Many train-loving children are also engineers and builders in waiting – enjoying playing with the likes of Duplo and Lego as well. My boys are. What then would we make of a toy that brings together wooden trains with either of the plastic bricks?
My two kids – Zachary, 6.5 and Jacob, 2.5 – and I are well renowned for our elaborate bridge and tunnel systems with our ambition only ever being outdone by gravity. Things get rickety. So when I came across the Dreamup Toys Wooden Railway Block Platform, which joins wooden tracks (Brio, Bigjigs and so on) to building blocks (Lego, Duplo, or Lego compatible like K’nex) I asked if the Connecticut-based, family-run company if they’d send me a sample to tell people in the UK about. They agreed.
Like many of the best ideas, it is a simple one. It’s the same size as a Duplo 8×8 plate but a track runs through the middle instead. At either end therefore a wooden railway can connect, whether that be flat track or a rising piece to make a bridge.
Dreamup Toys platform and Duplo
I started off playing with Jacob and Duplo. The Duplo fits onto the platform really well and because the blocks are so large you can start building things in no time. I started him off by building some basic walls next to the track and soon we had a roof on it to make a tunnel. We then switched one wall to the large Duplo doors because Jacob wanted to see the trains going through. After that we carried on building a tower until we had the below picture.
I’d had a nagging question in the back of my mind: would this really make any difference to just building a tunnel over the track as we’d done many times before. The answer was absolutely yes when it came to stability. So if you and the kids want to build complex tunnels over your tracks this is a great way of doing it.
Bridges and tunnels
The next step I really wanted to try out. It was all very well having the track on the floor but what about building a bridge and tunnel combination. I couldn’t see straight away how the ends of the track would attach to the Dreamup Toys platform. The magic happens when you place a block underneath the hole or peg. Here I found that the wider that block could be the more supportive it was, especially for the hole end. My early efforts weren’t strong enough for when a toddler pushed a train over it.
We soon had, however, our original tunnel come tower so it was a bridge with a tunnel running perpendicular underneath. Jacob loved it and insisted I drove my train one way, while he drove the other.
When I left him to it, it was great to watch him making up stories about the people behind the Duplo doors getting on the Brio train.
Zachary insisted on sticking with the Duplo for a while. When he’d read the packet he’d thought of the word platform as meaning building a railway platform. We ran with that idea and built York. Although I subsequently realised our creation could arguably have been made without the Dreamup Toys platform, having it had inspired us to be more creative. Further I think that numerous other station and platforms we build in the future would make use of it better.
We then set about seeing how tall we could build a bridge based on one of the Dreamup Toys platforms. You can see the result below which was pretty high, yet still really stable.
As I was only sent one platform (UK buyers can buy in sets of two or four) it was hard to judge how effective multiple units were together but judging by the images below (Dreamup Toys encourages people to share their creations on Pinterest, Facebook or its website), it works well.
Turning to Lego
Finally, I asked Zachary to try out his Lego. Although the top of the platform looks like a normal Duplo, the studs are hollow so that lego bricks like 2x2s and 2x4s join on. He decided to build another station. He was a bit frustrated that a door he wanted to add on wouldn’t fit at the bottom, but other than that he enjoyed building it. I can see him getting a lot more creative as he grows older, meaning this is a toy that will last from 2 through most primary school ages.
One slight issue with Lego on the platforms is that they can be a bit loose. This doesn’t really affect things once you get beyond the first couple of layers, however.
Where to buy Dreamup Toys platforms?
As far as I can see, no UK retailers stock the Dreamup Toys platforms so your only option is to buy direct from their website. A set of two is basically $32 with postage, packing and tax which at current rates is going to come in around £21, while a set of four is $56.50 or a bit over £36.
Overall, the Wooden Railway Block Platform is an excellent concept, made well and can inspire a lot of creativity in children of many ages.
Dreamup Toys supplied me with a sample but all views are my own. Certain links above take you to Amazon’s website should you wish to buy one of the products. I earn a small commission without any cost to you for my work if you use these links – which will be used to take two train-loving boys to Japan.
Share this Post
Would your kids enjoy building bridges, tunnels and stations with these? Let us know below.
Thanks for reading. You may also like to read the Wooden Train Set Guide