model train set on track

Attention Parents: Here’s How to Get Your Kids Started With Toy Trains!

Before signing kids up for our Youth Clubs, many parents often wonder how to get started the right way for the youngest toy train enthusiasts and kids who are just beginning to express an interest in the collecting hobby. Perhaps you are unfamiliar with trains, but your child has fallen in love. Where should you start? 

The answer is right here! This page is your introductory resource to some of the best information on the toy train hobby for kids. Browse our collection of music, puzzles, jokes, facts about toy trains, and so much more. Better yet? Make a plan to visit the National Toy Train Museum in Strasburg, PA as a family! 


The following links provide listings of some of our favorite train-related activities to spark kids’ growing interest in trains! 

For Kids Under 6 

Does your child’s room already look like a train museum? If not, decorating with train photos and memorabilia is a great way to support their interest. You can also listen to songs about trains, learn about train whistle signals, and so much more. 

Did you know? Train Facts & Whistle Signals 

Fun Train Activities 

Songs about Trains 

Suggested Reading & Viewing: Books & Videos About Trains 

For Older Kids 

The best way to support your older child’s train interest? Don’t delay in signing up for our free TCA Youth Clubs! We can help your school-age kid or teen develop their passion for toy trains in many ways—including getting to know other people their age who enjoy the same hobby! 

More Ideas for Kids & Families 

Discover a local train store 

One of the best ways to get started with the toy train hobby at any age is to visit a local toy train shop. There you’ll find lots of toy trains and equipment. More importantly, you’ll find people who love toy trains and are happy to share their ideas and knowledge. If you don’t have a toy train store nearby, you can check out our Museum Shop online. 

Ask around your community 

The Train Collectors Associations has Divisions & Chapters covering nearly every square mile of the USA, and we can help you locate seasoned train collectors in your area. You will find that right in your community, there are lots of people with toy train layouts in their houses—but you may not find them unless you ask around. 

Subscribe to train magazines and online resources

Wondering what some of the best train magazines and other resources are for collectors? These are a few of our favorites: 

  • World’s Greatest Hobby is a great place to find lots of information about toy trains and the leading manufacturers. It also has links to many major toy train manufacturers and other railroad hobby organizations that sponsor the site, plus lists of model train clubs, hobby shops, frequently asked questions, and more. 
  • CLASSIC TOY TRAINS is the magazine of Lionel, MTH, K-Line, American Flyer, and other toy trains manufactured from today back to 1900. In the pages of CLASSIC TOY TRAINS, you’ll find information about building, operating and enhancing toy train layouts, track plans, repair and maintenance tips, profiles of collectible postwar and prewar trains, and more.  
  • Model Railroader features step-by-step products, fascinating photo tours of layouts, insightful reviews, tips from the experts, and much more.  
  • Railroad Model Craftsmen provides monthly tips on model railroading, lists books you can order, and offers great information about the hobby. Carsten Publications also put out other material on real trains. 
  • Greenberg’s Books, published by Kalmbach Publishing, cover a wide array of toy train information, with a special focus on toy train history, Lionel trains, operation and repair, and price guides. 

We also invite you to get in touch with our professional staff at the National Toy Train Library to learn more about the resources we have in-house! 

Visit Us in “Train City USA” 

Did you know that TCA headquarters and the National Toy Train Museum are located in a train enthusiast’s dream community in Southcentral Pennsylvania? Kids and adults alike love to visit us! 

Our hometown of Strasburg, PA, is known as “Train City” because it is also the home to the historic Strasburg Rail Road, the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, and the Choo-Choo Barn. You can spend an entire day here enjoying trains of all kinds! And, if you choose to stay overnight at the Red Caboose Motel—with accommodations in real caboose cars—you can continue your train-themed trip around the clock! 

Get In Touch 

Our TCA Members worldwide are always eager to share the toy train hobby with young enthusiasts and their families. Find out who our Youth Clubs coordinator is for your local area on this page. Or, simply get in touch with us at TCA Headquarters and let us know how we can help connect you with other train collectors.