What are the best LEGO sets?
The following is a curated list of LEGO Sets favored by age.
LEGO Sets are a great investment in your child’s education.
In one single play session kids are learning about organization, responsibility, clean up, reading comprehension (pictures & diagrams), number sense (counting & matching 1:1), fine motor skills practice, visual spatial thinking and beginning engineering.
This post reviews LEGO sets by age for home educators with a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) theme in mind. LEGO offers appropriate choices for all ages, many sets can be re-purposed or re-used literally for generations. Depending on how creative you want to get they can be used to teach nearly anything.
When picking out a set is to keep in mind the child’s interests, age and ability.
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LEGO Sets INFANT: 12 Months & up
LEGO’s Quatro bricks are twice the size of the DUPLO Blocks and quadruple the size of regular LEGO’s. The larger size makes them easier to grasp and less of a choking hazard. They are compatible with LEGO DUPLO and are supposed to be compatible with regular LEGO’s but I have not tried it.
NOTE: If you’re not sure about a purchasing a set check Brickset. It is an online Community that discusses and rates LEGO sets. It is NOT affiliated with LEGO but seems to be a good resource. Last time I checked it was free to sign up, you just enter your email list.
Ideas for Play:
- Free Play (explore on their own)
- Sort or Transfer blocks (using a re-purposed baby wipe container and tongs or just pick them up and transfer with their hands)
- Color (sort by and build all blue, purple or orange,etc structures)
- Group play (invite siblings, cousins or playmates to explore the bricks together)
- Mix with other sets to build more elaborate creations
LEGO DUPLO Sets
TODDLER: ages 1.5 +
Our very first step-by-step LEGO set. This one is still a favorite & is usually added to whatever set we’re currently playing with.
There are 3 vehicles and each comes with a directions card (on card stock). I stored these in their own zip lock containers with lids and the direction cards. This was his first transition into “big boy” LEGOs and he LOVED the moving parts. For under $20 it’s an excellent value for the price.
My son (now 4) still plays with these! We first built them step-by-step (mostly me those first few months). He even slept with them!
Ideas for Play:
- Build together using the direction cards (we “read” the pictures)
- Design and build your own vehicles
- Pretend play
- Talking about what you’re building helps Language Development
- Host a LEGO play-date
PRESCHOOL LEGO Sets: Ages 2.5-4
Around 3 years old I noticed my son really loved to role play and started to use characters in his pretend play.
We picked up the Family House Set (below) to help add another dimension to his builds. It helped open up the language component that LEGOs can offer (making up a story and draw about it, when there is an interest to draw). We use a journal to write (draw) what we are learning about.
The photo does not do this award wining set justice! This set comes with cars, slides and a carnival-like swing, people, etc. There are enough bricks to make a carnival or fair. Lesson plans are included for the LEGO_steam_park_.
All of the LEGO Education sets come with lesson plans which are available online at Lego Education.
This set is for kids ages 4-6 who love kitchen play!
Ideas for Play:
- Independently build a café. We took turns “reading” the pictures together finding the pieces we need and letting him build it. MODEL this more if you notice your little one needs more support.
- Design and build your own café foods to use in your own pretend café!
- Draw & write about what you build
- Pretend play ( Open-ended café ). You extend or introduce this play by drawing your ideas.
- Host a LEGO or STEM play-date
- Cooperative play (play with others and work toward a common goals
- Parallel Play (play beside but not yet with others)
TK- KINDERGARTEN LEGO Sets- ages 4-6
Kindergarten is a great age to introduce the creative bricks sets and let them creatively build. In this section I will leave off the ideas for play simply because most of these are kits and come with instructions or suggested activities.
The following is a curated list of LEGO Sets favored by kids ages 4-6:
ENGINEERING TOYS FOR KIDS:
This set is similar to DUPLO and is a more advanced version of the my first cars and trucks set. It has great Lesson Plans & Resources available online and S.T.E.M. extensions. This one is on our Christmas list this year!
This set is a programmable train set. It’s designed as an introduction for preschoolers to learn coding. There are 4 screen free lessons & 4 lessons using an optional app. This set is designed for children ages 2-5 and can support up to 6 children at a time.
Introduces kids to engineering and computational thinking principals in a kid-friendly way.
LEGO Robot Sets
There are several robots offered that range in price from $15- $350.
LEGO COLLECTION SETS
These are some of the most popular LEGO collection sets. Each collection has building sets from small (lower number of pieces), medium and large (higher number of pieces) using the same theme.
These sets are great story starters or writing prompts, STEM build projects where kids create a solution to solve a common problem using the LEGO sets. The sky is the limit!
There are several LEGO Friends sets, however, most of the Friends line is designed for girls. The amusement park appeals to both boys and girls ages 8-12.
Similar to the Friends Collection there are MANY Star wars sets. The price goes WAY up when they are discontinued.
This collection is jaw-dropping and super cool way to incorporate Social Studies and History concepts. These sets are more complex and designed for older children yet a younger LEGO buff could work on it long-term with adult support.
Still need help picking out the perfect LEGO educator set?
Here are a few other tips for picking out a set:
- Does your LEGO maniac like to build step-by-step with pictures? The sets that make something specific (like a dragon, race car or carousel) are best. You can always get creative and build something else later but not all kids can build the tricked out car or fire-breathing dragon without the directions.
- For kids who love to create and are less concerned about directions I recommend the Classic Building assorted sets (see TK-Kindergarten section).
- Those who have never played with LEGOs I recommend a simple & age-appropriate set based on their interests (the Cafe set is SUPER popular)!