Pros: Easy Assembly, Joins farm, city and home sets, on/off
Cons: takes up space, no volume
My 2 year old son received the Fisher Price Little People Fun Sounds Train this holiday season. The train was given to him by his grandmother. His Grandma, by the way, is the reason for the Little People obsession in this house. She was the same way about 25 years ago when I was a child and we played with the much more chokable versions of FP Little People figures.
The Little People Fun Sounds Train is one of many new releases from Fisher Price for the 2002 holiday season. Ours was purchased at Target for the price of $26.99 but had also seen it in the Fisher Price catalog and online for around $25. This set was released in Europe and Australia some time ago as part of their World of Little People line of products.
The famous words Some Assembly Required apply here, but thankfully are accurate as this train assembles in no time at all. There are no stickers to apply and the pieces all snap easily in place. Fisher-Price provides several pages worth of instructions in like 10 different languages but I am happy to report that I was able to assemble this train without reading them, and only looking at the picture of the assembled version which is on the front of the box. To assemble it simply snap the 2 pieces of track together and then add on each of the gates and accessories. It will probably take you longer to get the box open (ours had a lot of tape on it) than it will to get it all together. A tip though, is you might want to install the 3 AA batteries (with a screwdriver) which go into the underside of the tracks before you get the entire playset put together. While you are under there, take note - there is actually an on/off switch on this playset!
Once assembled, the Little People Fun Sounds Train playset alone takes up about 1 1/2 feet by 2 feet of your floor. You'll also want the area around it clear for play purposes, not to mention if you plan on connecting this train to any of your other sets. Be sure to have an adequate area cleared and be ready to give it up, because chances are once you have this train put together you won't want to take it apart any time soon either.
About the Fun Sounds Train
The Little People Fun Sounds Train is the perfect playset for a Little People enthusiast building up a Little People village. How so? You see, the Little People Fun Sounds Train is meant to join multiple sets together. The main focus of the playset is the oval grey track to hold the train, and around it are four gates - each meant to attach to different Little People playsets with compatible fencing that works with any FP Little people set.
Train Station Found at one end of the tracks this bright orange station with a blue roof and swing open yellow doors is where passengers get on board the train for the first time. There's a great big clock here with arms that can be rotated around to change the time. All Aboard! As the train approaches, passes or leaves the station you'll hear the sounds of a train tooting and chugging along the tracks. The sounds are actually activated by a flat blue button that is tripped as the train cars roll over it. There's also an orange swing-gate that can be lifted and lowered to allow the train to cross.
The next stop is the Home Gate. You'll know that the train is nearing this gate when you hear the sounds of birds singing and chirping activated by running over a seafoam green button. The home gate is designated by matching seafoam green picket type fencing with a swing-gate and flower beds. On one side of the gate is a detachable birdhouse, that when pressed down a little bluebird plays peek-a-boo. On the other side, there is a golden lamp-post. This gate would best join up the following Little People playsets - Home Sweet Home, Vehicles Assortment - Trike & Wagon, or the Garden House
All Aboard! The next stop is the City Gate and you'll know you've reached it when you hear the sounds of horns beeping and traffic moving that are activated when you roll over a flat yellow button. At this gate you'll find a traffic light, that can actually change colors (via turning a knob), and a toll station with a functioning swing-gate. The fence pieces used to join this with other sets are bright yellow and look like construction signs. This gate best joins up with the following playsets - Fun Sounds Garage, Vehicles Assortment - Tow Truck & Car, Construction Site, or Fire & Rescue Station.
The final destination before heading back to the station is the Farm Gate. You'll hear the sounds of a rooster cock-a-doodle-doo to welcome you to the farm when you run over the tan flat button at the gate. The signature brown faux-wooden corral style fencing with a swing-gate welcomes you. On one side of the gate is detachable red and sunny yellow windmill, and on the other is a corn stalk. This gate joins up any of the many farm playsets - Fun Sounds Farm, Tractor, Farm Animals, Horse Stable, or the Vehicles Assortment - Vegetable Truck with Trailer
A bonus play area of the Little People Fun Sounds Train is the park made in the center of the track that we refer to as Central Park. There are 3 small cobblestone steps at each of the gates which lead to the park. In one corner of the park, there is a small bench and removable umbrella table perfect for a picnic lunch. But, the most fun of all is found on the working merry-go-round which is reminiscent of the merry-go-round found on the Little People playground set that I had as a child (old-style little people). The merry-go-round is simply a circular piece of plastic that holds up to 3 LP figures. My son loves this merry-go-round most of all because when its turned you hear the sounds of Little People laughter as well as a tune If your happy and you know it (the same tune played on the Little People Family Van).
The Fun Sounds Train itself is made up of three bright red cars that are hitched together. They look more like roller coaster cars than train cars, however, and do not require tracks to roll on. Each train car holds one Little People figure.
The figures included with this set are: Michael - The African-American little boy who is the train conductor. Sarah Lynn and Eddie the blonde haired twins. And, Maggie the little brunette with glasses. Even though all of these figures also come in a few other playsets we own, none of them are exact duplicates of the outfits and styles. Eddie has on a safari type hat, Michael a conductor's uniform, Sarah a blue dress, and Maggie a straw hat with a daisy on top.
Yes, You get all of that for around $25 The Little People Fun Sounds Train is one of the best values as far as Little People playsets go. It includes 22 pieces all together including the 4 Little People figures.
We are thoroughly enjoying playing with the Little People Fun Sounds Train and each of the different gates. The train serves as a bridge for imaginary play between all the different "worlds". My 2 year old loves to push the train along the tracks and hear all the different sounds. The sounds are not too loud, nor are the annoying, and they don't linger on. As soon as the train is off of the button the sounds cease. Now, being that he is just 2, he does activate the sounds at random by reaching over and pressing on the button. But, I really can't blame him since the cock-a-doodle-doo ...Toot! Toot!...Beep Beep! and chirp chirp all make for fun sounds to hear... Hence the name, Fun Sounds Train.
Now, I should mention that if you don't have any of the other Little People playsets like the Farm, Home, or Garage or the many accessory sets for each of them - you will probably want them once you have this Fun Sounds Train. No, you don't need the other sets to enjoy the train. But, if you are like me and my little boy you will want to build and build your Little People village until it fills up most of your play area.. which, in our case, is our Family Room. I might be lucky to have a floor left once we are "done" here, but I won't be holding my breath. Our Little People tend to reproduce here, at no fault of my own, nor my mothers. You will definitely need to dedicate a chunk of floorspace to this playset -- Yes I am complaining as Little People hurt like heck when you step on them.
Overall, the Little People Fun Sounds Train was the big winner this holidays found under our tree. We've already gotten in several hours worth of playtime and I'm sure there will be many more ahead of us. So far the batteries are going strong, and I don't anticipate it eating up batteries if its like any of our other playsets..(Our Fun Sounds garage is a year old and on just the 2nd set at AA's). My son and I highly recommend the Little People Fun Sounds Train to other Little People enthusiasts of all ages!
My Standard Little People Warning!
Fisher-Price states that this toy is for ages 1 thru 5. Hey, I am way older than 5 and I still enjoy this!. But, for the little ones.. Fisher Price Little People could pose as a choke hazard for small children so please supervise your child while playing with this set. On a side note, the Little People of today are significantly less of a choke hazard than the simpler version of the past. Being larger and with appendages it would be a difficult feat to get in your mouth. (I tried and it was not a pleasant experience - but thats not to say a child wouldn't do it.)
Cleaning: Do not immerse this toy in water or the sounds will no longer work - just ask Epinions member Maggsmomm. If you need to clean it - use a not too damp cloth (soap and water) or a baby wipe.