The 15 best Lego sets for kids
The best Lego sets aren't just the ones that will make your kids squeal with delight once they see the box. The true mark is how they put it together and how long they enjoy it once the initial building is done. Most sets give a blueprint with simple, step-by-step instructions. While some kids follow these instructions to the letter, others see them as guidelines and free-build their way to something completely unique.
"The beauty of Lego is that you can do both: you can slavishly follow the set instructions, one step at a time, or you can chuck them aside and create something entirely new," says Dr. Jon Sutton, a Lego enthusiast and the managing editor of "The Psychologist" for the British Psychological Society. "Some people bemoan the fact that the sets [are] more about building the latest movie tie-in than it used to be. I'm not sure I agree: it's good for kids to have the opportunity to do both set and free-building, and in my experience they do. And when I see how my boys play with Lego — together, constructively, literally building on each other's ideas — it makes all the money I've spent on Legos feel worthwhile!"
While the branded sets come and go based on popularity of movies and licensed characters, the best ones are the free-building sets that keep kids and adults coming back, according to Karen Nolan, who handles public relations for Lego.
"Lego City, Lego Friends, Lego Star Wars, Lego Duplo and Lego Classic have been some of our best sellers this year — in fact, year over year," Nolan says.
Pick up some of those top toys, or try one of these best Lego sets for kids.
1. Lego Juniors Fire Suitcase
The Lego Juniors Fire Suitcase is a great carrying case for fun with vehicles and mini figures on the go.
Where to buy: Lego Juniors Fire Suitcase ($38, Amazon)
2. Lego Juniors Pirate Treasure Hunt Set
Kids get a quick start and lots of imaginative play options with the Lego Juniors Pirate Treasure Hunt Set.
Where to buy: Lego Juniors Pirate Treasure Hunt Set (Walmart, $10)
3. Lego Classic Medium Creative Brick Box
Start your kids' collection with the 484 assorted pieces, a storage box and building ideas found in the Lego Classic Medium Creative Brick Box.
Where to buy: Lego Classic Medium Creative Brick Box (Amazon, $28)
4. Lego Education Community Mini Figures
Created for the school setting, the Lego Education Community Mini Figures set satisfies even the most Lego-obsessed kid out there, letting them build their own people to populate all of their worlds.
Where to buy: Lego Education Community Mini Figures (Amazon, $50)
5. Lego Education Vehicles Set
Start at the beginning with all the transportation vehicles your children can imagine in this 934-piece Lego Education Vehicles Set. At just over $100, the price tag seems hefty but you'll never have to buy a Lego City set again.
Where to buy: Lego Education Vehicles Set (Amazon, $120)
6. Lego Friends Heartlake Shopping Mall
A complete experience for hours of building and pretend play, the Lego Friends Heartlake Shopping Mall is perfect for a kid who's into shopping.
Where to buy: Lego Friends Heartlake Shopping Mall (Amazon, $250)
7. Lego City Camper Van
Imagination and adventure await with the Lego City Camper Van, which also comes with a canoe.
Where to buy: Lego City Camper Van (Amazon, $70)
8. Lego Magikus Board Game
Build and play the best Lego Magikus Board Game, which also happens to be magic-themed.
Where to buy: Lego Magikus Board Game (Walmart, $15)
9. Lego Superheroes Batman: Man-Bat Attack
Every Batman fan needs a Batcopter and Batman figure. The Lego Superheroes Batman: Man-Bat Attack comes complete with villains and a crisis scenario.
Where to buy: Lego Superheroes Batman: Man-Bat Attack (Amazon, $55)
10. Lego Creator Treehouse 3-in-1
Treehouse, lakeside hut, farmyard barn -- let the kids decide with the Lego Creator Treehouse 3-in-1.
Where to buy: Lego Creator Treehouse 3-in-1 (Walmart, $25)
11. Lego Creator Power Mech
The Lego Creator Power Mech features 3-in-1 transformation from a giant robot to a helicopter and a pickup truck.
Where to buy: Lego Creator Power Mech (Amazon, $80)
12. Lego Superheroes Knowhere Escape Building Set
Kids dig deep into "Guardians of the Galaxy" with the Lego Superheroes Knowhere Escape Building Set. It includes a trap door, catapult, poseable figures and lots of weaponry.
Where to buy: Lego Superheroes Knowhere Escape Building Set (Amazon, $79)
13. Lego Star Wars AT-AT Set
Fans of Star Wars will love creating their own interactive armored snow vehicle, complete with weapons and snow troopers, in the Lego Star Wars AT-AT set.
Where to buy: Lego Star Wars AT-AT Set (Amazon, $420)
14. Lego Mindstorms Robotics Invention System
The hefty cost prices this amazing programmable Lego Mindstorms Robotics Invention System kit off the mass market but it pops up in schools and organizations for an introduction to robotics.
Where to buy: Lego Mindstorms Robotics Invention System (Walmart, $583)
15. Lego Master Builder Academy Set Robot & Micro Designer
This set helps your kid become a master builder with handbooks filled with tips and tricks from the actual designers at Lego.
Where to buy: Lego Master Builder Academy Set Robot & Micro Designer (Amazon, $150)
"Lego is so easy to put together that even very young children can do it," says Dr. Sutton. "Immediately they are in a world of order and chaos, rules and no rules, where a collection of simple studded bricks can become a dragon, a racing car or a double-decker couch!"
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