Lego has something for everyone: with the opportunity to build and play, build and display or build and use, it’s a toy that engages a child’s mind long beyond that first moment of excitement when the box has been opened.
There are frequent new releases and ranges to captivate an ever-increasing range of ages and interests, with Duplo blocks for tiny toddler hands to grapple with through to the latest Vidiyo launch, which taps into children’s desire to create their own video content – as well as building.
Of course, parents also like Lego because we know how beneficial it can be for developing minds, helping children with counting skills and colours, concentration and focus, cultivating fine motor skills and even building up strength in certain muscles.
“Designing and creating their own objects aids their imagination as well as helping them set a goal and then experience how satisfying perseverance and achieving something can be. If they are following instructions, doing so involves organisation skills, planning and critical thinking; this is all helping develop neural connections in their frontal lobes,” explains Dr Hayley van Zwanenberg, a consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist based in Oxford.
“If they play with Lego alongside others, they learn to share and cooperate with each other; the start of teamworking. At the end of it all, they get to practise tidying up!”
We’ve spent at least a day each weekend, mornings before school and afternoons since January playing the below sets with our testers, aged between three and 10-years-old, and concluded that these are the best Lego projects for kids to build on their own, or to spend a weekend making together as a family.
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Lego creator townhouse pet shop and café
We know how important value-for-money buys are for parents, so one of our top criteria when testing was to see which sets the kids returned to time and time again. Lego Creator builds are ideal for igniting a child’s imagination over and over, allowing kids the opportunity to build pirate ships, space rovers and beach huts (at least) three different ways.
We purchased the Townhouse as a Christmas gift for a child and, months later, it continues to delight as a building and role-play toy. This set ticks a lot of other boxes too: it’s fun to build – in every iteration – engaging kids as young as three with features like a hot dog stand. Our particularly Lego-obsessed five-year-old tester constructed it, but it’s an equally fun toy which appeals to those in the seven-12 age range and beyond (the townhouse-pet shop-café/bank/market street set is also super-popular with adults). In fact, hardcore fans advise buying three of these, so you can construct your own city with all of the buildings up at the same time.
Another aspect that we particularly enjoyed is the versatility of this set: it has all of the pieces you’ll need to build your own inspired city essentials if you fancy going off-book, including three minifigures. The attention to detail is fantastic, with plenty of "wow factor" little touches (sliding windows, shop signage, etc). We like that it gets kids experimenting with two and three-story structures.
Lego Ideas Winnie the Pooh
The charm of Winnie the Pooh translates beautifully into this stunning Lego set, which contains 1265 pieces, five characters and plenty of beautifully rendered details that help to bring the Hundred Acre Wood to life, from bees buzzing around a hive to the "Hunny" pot to Pooh’s very own box of "Poohsticks". The idea for this set was originally submitted by superfan Ben Alder – inspiring in itself – and is geared to adults looking for a nostalgia fix as much as their children.
Over a weekend, we built it side-by-side with our five-year-old tester and it’s one of our more joyful lockdown 3.0 memories. The finished product consists of a dramatic tree with Pooh’s house beneath, which can be closed as a lovely display piece and opened for playtime. Did we mention the detail is superb? Pooh’s cottage is full of all sorts of charming knickknacks A.A. Milne fans will recognise. This has kept us smiling for weeks on end as the builder and various siblings keep returning to play with it.
Lego City community town centre
This comprehensive City playset is one of the best of the bunch, and took about five weekday afternoons for our five-year-old Lego obsessive to assemble. It provides endless entertainment once it’s built, especially thanks to the road plates, which are perfect for smooth drives with various Lego vehicles. Even better, you can buy more road plates to connect to it to keep expanding your playing universe.
This set includes an EV charging station, car wash, recycling station, pizza restaurant, martial arts dojo, park with kids’ play zone (and even a very cute-looking baby) and numerous vehicles, like a recycling truck, police bike, fire motorbike and a blue car – all inspired by the Lego City Adventures TV show. An “Instructions PLUS” feature on this set means you can download the free app for 3D instructions and help, although we found it very straightforward. It also makes a great backdrop for other toys to come into play; we’ve noticed various toy cars and Polly Pockets getting involved in the scene.
Lego Friends heartlake city organic café
Lego Friends sets can sometimes be considered problematic by parents who worry that they reinforce gender stereotypes with their themes and colour choices. However, given our co-reviewing demographic is female, we can attest that there is plenty more that appeals in this particular set than causes offence (in fact, this café feels perfectly innocuous, and inspired hours of role-play). This café belongs to Mia, a character known for being the “adventurous” Friend, we’re reliably informed by our eight-year-old co-reviewer.
The set includes boy and girl mini-figures and can be built in less than a couple of hours. It will continue to be played with for far longer: the café isn’t just a place to enjoy a sandwich and a smoothie; it’s designed to showcase eco-possibilities for kids, with a garden for growing your own vegetables, a recycling/composting area, and a bike for emission-free juice deliveries. In addition, there’s seating and a kitchen area, a coffee bar, and the set can be played with from the front or back. It’s also easy to integrate different Lego minifigures and characters into this set. It’s recommended for ages five through eight.
Lego Harry Potter Hogwarts astronomy tower
With 971 pieces, eight characters (plus Hedwig) and a striking facade of magical turrets, the Hogwarts Astronomy Tower will most definitely impress (it’s one the kids will want to keep on display after they’ve finished it). Our testers are obsessed with this set; it’s one of the few builds we’ve done that engaged the whole family, who loved how every detail was so recognisable from the Harry Potter films. Inside the tower, there’s Potion Master Horace Slughorn’s classroom and Ravenclaw’s common room, with details like a moving bookshelf, a separate greenhouse with mandrake plants, a striking telescope, and a tray overflowing with party food, with characters including Harry, Ron, Hermione, Draco, Luna Lovegood and Neville Longbottom.
It’s also a satisfying and quick build (we managed it in a couple of afternoons) far easier than the comparably priced Hogwarts Great Hall. Visually striking, it measures 15 inches high, so will delight kids on its own, or you can connect it to one of the other Hogwarts sets. Architecturally speaking, this is undoubtedly one of the more impressive Harry Potter sets we’ve come across.
Lego Star Wars The Mandalorian the child
Lego Star Wars sets have been delighting children – and, let’s be honest, adults – since 1999, and the range continues to expand with the new Mandalorian series. This adorable Baby Yoda (Grogu) figurine has moveable ears, mouth, head and fingers, and his beloved gear knob is also included, as is a plaque with a mini figurine and information about the character. Our eight-year-old reviewer built this across a few afternoons after school, without any adult help, but notes it’s “tricky” and it might not appeal to kids younger than seven.
It takes quite a lot of discipline and repetition to assemble the structural interior of Baby Yoda’s body, and you’re mostly working in shades of brown, grey and green. The head is the most fun to make, according to our builder (it’s also truly adorable). Overall, this is one we’d recommend for the avid builder/Star Wars collector rather than the novice. We’d also suggest this one to adult fans, who will love displaying it as part of their collection on a shelf or mantlepiece. It makes for charming kids’ room decor, too.
Lego Dots secret holder
Lego Dots is a fairly recent addition to the Lego family that we personally think is fantastic: the flat bricks are designed to appeal to crafty kids who like the DIY aspect and endless creativity afforded (you can make and remake the toys in new patterns and styles every time). Best of all, these are all creations that turn from fun to functional, for a child’s room or desk: there are jewellery holders, pencil pots and “secret holders” like this one, which can transform into a dog or cat and features hidden compartments for trinkets (hair ties, notes, pencils) as well as space for a photo clasped by a paw at the front.
This set of 451 pieces comes in a handy storage box, with extra tiles which can be used for decorating, and appeals to a wide range of ages. Tweens will like having these on desks; five-year-olds will enjoy playing with them as toys.
Lego Duplo my first animal train
It can be frustrating for younger siblings who are forbidden from going near choking-hazard sized Lego pieces to watch their older brothers and sisters build and play Lego, which is why chunky Duplo sets are so useful. My first animal train can be played from the age of 18 months; we had a three-year-old constructing it, and we wouldn’t say it was too easy or boring (in fact, our little co-reviewer regularly plays with it now, deconstructing and reconstructing the animals).
It’s got a few things in its favour: cute animals to build, including a four-piece elephant, two-piece tiger, three-piece giraffe and two-piece panda, which you stack on wheels and then push around. As the toddler got more confident with the pieces, we noticed some delightful mix and matching, as well as an opportunity to discuss shapes and colours. The set includes building cards to help guide little ones; helpfully, the train also connects to other Duplo toys on wheels.
Lego Technic senna GTR 42123
You don’t need to be supercar-obsessed to appreciate the precision and attention to detail from Lego designers in recreating their Technic series, in collaboration with leading vehicles. We had the opportunity to build the McLaren Senna GTR racecar, which boasts a V8 engine (with moving pistons), dihedral opening doors that go up and out, a steering wheel that turns and the same colours and graphics you’ll see on the real car. It also feels like value-for-money to get this faithful recreation for under £50. The Technic series is all about unleashing your inner engineer, and we were pleased to notice our eight-year-old tester learning as she built, and beginning to compute how certain mechanisms worked in sync as she painstakingly constructed this toy.
We won’t pretend this was an easy build: it takes concentration and discipline, as well as patience (we had to start all over again from scratch after several hours’ work once we realised that some of the pieces weren’t properly aligning), however our tester’s sense of achievement and delight at each successful step was almost magnified as a result ("I’ve put on my first sticker! I’m up to the seats!") This is one of the most rewarding and challenging sets we’ve tried out. Any car fanatic – child or adult – will love this build, which measures 12" long and 3" wide, but we’re most impressed at how engaging it’s been for a child who isn’t particularly fussed by cars. Once it’s finished, it makes for impressive shelf décor.
Lego Vidiyo punk pirate beatbox
In response to kids looking for new ways to get creative over lockdown, as well as Lego‘s ambition to bring toys to life through apps (see: Hidden Side), the newest launch from the brand is the Vidiyo series, which has 12 BandMates, over 90 BeatBits and six BeatBoxes to collect. Here’s how they work: a starter set includes a BandMate, 16 BeatBits and a BeatBox, which kids construct before downloading the free Vidiyo app. The app brings their characters to life as they sing and dance along to chart-topping songs from Universal Music Group artists like The Weeknd, Diana Ross, Guns ‘N Roses and Katy Perry, to name a few. Kids choose different BeatBits to help customise their videos – these have a range of effects from making it snow to making it look like the character’s been through an X-ray.
We’ve had a lot of fun making the videos, which also let your minifigure perform as part of a band and can then be shared with followers (you can also unlock rewards by completing certain challenges). It’s a fun way to let kids get creative with music video production – especially if you want to keep them off TikTok – but you’ll want to wait until the kids can manage this on their own because it does end up being a lot of faff for parents. Every tester of ours thought this was an absolute hoot and our older two would have spent whole days playing with this... another thing you’ll want to watch out for. A screentime solution, this isn’t.
Lego Harry Potter Hogwarts Moments potions class
Harry Potter Hogwarts Moments are such fun Lego sets for fans of the series. Better yet, there are four to choose from, so these are an excellent choice for siblings, plus they’re wonderfully portable. The four sets each represent a different Harry Potter classroom (Potions, Herbology, Transfiguration and Charms), with plenty of accessories and a few minifigures in each one. There is a lot packed into each brick-built book – around 250 pieces per set – which will open up to reveal a classroom.
These can be taken on holiday (not something we’d typically advocate with Lego, but the brick-book works as a storage case), and we’ve noticed that our kid testers – including a 10-year-old – will play with their sets all together, as well as using them as a mini-escape from other distractions in the home. This Potions class, which includes Professor Snape, Draco Malfoy and Seamus Finnigan minifigures, is packed with amazing details, from potion bottles to decorative stickers. Warning: it’s really tempting to collect all of them.
Lego Dots ice cream besties bracelets
Somewhere between a DIY toy, a jewellery piece and a straightforward Lego set, you’ll find Dots bracelets. These are a fun way to let kids unleash their creativity time and time again, and make a good fidget toy/distraction when out and about. With two bracelets in a set and a variety of colour combinations and options, these work as a cute birthday gift for someone or a shareable best friends design which can be redesigned over and over, in new patterns and colour combinations (these work with other pieces from Dots sets). At just under £6, this is our most affordable pick.
Lego Technic 42115 lamborghini sián FKP 37 collector's car model
The most impressive Lego set we’ve ever encountered – and the first electric car from Lamborghini – this is one where you want to savour every step of the building process (which did take several days, and multiple children and adults getting involved, to finish). Perhaps this anecdote says it all: upon seeing it in the box, our family friend instantly bought one for her brother’s 40th birthday celebrations – that’s how impressive it looks (and that’s before you’ve even made the thing).
From the instant you open the box, the amazing quality is apparent: everything looks luxurious, from the packaging to the coffee-table style instruction manuals. The vehicle itself is gorgeous enough to make even those with no interest in cars wonder what 8-speed transmission with movable paddle gear shift, front and rear suspension, a V12 engine and scissor-opening doors look like in person (we’re also obsessed by the gold rims). Critics have found little to complain about with this set, other than mild variations in the lime green colour. There are special perks for owners underneath the bonnet, where you’ll find a weekend travel bag and a unique serial number, which allows you to unlock goodies like a build certificate online.
It makes for a stunning display item that you can also play with: the gear box is visible on the underside of the vehicle, the wheels move when you turn the steering wheel and you can raise the rear spoiler as well as lifting the rear panel to expose the gearbox, so this car offers plenty of interaction for kids once they’ve made it. That’s the trickier bit: with 3,696 pieces in total, and measuring over 5” high, 23” long and 9” wide, this is definitely more project than playtime. In fact, it would have been the ideal lockdown build. This isn’t one for very young kids; it’s quite complicated and there is a lot of technical building, as well as room for error (we had to start, and then start again, numerous times, which did cause child reviewers to get a bit impatient and frustrated). It’s more one for teens – a special occasion gift, perhaps? – who will get a huge sense of satisfaction from seeing this gem come to life.
The verdict: Kids’ Lego sets
Lego’s Townhouse-Pet Shop-Café includes three different sets in one box, each one an engaging and fun build. Plus, it’s wonderful to play with afterwards, and appeals to a variety of ages. Lego’s Winnie The Pooh is one the whole family will have fun with together, tapping into both a sense of magic and nostalgia. Looking to spend a bit less? Harry Potter’s Hogwarts Moments classrooms are well-priced and offer hours of fun for little ones (and not-so-little ones).
For discounts on toys and offers on kids’ clothing, try the links below:
Lego isn’t just for kids – these are the best adult Lego sets for grown ups who want their nostalgia fix
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