Toy of the month – April 2017

This month it is all about trains!! I have found over the years as a mother that wooden trains are one of the best open ended toys and not just for boys either. They are a great gender neutral toy that can be played with from 1 year right up to adults ūüėČ

My eldest received his first very small train set for his 1st birthday and we have grown the set each year with family and friends adding trains, tunnels, stations and more to make it into a little city. What I have found though is that wooden trains and track are not cheap, not at all which is why my boys have received most of their train track and accessories as birthday presents over the years ( with a few flea market purchases in Germany!)

My boys play with their train set on a weekly basis building, creating and exploring new track set ups and cities. They can honestly play for hours on end, just by using their imagination to create wonderful worlds of train exploration, such is the joy of this open ended toy.

As a brand representative for The Creative Toy shop, this year we were gifted a number of Hape wooden train toys and I wanted to share one of them with you, the Xylophone Melody Track, for this month’s review.

Brianna, the brains behind The Creative Toy Shop has created an wonderful selection of toys for her shop and uses her daily job as a special needs home educator and teacher to help her test out and decide on what toys she will offer. Originally a blogger, she has taken her blog to the next level and established one of the most gorgeous online toy shops in Australia. I am honestly in love with her toy shop and so excited and honoured to be working with her this year.

Onto the review, the Xylophone Melody track is aimed at 18+ months but my boys who are 4 and 8 thought it was a lot of fun, in particular my youngest son. I also did some nanny work last month for a 18 month old boy and I set it up for him and he loved it; the noise, the colour, it is perfect for this early toddler age.

Hape have recently released a whole selection of train accessories and they are a great and more affordable alternative to Brio. We have a range of Brio, BigJigs and now Hape trains and accessories and they all work seamlessly together.

What I love about the Hape Rail is that they have made trains and train sets fun for toddlers. They have made the accessories rainbow coloured, they have added learning about colours and shapes, they have included musical elements and made train sets even more fun and educational for kids.

You can start your toddler with a Hape My Little railway set when they are 18 months and then when they get older add different elements like tunnels, engine sheds, train crossings, bell signals, stations. lifting bridges and more to make it a versatile train set.

The Xylophone track and train provides a bright rainbow colour which is so appealing to little ones and together with the xylophone creating musical notes when the child moves the train up and over the track it really makes for an exciting mini train set. You can use it by itself as it has 2 plastic track ends so no need to connect up with other track if you don’t have any initially and this is your first track set. Or if perhaps you are not sure your child will want to play with trains and you want to test out a train set without forking out a lot of money!

One thing I think is amazing is that the rainbow colours appeal to both boys and girls. Trains are not solely for boys and there is no reason to think that your daughter or grand daughter cannot play with trains, they are such a brilliant toy sparking the imagination and this track certainly proves that!

The quality of the Hape sets are brilliant, especially when accessories start from $12.90, train sets from $19.90 and track sets from $21.90 and first train sets from $49.90. It can be hard to find train sets second hand as many families keep them as heirloom toys, I think because of their classic timeless appeal for every generation of kids.

Hape have now made it affordable and provided a great array of accessories to start your child’s first train set and build up a collection that your grandchildren can also play with.

Toy of the Month: Hape Xylophone Melody Track

Helps to teach kids:  fine motor skills, ability to use a toy for open ended play, to use their imagination to create a dialogue for their trains to use their imagination  whilst teaching them coordination to make the toy move. It is great for story telling, and helps build confidence and social skills like sharing and co-operation.

Great for:  kids who love trains or to use their imagination! They are awesome as open ended toys that can be mixed with other train sets you may already own or even mixed with other toys like Schleich animals, wooden blocks and wooden animals.

RRP: AUS $33.90

Ages: 18 months+

You can follow The Creative Toy Shop over on their Instagram or Facebook accounts.

Hape Big Engine Shed featured in the photos is $29.90.

Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post; however I did receive a sample as a Brand Representative for the Creative Toy Shop. All opinions are my own and not influenced in any way.