While there are an endless number of toys out there, there has always seemed to be something special about train sets. What is it about running the cars over the tracks that has long captured the attention of kids of all ages?
For my girls, it seems to be that trains combine both physical as well as imaginative play. While a train set involves the dexterity and manipulation of the toy train itself, it also allows for the creation and telling of a story to go with the motions (something my talk-nonstop kids are especially good at).
Along with the play features, there's also the challenge of building the track and the way that it can be changed time and time again to suit that day's adventures. The opportunities for creativity are endless! The only thing that can make it better? When a train set entails all of the above but with the added bonus of characters that kids know and love.
That's why we were thrilled to see it all come together with three new MEGA Bloks play sets: the Chuggington Jet Pack Adventure set, the Chuggington Roundhouse Racing set, and the Chuggington Repair Shed.
After being overjoyed to be selected as a Chuggington Conductor for 2012 and getting to participate in the company's recent Twitter party (there are so many fun Chuggington fans out there!), my kids couldn't have been happier when they were able to get in on the action with the arrival of these three sets.
As we are already fans of MEGA Brands and their trusted family of leading global brands in construction toys, games & puzzles, arts & crafts and stationery, seeing their take on Chuggington had us all ready to open the boxes and play.
The MEGA Bloks Chuggington Jet Pack Adventure Set contains 103 pieces that come together to form a large, easily-assembled, multilevel track. Featuring the iconic Clock Tower, Chuggington Depot, and plenty of rails and tracks, kids are able to build and rebuild this set into just about anything that they can imagine.
With the addition of Vee (the loudspeaker announcer at Chuggington who informs the engines what to do) and two Chuggers, Wilson and Action Chugger, this construction set is an amazing way to start off a MEGA Bloks Chuggington collection.
While this set is recommended for ages 3+, following the easy assembly instructions was something that required adult help around our house. However, with Big Sister E and Little Sister B eagerly waiting in the wings, it didn't take too long before we had constructed each of the Chuggers and had the track twisting and turning through the buildings and raised to four levels high.
Immediately the girls loved that the pillars elevated the track and the way that it wound down from the Clock Tower, through the Depot and back to the bottom of the tower. Setting Wilson or Action Chugger right on, it only took a tiny push to send them riding the rails down to the bottom.
For an extremely unique element to this train set, however, the Jet Pack Adventure set includes sky-rail pieces that can also be twisted and looped from the Clock Tower to the Depot and down. As both Wilson and Action Chugger have an attached hook (which folds down) on their backs, kids can simply flip it up, hook them on, and send them flying!
Big Sister E and Little Sister B have loved the combination of the tracks and the sky-rails in this set and the way that the entire thing can be rebuilt into many different configurations (the instruction booklet shows images of three more, but users can also come up with their own).
From the colorful MEGA Bloks pieces to the creativity of the building possibilities to the cute details, this set has provided a lot of fun since its arrival. The girls are continuously sending Wilson and Action Chugger on exciting adventures and, from the press of a button on the top of each Chugger's head, their mouths move open and close to seem as though they are really getting in on the action!
Retailing for $49.99, the Chuggington Jet Pack Adventure set is available on Amazon and from Toys 'R Us. As this play set is compatible with other MEGA Bloks Chuggington sets, it is a great one to start with and know that the fun will only be increased with future purchases.
Which is exactly what we did upon opening and constructing the MEGA Bloks Chuggington Roundhouse Racing set.
This 49-piece set came together in minutes to form Brewster, Cally, the Roundhouse and the turntable for launching fun.
We found out right away that it was easy to push the turntable around so as to direct the Chuggers into each of the Roundhouse doors or off in a different direction.
At the same time, the innovative launching lever at the back of two of the houses has made for added enjoyment and laughter. I appreciate that this mechanism is not at all complicated (which would cause frustration from younger children), but instead is done by simply pressing down on the large piece with nothing more than one finger.
Whether they are launching the Chuggers out onto the track or putting them in "to sleep" for the night, the Roundhouse Racing set has been a fun addition to the Jet Pack Adventure play set for my kids. Not to mention that they love Brewster's moveable mouth and the flashing light on the top of Calley!
We've had a great time building this set, taking it apart, and rebuilding it in a new setup (it can be configured in multiple levels if desired), and cheering on the engines as they zoom in and out. With the open-ended creativity allowed, there's never a dull moment.
Retailing for $29.99 at Toys 'R Us and soon on Amazon, the MEGA Bloks Chuggington Roundhouse Racing set is a great complement to the rest of the MEGA Bloks Chuggington pieces. Build them separately or build them together, they're all a part of the Chuggington community!
And, when it comes to keeping things running smoothly for the Chuggers, the MEGA Bloks Chuggington Repair Shed is 36 pieces of fix-it shop entertainment for any young trainee.
Taking barely over a minute to put together, the Repair Shed comes with Old Puffer Pete (who often needs a bit of fixing), as well as tracks, a rotator and tools.
The small details of the Repair Shop are what really makes this a great set, as both of the girls were immediately taken with the tiny tools and the way that they can roll each engine in onto the rotator to easily lift it up to be fixed.
The MEGA Bloks Chuggington Repair Shed has a suggested retail price of $14.99 and is available on Amazon and at Toys 'R Us. For us, it was the perfect finish to complete our Chuggington train sets and, with the easy construction and ability to move and connect various parts together, we soon had this set as well as the other two all working together.
With the large, brightly-colored pieces proving to attach easily and hold together well, these MEGA Bloks Chuggington sets have been a fun way to get everyone involved. Plus, with the three together, there is more than enough room for multiple children to play without anyone feeling left out or crowded.
Whether the girls are coming up with new ideas for ways to construct the parts or making up tales for the Chuggers, they've returned to these play sets time and time again to pick up their familiar train pals to send them spinning on the tracks. What a great way to incorporate the familiar scenes from this beloved show into interactive toys in their everyday lives!
One person will soon be able to see the creativity and enjoyment that these MEGA Bloks Chuggington trains, tracks and more can bring to their child as well, because...
One lucky person will win MEGA Bloks Chuggington Jet Pack Adventure, Roundhouse Racing and Repair Shed sets (total ARV $95)!
To enter to win: Leave a comment on this post telling me one way that you encourage creativity with the child(ren) in your life.
Extra Entries (available after the mandatory entry above is completed; please leave a separate comment for each entry in order for them to be counted).
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#WIN 3 MEGA Bloks Chuggington train sets (ARV $95) for fun constructing & riding the rails! http://bit.ly/HHbNM0 @thxmailcarrier #giveaway
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Giveaway will end on April 24th at 11:59pm CST. By entering this sweepstakes, you are agreeing to these official rules. No purchase necessary, void where prohibited by law. Do me the favor of leaving an email address or making absolutely sure it is visible in your profile, I have to have a way to contact the winner. The winner will be chosen by random.org and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to contact me or respond to notification or a new winner will be chosen. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and must be 18 years of age or older.
A big thank you to Chuggington for providing these three MEGA Bloks sets for me for review as well as for one lucky giveaway winner. The opinions shared are my own and honest and if you really need to see more, click here to see how I roll.