shape sorter section are grooved in order to allow the trains to drive over the top of them. As with the previous parts this can be used independently and can promote fine motor skills as well as both colour and shape sorting.
Attention to detail comes in to place, again, with the train – It’s made up of a steam train part and three carriages each of which have an animal which sit on the back. This is great for teaching children about animals (Oliver already loves to roar at the lion and the tiger and can say ‘Lion’!) as well as another opportunity to hone those fine motor skills as it can be quite the challenge for little builders to pop the animals on the grooves on the back.
Oliver really enjoys the noise that the train makes over the xylophone and sometimes like to drive it back and forth over that particular section (which does sometimes cause the most catastrophic crashes).
The bead section is the one that Oliver plays with the most both as part of the train set and as an individual part. He likes to get it out on its own and just sit with it moving the beads back and forth. I try to use it as an opportunity to talk about colours but he tends to get a bit annoyed with me, playing is playing in Oliver’s opinion.
Considering Oliver had to sit in his chair and wait whilst I photographed, and built, this whole toy he did very well and was very patient but the moment we let him at it he was so excited. I won’t lie, though, it got torn to pieces pretty quickly too, but what could you expect with an 18 month old and a train track?
I really didn’t mean to colour co-ordinate him with the track, either, this outfit was picked out the night before and we didn’t even know that the track would come that day. A happy coincidence none the less.
I am, honestly, as happy with the train track as I thought I would be. I thought we’d have to wait a little longer before introducing Ethan’s hand-me-downs to Oliver but this set really is aimed at the younger audience and it does a fantastic job at catering to Oliver’s age range.
Ethan’s 7 but even he likes to play with it when given the chance. He left his wooden track behind a bit when he got older, far earlier than I’d hoped, but I am relying on Oliver’s enjoyment of all things train to re-ignite that spark for Ethan too.
I haven’t checked, yet, but based on the size I think this will go along well with the track we already own. I’ve already said that once Oliver grows out of the more toddler friendly aspects of the set then we’ll pass along those parts (to my friend who’s a childminder) and keep the pretty rainbow pieces to brighten up our existing stuff which means that, although this is more for the little ones, some parts of it can be kept much longer so it’s a great investment (who doesn’t want a bit extra rainbow in their life!?).
This set certainly gets the seal of approval from our whole family and I can’t wait to see both boys play with it for many years to come.