As a teenager I babysat for two sweet girls. Their family was not rich– we lived outside of a small town in Washington state– but their mother was a master of fun, and those girls always had interesting toys to play with. Every once in awhile we would pull out the bin of Brio wooden train tracks and would spend the better part of the afternoon crafting a track and then rolling the trains over our creation. Sometimes the track would stretch through most of their mobile home. Their collection was undoubtedly amassed throughout their childhood through birthdays and Christmases.
Brio trains provide endless hours of fun for a wide range of ages, are gender-neutral, and can be passed down to the next generation. These are often imitated, but beware cost-cutting measures in imitations, such as plastic connectors, that may shorten the lifespan of the tracks. When buying, look for tracks that are all-wood (especially those sets that are just wood track pieces) and trains that are wood-and-metal.