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Advice on buying Duplo sets

jadeirenejadeirene US, CaliforniaMember Posts: 475
I'm a first time mom with a 17 month old daughter. Naturally I'd like her to become a LEGO fan, so I've been buying Duplo sets whenever I can find a good deal on them. The #10508 Deluxe Train set is on sale at TRU for $80 and I'm thinking of picking it up, but before my stockpile of Duplo becomes too large, I'd like some advice from other parents about Duplo and kids.

-For those that have #10508 train, does it come with everything needed for a train set up or will I need to buy more to expand it for a decent layout? Some reviews were complaining that it is not a push train, but rather it has to be powered? Is this true and will that hinder the play value?

-I'm a bit hesitant to be dumping so much money into these sets which will only be played with for a few years. How old do most kids grow out of Duplo and does anyone have any kids that didn't play with it at all?

-I opened up #10557 Giant Tower for my daughter for Christmas. She's just starting to put two bricks together, but it will be a while before she has the dexterity to build anything. Should I just put it all away until she's ready for it in case she gets bored of it before then?

-I have the #10557 Giant Tower, #6157 Big Zoo, #6051 Play with Letters, plus some smaller animal sets and read and build sets. Is there any recommendations on what I should be buying?

Thanks for reading. Any advice would be appreciated!
Irene

Comments

  • aldreddaldredd United KingdomMember Posts: 203
    Speaking as a parent rather than collector / AFOL - I wouldn't worry about buying big fancy sets. Just buy what is cheap / on offer at the time regardless of what the set it - although buying sets with lots of animals in it will go down well. Then just let their imaginations run wild. We picked most of our up dirt cheap 2nd hand. My 16month old loves banging the bricks together, and my 4 year old, although having her own proper lego collection, will sit with him and build dens for the animals to sleep in etc.

    Duplo isn't cheap - nor does it quite maintain its value as well as Lego (but is still easy to shift once you're done with it), so just pick it up as cheap as you can without paying too much attention to what the set is.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 19,003
    I'd buy second hand duplo if you can, that does hold it's value (if that is important).

    The train set - the amount of track is just enough to make a circle (12 curves needed) plus the 5 straight parts should be about the length of the bridge, so you can turn that into a larger oval. It will be enough for small layout, but you might want to add to it. One of my kids was still playing with his duplo train set when he was 5 going on 6, but that is mainly as we had the intelli-train, on which you could build with regular lego too. So he'd combine lego buildings with duplo track, and have a lego built train on top of the duplo engine.
  • binaryeyebinaryeye USMember Posts: 1,734
    edited January 2015
    jadeirene said:

    -I'm a bit hesitant to be dumping so much money into these sets which will only be played with for a few years. How old do most kids grow out of Duplo and does anyone have any kids that didn't play with it at all?

    I imagine it depends a lot on the child and their environment. My son became interested in what I was doing with LEGO at about two years old. Six months later, he had a couple City great vehicles, and by the time he was three he was putting together such sets largely by himself. He's now a few months past four and I can count on one hand the number of times I've seen the Duplo played with in the past year.

    It's highly likely that if I weren't an AFOL he'd still be playing with Duplo. Not because he would like it more than System, but simply because he wouldn't have been introduced to it as early. He seems more engaged playing with System sets and does so for longer periods of time, and has since he was about three.

    My advice is to not get too deep into Duplo. My son had only a couple basic sets (e.g. #5506 ), a few playsets ( #6171, #6136, and #10518 ), and a couple vehicles ( #5679 and #6169 ) and would be engaged for hours. Being an AFOL, I easily could have bought more for him, but he seemed happy with what he had so I didn't push it.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 19,003
    I found by far the best duplo playsets for kids to keep playing with as they get older are (i) trains and (ii) castles. Playsets such as construction and fire brigade sets soon lose their appeal.
  • eggsheneggshen Middleton, WIMember Posts: 566
    I am a parent of five kiddos (teens down to our 1 year old) and I would say that you don't want to spend too much money on Duplo. Garage sales and clearance sections are the way to go. The new Juniors theme will replace Duplo for most kids around 3 - 4 years old. I wish there would have been something like it when my oldest kids were that age, but I don't think there was. There are a couple of advantages to switching over to Juniors around that age, developing better hand eye coordination, learning how to follow instructions by yourself, and the bricks are compatible with all the other sets that you will be buying as they get older (where Duplo is just compatible with itself). I was in my dark ages when my older kids were that age, so they played with Duplo for quite a while (sorry kids!).

    I also work at a small toy store and help people with this type of situation all the time. I would say 9 times out of 10 this is the correct course, small amount of Duplo, transition to Juniors around 3 or 4, then transition to City (or another theme they like, but City sets are easier to build being modular with very clear instructions) around 5.

    You will have a master builder before you know it! Good luck!
    akunthita
  • ricecakericecake Maryland, USAMember Posts: 879
    eggshen said:

    (where Duplo is just compatible with itself).

    Not quite true. From LEGO Customer Service:
    Can I combine LEGO® DUPLO® bricks and regular LEGO parts in the same model?

    Yes, you can combine LEGO DUPLO bricks with the smaller LEGO bricks. There are some limitations, though - for example, LEGO DUPLO bricks stick best on larger LEGO bricks and may come off easily from smaller LEGO parts. DUPLO figures aren't compatible with classic LEGO bricks.
  • MrShinyAndNewMrShinyAndNew Member Posts: 276
    Speaking as an AFOL parent, I have to concur that the Duplo loses its appeal if there is "real" Lego in the house. Our duplo got about 4 years use out of it; by then I'd taken my Lego out of storage and started sorting, building, etc, and my kids jumped in on that. They are now working on their own collections and barely touch the Duplo.

    However:
    Duplo bricks and baseplates are excellent for building scaffolding to hold up large Lego creations. If you plan to build tall structures with no interiors, a pile of duplo bricks works wonders. They are fairly easy to integrate with regular studs/bricks building. So not all the Duplo investment will necessarily be wasted. But things like vehicles, figures, etc, will probably be useless.

    Trains: trains are another matter. Lego has trains, but it is an expensive and space-consuming hobby. Duplo trains are smaller (ironically) and not motorized (or not motorized the same way), so you can build more complex layouts in smaller spaces using fewer parts. So if you want to indulge a young train-lover, the duplo trains might be the way to go. But in my experience, once you have regular Lego trains in the house the kids won't want to play with the other trains. An adept 4-5 year old can handle operating the Lego trains and putting the track together, etc. Building trains and layouts is a little harder.

    Once your child is around 2 or 3 they might be fine (with supervision) handling regular lego bricks (the 2x2 and 2x4 bricks) even if they're not ready to build, say, a firetruck. As long as they're not putting them in their mouths, the largest lego bricks are just the right size for small fingers.
  • koozkooz Connecticut, USAMember Posts: 158
    Duplo is a tag sale item. You can find it cheap, because there's no relevant aftermarket, and you can save a fortune. The playability of Duplos is limited. That said, when my kids were 1 and 2, they played with them as a gateway to Legos. My wife is about to have a baby, so we are breaking them out again, but the boys (5 and 3) are on Legos already.
  • SolariousSolarious Kalamazoo, MI, USAMember Posts: 317
    My son is 20 months and he does love his "blocks"- Duplos that is.
    However, as soon as he stopped putting things in his mouth I let him play with the real thing
    Supervised of course because here is the thing that I didnt see anybody mention yet-
    He will absolutely get them all over the place and while a 2x2 bright green duplo is easy to see and step out of the way of, a 2x2 normal Lego isn't so easy
    You'll be doing the Lego firewalk before too long
    But other then this he is already putting together really simple cars and he loves digging into my figure box
    I don't see him being into the Duplo for much longer
    They are compatible though so it's not like they are unusable right?
  • eggsheneggshen Middleton, WIMember Posts: 566
    ricecake said:


    Not quite true. From LEGO Customer Service:

    Can I combine LEGO® DUPLO® bricks and regular LEGO parts in the same model?

    Yes, you can combine LEGO DUPLO bricks with the smaller LEGO bricks. There are some limitations, though - for example, LEGO DUPLO bricks stick best on larger LEGO bricks and may come off easily from smaller LEGO parts. DUPLO figures aren't compatible with classic LEGO bricks.
    Ah, yes, I do stand corrected. I guess I should have said it has limited compatibility. You can only connect (LEGO) 2 x 2 or larger bricks to (Duplo) bricks, so the usage in my mind is pretty limited. I don't know many kids (or adults) that are building 4 stud wide walls, and Duplo blocks do not stick to LEGO baseplates very well (in my experience). So as @MrShinyAndNew‌ stated, you can use them as scaffolding/filler, but that is about it. I don't really see the point. So compatible, but in very limited ways (easier to just buy a box of LEGO bricks from ebay and be done with it).
  • SolariousSolarious Kalamazoo, MI, USAMember Posts: 317
    I've used a few as bases for towers
    You just have to put down the Duplo and then lego blocks on top and around
    They take up a lot of space and are cheaper then standard blocks
    And you could always get a Duplo large baseplate
  • OllieChaOllieCha Member Posts: 6
    I have a 3 1/2 year old a 2 1/2 year old and a 1 1/2 year old. They all love Duplos. My oldest has started to move into using regular Legos but he still loves the Duplos. We found 10531 to be a really good starter set as it has a good selection of bricks and mickey mouse and friends. We have given it as birthday gifts to many of the kids friends and always get positive feedback about how much the kids loved it. The great thing about starting with Duplos as opposed to regular Legos is it is easier for the young kids to manipulate and experiment with. So they get a good foundational base of what they can do with Legos. Duplos provide a really good introduction to Legos. My oldest is very good at manipulating regular bricks and problem solving how to build what he wants to build and i think a lot of that is due to Duplos. Also Duplos are WAY easier to clean up with little ones. I will echo the sentiment that you should try to find them used it will be a lot cheaper. Plus when your child is done with Duplos you can sell the Duplos and use the money toward a regular set. Hope that helps a little.
  • FurrysaurusFurrysaurus Hiding in the kitchen.Member Posts: 156
    mileage may vary, but it may also be worthwhile to volunteer / assist / make friends at the local goodwill. a friend of mine is in charge of internet operations at a local PTA thrift shop and calls me up whenever they get lego in to get valuations on it - and to see if i want to pick it up. he's simply looking to move it, and if he can get a good price for it, great.
    Toc13
  • jadeirenejadeirene US, CaliforniaMember Posts: 475
    Thanks everyone for the comments. I guess I should slow down on the buying, although most of the sets were bought at the 50% off sale last year. I've been trying to get more animal sets since she seems to really love animals (the live ones) but I think I might still pull the trigger on the deluxe train set. She'll probably get some sort of train set so it might as well be LEGO.
  • SirBenSirBen In the Hall of the Mountain KingMember Posts: 574
    With three kids, the Duplo trains have been great! We ended up with two of the #5609 powered train sets, a circus train, several Thomas trains, and enough track to circle our living room twice along with a tunnel, bridge, and several sets of switches. They've been one of the few toys that the kids liked to play together. I even recommended the #10507 My First Train Set to a co-worker for her grandson this past Christmas.
  • khmellymelkhmellymel United KingdomMember Posts: 1,245
    Wow, I was about to start a topic on this and it already exists :)

    I have another question if someone could help me out... my (almost) niece is coming up to her first birthday.  However, most age guides for Duplo start at 18 months or 2 years old.  I know it greatly depends on the child, and I'm not looking to get her to start building with great dexterity (yet!) but I was wondering if anyone had any recommendations for any particular Duplo sets that someone's started a child off with quite early, that they might find enjoyment out of regardless of if they actually build it or not (I just want to get her exposed to the bricks and sets essentially).

    I've bought her the Peekaboo Jungle (#10560) because she seems to like animals at the moment, and I can spend some time with her reading the book that comes with.  I was thinking about getting her the Duplo number train (#10558) but... not sure?  Anyway, any help would be greatly appreciated!
  • VorpalRyuVorpalRyu AustraliaMember Posts: 2,313
    Our eleven almost twelve month old, loves playing with the Duplo sets we have (he's still trying to figure it all out). As for falling out of use, I wouldn't worry too much, our five almost six year old was still playing with it, even though we have all my old Lego available to him, plus all the new sets we've gotten recently (with the exception of daddy's sets which are supervised play). He's also happy to help his little brother build stuff with the Duplo.

    Unlike a lot of baby toys, Duplo will still be able to be used by any other children you might have, & further on, when their kids come to visit, they'll be playing with that Duplo too...

    @khmellymel, our bubs loves the #10558 number train & his big brother plays with it, trying to explain numbers to bubs... We felt it was a good buy. :smile: 
  • legonut80legonut80 UKMember Posts: 314
    I have 4 children and we have a large amount of Duplo collected over the years. They all still play with it together and alone, oldest is 8 and a half and youngest is 14 months.

    We love the trains, and Disney cars they like to make big tracks and race the cars around on them. My youngest loves the cars and cakes at the moment. We have a few of the book sets but at the moment the youngest eats books when I'm not looking so have to watch with those. The number train is a nice little set also the cakes, picnic food sets have been very good with all of them.
    VorpalRyuxpok
  • truck730truck730 Member Posts: 268
     My 20 mth girl got A.N.other brand as a 1st birthday present(not from Us) just bricks ,enough in the 80 plus bricks ,plays Kick kick kick (i feel the same about the brand too) does some builds ,i bought a Duplo set -animals ,not getting more cos She has had a taste of lego ,Mammy is the robber on a motorbike ,the hair or hats get removed and replaced so duplo wont go far here
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 19,003
    Wow, I was about to start a topic on this and it already exists :)

    I have another question if someone could help me out... my (almost) niece is coming up to her first birthday.  However, most age guides for Duplo start at 18 months or 2 years old.  I know it greatly depends on the child, and I'm not looking to get her to start building with great dexterity (yet!) but I was wondering if anyone had any recommendations for any particular Duplo sets that someone's started a child off with quite early, that they might find enjoyment out of regardless of if they actually build it or not (I just want to get her exposed to the bricks and sets essentially).

    I've bought her the Peekaboo Jungle (#10560) because she seems to like animals at the moment, and I can spend some time with her reading the book that comes with.  I was thinking about getting her the Duplo number train (#10558) but... not sure?  Anyway, any help would be greatly appreciated!
    Either the simple animals as you have already found out, or just a few 2x2 bricks. At that age, my kids where fascinated by just building towers of 2x2 bricks. It seems to teach them about shape and position, as well as stability as the towers fall over if not built straight.

    I wouldn't bother with more complicated sets such as Cinderella until at least three.
    khmellymel
  • hoyatableshoyatables Northern Virginia, USAMember Posts: 868
    My little girl is turning 2 this month.  I've given her various Duplo sets over the past year.  The biggest hits have been, in no particular order: any set with animals (zoo, farm, etc), the train, and most recently, Cinderella's coach.  For most of the past year, her interest largely revolved around taking apart and destroying whatever daddy built.  In the past month or two, she has finally started to get interested in building things -- just stacking bricks, but it is the beginning of what I hope will be a shared hobby for both of us :).
    khmellymel
  • nexandernexander Glasgow Member Posts: 897
    Start them early. We gave our eldest duplo at 1 and he was at Lego by 3. My second had access from 1 but was playing with his brothers Lego by 2.

    They are now 3 &5 and still have a huge box of duplo in their room they play with. I think they like building something substantial quickly. The wife wants to take it away but I still find the 5 year old asleep clutching a duplo helicopter!

    And I would recommend the number train, having lots of wheeled blocks that link means I've seen it made into about 100 different things!
    khmellymel
  • RonyarRonyar Member Posts: 371
    ^We started with the really large MegaB*** (don't shoot me!) before my daughter was one, and moved to Duplo around 2.  (In fairness, I wasn't out of my dark ages yet...) She was building system Lego sets by 4.  (Not "junior" type sets, but entire sections of the Haunted House, full Creator houses, every Friends set she could get her hands on, etc...)   At 6, she still uses the Duplo when she wants to make something large quickly, such as enclosures for a zoo, a barn or a large house.  We have a lot of Duplo animals and raised duplo plates picked up from yard sales, consignment sales and consignment stores so it can be a pretty substantial zoo! 

    On the other hand, my son is now 4, and has shown almost no interest in building.  He loves to play with and make up games related to what my daughter and I build, but he just isn't interested in putting things together himself.  I've gotten him to do little system sets (Friends animals, small polybags, a junior spiderman set) but that just isn't where his interest lies.  It certainly wasn't from a lack of opportunity or exposure.  I almost feel bad buying Lego sets with him in mind, as he would probably be happier with action figures and molded animals that were less likely to fall apart. (I don't know how many times we've had to search for the black spines off of Smaug's back after he has terrorized my Lego City...)   So for any other AFOLs out there I can certainly attest that while exposure to Lego is key, it doesn't mean that your children will necessarily love it as much as you (or I) do, or at least not in the same way.  I'm very curious to see how my children's interactions with Lego change as they get older. 

    To get back to the point of the thread, if you can get the bricks fairly cheaply, I don't see any reason to worry about them outgrowing Duplo right away. (I still have mine from childhood mixed in with what we've purchased, and the clutch is still good on most of them!)   Even if they only use them for 4-5 years, you can resell them, gift them, or tuck them away for the day when you hopefully have grandchildren who will appreciate having them to play with.  (how many things can you say that about today?) 
  • Bosstone100Bosstone100 USAMember Posts: 1,431
    When my son was born, I bought some old Lego Primo stuff on ebay instead of getting... some other brand.
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