Are you looking for a great starter Lego set for a small beginner?
Lego is, without question, one of the best toys for kids ever to be invented. In fact, on a recent poll it has been voted as the number one toy of all time. It's so easy to see why - it is versatile, fun and encourages creativity and imagination. Playing with Lego can help to develop a young child's fine motor skills, and children can play with it for hours. There is no end to the things you can build with these colored bricks. In fact, in our house it has proved to be the most played with toy we have ever had due to its unlimited play value. My oldest child has so far spent 6 years constructing increasingly intricate Lego models, and my youngest son, aged just 3, is beginning to follow suite. The issue is, that although the Duplo range caters for 2 - 5 year olds, my little one is fixated on playing with the 'big boys Lego' (I will admit that he likes to copy his brother). This article is intended to highlight some of the best 'big' beginner Lego sets available for young children. Every child has to start somewhere, and below I have detailed the sets that I believe are the best for little hands starting out on a childhood voyage of building.
Liitle Kids love the Big Kid's Toys
I decided to review the best first Lego sets for young children after watching my almost-three-year-old concentrating on building a 'lorry' with one of his brother's sets. My youngest has a big box of Duplo, but - as I mentioned - this has been deemed much less interesting than the 'proper' stuff. Although standard Lego is advertised as suitable from age 4+ for the most basic sets, my son has a great time constructing vehicles using this small 'big boy's' set. Undoubtedly, the end result does not look very much like the picture on the box. But hey, who cares? His 'lorry' has wheels and moves along and he is always very proud of it, no matter how it turns out. And isn't that what counts in the end? Besides, creativity and inventiveness should always be encouraged,in my book.
My overview is based in part upon my own search for Lego gifts for my youngest son's imminent birthday, as although his older brother does already have a huge collection, much of it is designed for much older builders (7 - 8+). Also, at the age of 10 he has all the sets mixed up now, as he likes to use his combined sets to build his own advanced (and very imaginative) models using all the special features found in the older sets.
Lego for Boys or Girls?
Lego is loved by both boys and girls - when choosing a child's very first Lego set, you could either go for the basic starter set such as the Blue or Pink Brick Set (detailed below), or a set with a theme, like the airport building set. Boys will probably enjoy the vehicle based sets - my 3 year old son, although he does not even meet the minimum suggested age, can produce quite realistic looking cars with Lego as long as he has 2 sets of wheels and a long base to fix them onto. The rest he just kind of builds up on the top and he is happy.
Lego sets for older children are often heavily based on following instructions to achieve the end result - however, younger children have not yet developed this skill unless it is extremely simple. That is why simple sets are best for small children starting out, in order to prevent frustration. My son loves wheels and so I intend to purchase one of the vehicle building sets for his birthday next month. My oldest son's first set was the Blue Brick Set, which we still have today. This contains all the necessary basics for starting out on a long journey of Lego building. There is a Pink Brick set designed to appeal to little girls, and you can purchase either set in either standard or large. Boys often prefer more vehicle based sets, while girls tend to enjoy making things like houses. The great thing about Lego is that it can be added to and expanded over the years.
Lego Brick Boxes - Ideal for Beginners
These are the basic Lego sets to get your child started (see right). The sets include doors, windows, flowers and trees - plus lots and lots of bricks to kickstart young imaginations. The Blue Brick Box is the very same set my oldest son started out with - the box itself makes a very handy storage container for the Lego. It is big enough to accommodate an expanding collection - we still have ours but it is crammed very full now and the lid doesn't fit! Compared to the size of the box there does not seem all that many Lego bricks inside when you open it (221 pieces). However, for really young children it is enough - sometimes too many pieces can become a little daunting.
The Ultimate Building Set (also pictured right) would make an excellent alternative starter set if you are willing to pay a little bit more. This set contains the usual starter pieces, but also includes additional pieces such as wheels. There are 405 pieces here - almost twice the amount of the smaller set. Because of the option to build vehicles or a helicopter (such as those detailed on the front of the box) this set may very well appeal to a little boy - more so than the cheaper box which does not contain such pieces.
Both of the Pink Brick Boxes are perfect for little girls - the cheaper set is the basic starter set and the large box is an expansion of the smaller set.
Lego Sets with Vehicles and Wheels
The Road Construction Set is a great beginner set for boys - most boys love anything with wheels and so will be in their element. Your child can make a truck, front loader, steamroller, plus more - a minifigure is also included. If your child is very young help might be needed assembling the vehicles. There are also some very small pieces contained within the set.
At the time of writing this article (Feb 2011) the price of the Road Construction Set on Amazon seems quite expensive, so the Airport Building Set would make a less expensive alternative. I know my little boy would love this just as much - in fact I am certainly tempted to get it for him. He loves wheels, and this set has 15 of them, along with propellers, a pilot and worker minifigures. There are 310 pieces with this set, which is more or less identical to the Road Construction Set, so at the time of writing it is better value for a very similar type of toy.
My Lego Town - Great for either Girls or Boys
I love this set - it has enough features to appeal to either a girl or a boy. It has the housey type of bricks that girls often like, but also wheels and a propeller which will attract little boys.
The set is quite large with 516 pieces. There are 2 minifigures, roof tiles, windows, doors, windshields, wheels and steering wheels for creating vehicles, a propeller for building a helicopter, flowers, fences, a crate, a mailbox plus letters (we have one of these and it is quite popular), and a clock.
This would make a lovely first Lego set for any young child.
Alternative Lego Sets for Young Children
Unsuitable for Under 3's
Please note that although I have detailed the Lego on this page as ideal for a child's first set, all products are listed as suitable for age 4+. Sets can typically contain extremely small pieces which make them unsuitable for children under 3 because of the risk of choking.
If you are looking for Lego for toddlers, then Duplo is recommended from age 2+.
LEGOdomenick on June 11, 2014:
I loved LEGO as a kid, enjoy them as am adult and can't wait till my child and I can build with them together.
Eleanor's Words (author) from Far and Wide on February 19, 2011:
Hi Trish, yes Lego has been a favorite for so long now - and such a simple idea as well! Thanks for reading and commenting :)
Tricia Mason from The English Midlands on February 18, 2011:
I agree! Lego is a brilliant 'toy'. I loved it when I was a child ~ as did my younger brother ~ and my children also loved it.