Do you have them make it themselves? I do admit; I have bought more tracks and engines then I would like to admit. And Jack did use his piggy bank money to buy the bridge set. But they had just finished watching Thomas and wanted a station. I am home sick with Bronchitis right now, so I wasn't up to running out to the store (no matter who paid).
Remembering that back in the day, we used to make our own toys, I suggested we paint our own station. We found an old box (probably got a freebie in it). We dug out my old paints (like 6 years old). And we fished out our painting shirts (notice those were freebies too). They got started right away. They decided on red for the roof, blue for the walls, and yellow for the windows.
One neat thing about the (box) station is that the "door" opens and closes. oooooh aaaaaah. What is the best part of our station creation? That it was free? That the boys were creative? That we worked on colors and shapes while they painted? The best part.... well, you'll just have to ask them. They're in the playroom right now, still playing with it.
Even little engines can do big things.