Lego Creator 3

Lego, the beloved plastic bricks that promote creative play và STEAM skills, are so ubiquitous that for many kids, their introduction comes in the size of a bucket of mixed pieces passed down from an older sibling or a family friend. But if you’re helping a Lego neophyte build a collection from scratch or want to give a special set lớn a Lego-loving kid, it can be hard to lớn know where khổng lồ begin.

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After interviewing three Lego experts, considering dozens of top-selling Lego sets, & testing 17 sets with more than 60 kids ages 3 to 12, we learned that there’s no single Lego phối every kid will love. In this guide, we’re highlighting a few, aimed at kids between about 5 và 12, that stood out during testing—including a classic pirate ship, a Frozen-themed jewelry box, a stellar space shuttle, và interactive Minions. For kids who have developed some skill & interest in building with Lego, we recommend bigger, open-ended boxes of bricks (both Lego branded và generic) that give them the tools khổng lồ head off toward the horizons of their imaginations.

While we’ve included the Lego-recommended age ranges for each of our picks, as a general rule, we find that Lego sets tend to be appropriate for kids several years younger than what’s advertised on the box. This will vary from kid khổng lồ kid based on their experience with building toys, but we think 4 is the youngest age at which most children are ready to lớn start with Lego bricks. For younger kids, chunkier Duplo blocks are a great place khổng lồ start, và older kids can tackle general-audience sets such as the intricate skylines from Lego’s Architecture series. (Of course, age ranges are approximate; every kid is different.) You can read more about how we chose & evaluated these sets in How we picked và tested.

We have more recommendations for Lego kits, plus other STEM and learning toys, in our gift guides for kids ages 1 through 10, và for tweens & teens.

Like many kids, I grew up with a big box of Lego pieces, plus Playmobil, Lincoln Logs, and other building toys. Friends and relatives often gave my younger brother building sets—despite equal interest, I never received them. (Lego has recently pledged khổng lồ make their products more inclusive, starting with the removal of gender bias from their play sets.) Once my brother completed whatever the official project was, we’d break the pieces apart và use them for free-building.

My love for building toys never really left me, & as a journalist I’ve covered everything from a Lego robotics competition to lớn the latest high-tech building sets. I’m also the tác giả of Wirecutter’s guides khổng lồ robotics kits (which includes Lego’s Boost & Mindstorms sets), electronics kits, & other STEM toys that promote learning through fun and creative play.

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For Lego newbies, we recommend starting with a themed set that matches a child’s existing interests, whether that’s dinosaurs, cats, or their favorite movie. A themed mix will provide instructions & structure for kids lớn complete a project, helping them ease into Lego building and giving them the satisfaction of making something they already connect with. Even kids who don’t like to follow directions will likely still be drawn to minifigures and accessories that align with their favorite characters or animals.

“Kids can be very fickle. Find something that connects with them right from the start lớn increase your chances of success,” said Bamidele Shangobunmi, who posts Lego review and custom Lego creations for more than 1 million followers on YouTube (Shangobunmi has tiếp thị liên kết partnerships with eBay, Amazon, & Lego). “Even if you get something that’s designed khổng lồ become a specific vehicle or specific building, you can still turn it into something else.”

Many themed sets cost between $10 & $20, which means you can test a child’s interest in Lego without investing a fortune in a full collection. Sets also tend to lớn come with unusual accessories, such as wheels, fangs, minifigures, và food items, that a child can reuse with other kits.

Lego Creator 3-in-1: For the dinosaur lover


Photo: Michael Murtaugh
Our pick

Lego Creator 3-in-1 Mighty Dinosaurs

Three projects in one set

This phối lets you build three different dinosaurs from a single 174-piece kit.

Buying Options
$12 from Walmart
$12 from Amazon

It’s easy khổng lồ see why the Lego Creator 3-in-1 Mighty Dinosaurs set, at a usual gifting-friendly price of just $12, is a favorite—it includes instructions for building a pterodactyl, a triceratops, or a T. Rex with its 174 predominantly green Lego bricks. It also comes with special pieces like teeth, horns, & claws. Kids who lượt thích an easy, quick project will find any of the three dinos manageable. Và unlike a mix pegged to pop culture, triceratops never go out of style. “I lượt thích dinosaurs and I like that you can make a dinosaur model,” one 8-year-old tester said. It’s as simple as that.

Lego has many more Creator kits labeled as 3-in-1, which means you can build three different projects with the same pieces. Some kids will refuse khổng lồ break apart something they’ve built and prefer to keep the finished project on a shelf, but for a child who doesn’t mind starting over, these sets are an economical way to lớn extend guided building time. The full line of 3-in-1 kits is especially popular, with options such as Mythical Creatures và Deep Sea Creatures. They’re also neutral enough in theme that we could see them playing well with other Lego sets; a shark could attack a ship, or a T. Rex could storm a castle.