Wooden train set at the dollar store
My kids are grown and I'm still waiting on grand kids, but I couldn't resist this toy.
With all the recent hoopla about the dangers lurking in plastics, I haven't felt good about a lot of the toys that dollar stores have to offer, but these pieces are made of solid wood. You buy each piece separately so you can have as many or as few cars as you want, they run on wheels and are joined together by strong magnets.
I saw three different styles and colors of engines and different kinds of cars besides the ones shown here. The wooden track comes in packages of two pieces for $1and fits together puzzle-like. What you see here costs $10, but of course you could, with enough track pieces, make it as long as you want and in different configurations.
I - ahem - played with it for a while and I can tell you that the magnets hold strong and this choo-choo doesn't jump the grooved tracks like a traditional toy train is wont to do.
I think this would make a nice birthday present for your child to give to a friend. Just package all the pieces up in one box. You will need 2 packages of curved track for each end and 1 package of straight track to make the configuration shown here. This toy is not recommended for children 3 years old or younger.
Marlene Alexander writes about home decor from the dollar store. Check out her website here.