If there’s one universal toy that nearly every child enjoys, it’s a set of LEGO blocks. The colorful snap-together bricks can keep kids busy building anything that comes to mind, for hours at a time. Plus, different packs can mimic worlds from your child’s favorite movie or TV show. Some of the best LEGO sets allow for creativity and exploration of children’s imaginations.
LEGO blocks are great for developing fine-motor skills in younger builders. Plus, researchers at Purdue University say that preschool children who spend time in semi-structured block play, experience improvement in two important skills for their jump to kindergarten: mathematics and executive functioning. Interestingly, the researchers noted that children whose parents had attained a lower educational level benefited the most in the areas of numeracy, cognitive flexibility and global executive functioning. The findings are preliminary, but point to the benefits of semi-structured block play and indicate that it might be a beneficial instructional tool in all preschool classrooms.
As for older kids, building with blocks can be a fun way to learn basic engineering skills. It takes a bit of ingenuity to make sure those LEGO creations stand tall. In fact, many schools are incorporating LEGO blocks into STEM class curriculums. And, with all of the negative side effects of excess screen time like ADHD, anxiety and aggression, this hands-on play is a great way to peel their little eyes from tablets and television screens.
Sounds like a win-win! Looking to invest in a few starter sets to get your kids interested? Look no further. StudyFinds compiled a list of the top five best LEGO sets for kids based on reviews from ten expert websites. As always, we’d like to see your own recommendations in the comments below!
The List: Best LEGO Sets for Kids, According to Experts
1. LEGO Classic Creative Brick Box
Starting at around $30, this big yellow box of mixed LEGO parts will stretch your child’s imagination. The Classic Creative Brick Box comes in several sizes, but most reviewers suggest going with the medium-sized box with 484 bricks.
“The Medium Creative Brick Box is an excellent gateway for a person who is completely new to LEGO. The Box has a good mixture of every major piece type and color, and it gives you some preliminary, simple builds to teach basic technique,” according to IGN. “There are 33 different colors in the set, and in addition to standard bricks, you also get baseplates, windows, doors, wheels, and eyes,” adds The Spruce.
LEGO suggests this set is great for ages four to 99! So, it’s for basically everyone. “Though there are a few instructions for small models you can make with those pieces, this set is much more about letting your kid be creative and make whatever they want. That’s especially important at early ages,” notes Experienced Mommy.
If you have a toddler, keep an eye out for the chunkier version of this set. The LEGO Duplo Creative Brick Box is bright green, and costs about the same amount.
2. LEGO City Space Mars Research Shuttle
You can snag this out-of-this-world LEGO set for about $60. “Kids who are interested in space exploration will love this set featuring a space shuttle and mars rover. It also includes 2 figurines that will make your kids imaginary space exploration exciting,” according to MommyThrives.
This set contains 273 pieces. Reviewers note it’s a pretty painless build. According to Experienced Mommy, “The rover has a solar panel and can actually pick up the geode piece to deliver back to the shuttle. The shuttle is 9 inches long and 8 inches wide, so that’s a decent size. It also has cool details, like a cockpit and a lab for an astronaut to work.”
“Parts like the cockpit roof and wings come in large, preformed pieces, so you’re not spending a lot of time building the actual body of the shuttle. The larger pieces are easier to handle for younger kids (the set is rated as appropriate for ages 5 and up), but due to its interactive elements and realistic design, we think it will please kids all the way up to 12,” points out The New York Times.
3. LEGO 3-in-1 Creator Mighty Dinosaurs Set
For a very budget-friendly $11.99, you too can build your very own prehistoric creature. “While it’s a perfect STEM toy to include in your list of awesome dinosaur activities for kids, it’s also a pretty fun toy in its own right, with each prehistoric creature featuring fully movable joints, claws, and mouths, ensuring lots of creative play for hours to come,” according to Mombrite.
Recommended for kids ages seven to 12, this set contains 174 pieces. MommyThrives points out, “you can build 3 different dinosaurs with just one set. This set builds a T-Rex, a Triceratops, and a Pterodactyl.”
4. LEGO Duplo My First Number Train
This colorful Duplo set is for toddlers who are learning to count. “This kit will not only help their motor skills through constructing the train but will also teach them their 1,2,3’s. Numeracy lessons will immediately become more interactive with this colorful train and its accompanying characters,” according to Gathered.
The set is recommended for ages one and a half and up. It comes with 23 large pieces and costs $19.99. “The chunky number blocks help with early number recognition and there are endless building combinations to keep construction fans entertained,” adds MadeForMums.
5. LEGO City Wildlife Rescue Operation
This 525-piece animal-themed set is for children ages six and up. “Packed with awesome features, kids will love playing with the winch helicopter and a tracked vehicle as they navigate the cool landslide function and make visits to the wildlife veterinary station. A snapping crocodile, an elephant family, a monkey and a rescue team all come together to complete the set,” according to USA Today.
Care.com notes, “this is one of the best Lego sets for kids. It takes a little skill to build, but it ends up being the ideal set-up for open-ended play for kids of a variety of ages.” This set is on the more expensive side. You can find it for about $70.
Experienced Mommy also loves the many other rescue-themed sets like dolphin rescue, fire rescue and a ski resort where you can act in emergency situations.
You might also be interested in:
- The Spruce
- Experienced Mommy
- The New York Times
- USA Today
Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This post may contain affiliate links.