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When is the best age to start a child playing with regular Lego not Duplo?

starfire2starfire2 Member Posts: 1,333
edited July 2012 in Collecting
I ask this because my little one is going to be 4 in 2 months and I don't know if we should sell his Duplo and get a starter set of Lego bricks, or if we should wait until he is 5.


  • atkinsaratkinsar Member Posts: 4,258
    Well I don't know the answer, all I can say is that I'm skipping Duplo and going straight to regular bricks with my 2.5 year old, under very close supervision of course.
  • rocaorocao Administrator Posts: 4,290
    edited April 2011
    From a safety perspective: I imagine the answer is quite child-specific. For instance, my daughter was not the type to explore with her mouth, so I have little doubt that it'll be safe to allow her to play with regular Lego bricks early (though still supervised, of course).

    From a maturity perspective: Does he show interest in your or any store displays of regular Lego sets, or does he still seem content with the juniorized Duplo appearance?

    From a motor skills perspective: I think most 4 year olds have the motor pieces to attach and detach basic regular Lego bricks, but obviously would need help with following instructions.
  • starfire2starfire2 Member Posts: 1,333
    He plays with them fine. He plays with some of mine, his brothers and when we go to the Lego store he plays the ones there as well. He can't build anything specific but he has fun stacking blocks together. I was thinking about trying it at least.
  • cennsorcennsor Member Posts: 7
    i remember already playing with LEGO system bricks when i was 4. nothing exceptional, as that was the case with my younger brothers, too. then again, every child has its own learning curve for just about everything, but i'd say give it a try.
  • PaulTRPaulTR Member Posts: 115
    I'm not a parent, but I have watched four out of my seven siblings consistently start to build LEGOs at around the age of 4. Before that, they just threw them around or hoarded my big collection of LEGO basketballs for use in their dollhouse. Overall, I think it depends on the child; certain kids pick up building faster than others do. For example, my brother Jacob is very artistic, so he had no problem building complex creations at age 4. On the other hand, my little brother Ben, who is nearly 4 and has a mild form of Down Syndrome, has absolutely no building skills (and, sadly, from what I can see, he won't for some time). Ben only likes to churn through my bins and burrble away. But from what you're telling me, your children seem mature enough to play with standard bricks; maybe a simple tub with different colored 2X4 pieces would be good. If your son is already comfortable playing with regular bricks, then I would probably sell the Duplo (or keep them if you have other, younger kids.) Again, I am NOT a parent, so I don't know if my advice is relevant. However, I am the second oldest of eight children and my parents taught me alot, so I at least hope I can be of some use. I hope I helped!
  • starfire2starfire2 Member Posts: 1,333
    Thanks, I think I might get him a small bucket of Legos for his birthday to see how he does and if all goes well, I will sell the Duplo and if not then we can try again later.
  • pikapika Member Posts: 1
    Don't sell Duplo. :) I'm 40 and I play with Duplo rather than with small Lego bricks.
    Duplo bricks are better toy than many people think.
    OK, my children like small brick too, but Duplo bricks are toy for every day and every place in our hose. They play with them even in bathroom.
  • korkor Member Posts: 392
    My oldest is 4 and does fine with regular Lego. Unfortunately he's only allowed to play with them in his play room though because we also have an 8 month old that will try to eat ANYTHING he can get his hands on!
  • emilewskiemilewski Member Posts: 482
    My daughter had several Duplo sets (5488 and 5380) and was turning three. We bought her a regular Lego brick box (6166) for her birthday, but then I started worrying that she was too little for it. So we bought her a Duplo horse stable (5648) for her birthday instead. Well, I ended up opening up the regular Lego myself (and officially emerged from my dark ages). She saw me with them and wanted to play with them!

    I have since bought her more regular Lego sets and she is addicted to Lego (almost as much as I am). She splits her time about equally between "big Lego" and "little Lego" and enoys playing with both. She likes giving her teddy bear a bath in Lego bricks when I am building sets like Tower Bridge but also puts things together even though she cannot follow set instructions yet.

    So I would say definitely get him a tub of regular bricks. Let him decide when he is ready to move on from his Duplo. He will probably play with both. And you can stack regular brick on Duplo brick after all.
  • meyerc13meyerc13 Member Posts: 227
    My wife has a degree in early childhood education, so I've learned a bit from her as well as from observing my own children (3 & 5). My son started on LEGO when he was 4, but for the most part Dad had to assemble and he would play with it. It was probably around his 5th birthday that he really started taking an interest in assembling sets himself, but only small sets with 100-200 pieces.

    My daughter was exposed to LEGO by age two and a half due to her brother having them, and choking wasn't an issue because she has never been one to put things in her mouth. The problem with her is that she was very good (and still is) at destroying sets. She can destroy faster than I can build, and when multiple things are disassembled to their basic bricks, it can be a challenge to re-assemble.

    You'll notice that some of the basic sets have 4-5 as the starting age range. For ages 3 and under, choking is definitely a concern, and LEGO won't recommend them for that age but as a parent you can use your discretion. As I said, my daughter has never been one to put things in her mouth, but my son at that age I would never have given LEGO to because he was putting things in his mouth well after his third birthday. Each kid is different, so beyond the choking hazard I think a lot of it has to do with development, and the suggested age ranges on the boxes should help you with that.
  • rocaorocao Administrator Posts: 4,290
    Well, I ended up opening up the regular Lego myself (and officially emerged from my dark ages). She saw me with them and wanted to play with them!
    I have a young daughter and I found this story a very cool way to come out of one's dark ages. Thanks for sharing!

  • aplbomr79aplbomr79 Member Posts: 159
    edited April 2011
    I started my boys out with Duplo when they were babies. More on the line I was ready to introduce them to LEGO and I found the Thomas Tank Engine line great due to the sets and pieces.

    Now my boys are 4 & 3 and most of the City sets that I have purchased have been for their birthdays and Christmas - and I have a few starting from 2010 (check my setlist). The boys are great with them - they know the rules: #1 No Biting the LEGO, #2 No throwing, #3 No dismantling the sets... Alright they do better with rules 1 and 2. I spend a heck of a lot of time rebuilding sets (darn).

    I have found that it is very easy to keep them entertained with the Bilk-Brick sets while I construct the more elaborate sets.

    While being on spring break this last week, I went and bought a bunch of Sterilite containers and spent the time putting the sets that I want to keep solvent (away from the destructive hands of my boys) and also to separate the pieces. My biggest concern now is how to I organize the pieces - by color, or by like-brick? The latter means that I will be purchasing A LOT MORE smaller containers. Good thing that WalMart carries a very wide selection of these American-Made containers! And in different colors!

    All in all, they are never too young - as long as it builds your empire...
  • jb3pinjb3pin Member Posts: 3
    My daughter took an interest in the conventional Legos at about 4, my son (second child) started just before he was 3. She's currently engaged in the Creator line and my son can do most of his City sets all by himself. Interestingly he's become more interested in the build than the imaginative play.

    By the time each of them started I had the confidence that not only would neither of them put the pieces in their mouth but they could both build independently (after some practice) and not get unnecessarily frustrated. Still, they each need some assistance on occasion, but they also like to help me with some of the more complex sets (i.e. Modular Homes).
  • Rainstorm26Rainstorm26 Member Posts: 1,011
    My son is 8 and my daughter is 20 months and of course she wants to do everything her big brother does. She is already starting to build. I have some pieces from some older sets with faces and animal shapes that are large enough not to worry about the mouth thing. She was annoyed at first about not being able to put them together, but she was able to keep trying and is now able to put pieces together. The hardest thing is trying to keep her away from all of the other cool lego items like minifigs (which she just likes to take the hats/helmets/hair off). As mentioned above, destruction is much easier than assembly. We try to give her a minifig of her own, but need to supervise a little.
  • MatthewMatthew Administrator Posts: 3,714
    I sometimes use Duplo bricks in MOCing for structural building that cannot be seen, like in my UCS Hogwarts I'm planning I'll use it in 'The Rock'
  • MisterFubarMisterFubar Member Posts: 4
    edited April 2011
    My first daughter started playing with regular LEGO as early as 1. I would let her play with basic assembled sets under close supervision. By 2 she was building basic things with mostly 2x4 or larger bricks.

    At 3 she is now regularly playing house with my minifigs and helps me sort and assemble new sets. Occasionally I'll find one of my rarer Star Wars minifigs in her dollhouse, she is always gentle with them and she knows which shelves in Daddy's office she is allowed to play with stuff off of. She does also have an inherited duplo train that she still regularly plays with, but I never really bought any duplo. Although now that I've set up a track for my Emerald Night she would much rather play with that.

    It really depends on the child and parent. If you have a kid that tries to put everything in thier mouth, then you really don't want to give them a bucket of 1x1 plates and leave the room.
  • starfire2starfire2 Member Posts: 1,333
    I bought him a small boxed one (5932). It comes with with 231 pieces and you can build a mini figure, a car, a helicopter and a cat, etc. We also went to the Ninjago event at TRU yesterday where the give away was 10 free Lego pieces (really?!?). So we gave him those too and then we went to the Lego store and bought him a base plate and some blocks from pick a brick. He built himself a 8 wheeled car with a windshield and no steering wheel. So, so far so good!!! Hope the Duplos sell.
  • brickmaticbrickmatic Member Posts: 1,071
    Don't get rid of the Duplo so quickly. Duplo is designed to be compatible with regular bricks. Your children can play with both concurrently.
  • meyerc13meyerc13 Member Posts: 227
    minifigs (which she just likes to take the hats/helmets/hair off).
    My daughter too! The frustrating thing is that sometimes I have no idea where the hair/hats end up. I still have no idea where several construction helmets went. I'm positive she didn't eat them, but she may have been conspiring with our cats who could easily have batted the piece to some far flung corner of the house.

  • Rainstorm26Rainstorm26 Member Posts: 1,011
    My son gets very frustrated as my daughter took the helmets off a squadron of storm troopers the other day and they ended up scattered all over the room. Again I think for the really young it is more fun to take apart because it is easier.
  • damiendamien Member Posts: 1
    Hard to say, I guess... Each kid has another "age-limit" if you know what I mean.

    My son's now 3 years and 3 months. He loves to play with his Duplo train sets, but when I'm busy with my large Star Wars sets he wants to help. For him it's way too difficult to read the manuals but just putting together all of the bricks is good enough for him. Although I keep the very little parts away from him. But I think it won't be long now before he puts the Duplo aside en starts to play with real Lego.

    Last week I made big mistake though... As he is a big fan of trains I bought the Emerald Night. To keep my wife satisfied I said it would be for him; but actually I'm the one who loves it best at the moment... :-) I showed it to him and he immediatly wanted to play with it. But first of all he's still to young and second we don't have any railroad yet (The Emerald is my/our first trainset), it's not really playable yet. That meant only one thing; Crying, crying and again... crying!!! Some stupid dad....
  • knuclear200xknuclear200x Member Posts: 45
    Don't get rid of the Duplo so quickly. Duplo is designed to be compatible with regular bricks. Your children can play with both concurrently.
    YES! Oh the things you can make with these things!!!
    I started at 4 years with regular lego. By then I already knew the difference between what to put in my mouth and what not. I also knew the discomfort of choking. :P
  • princedravenprincedraven Member Posts: 3,764
    My 4 year old loves LEGO, and he builds little things himself and can follow the instructions, but his real passion is the minifig's, he loves them, so if you want to 'encourage' your son/daughter I would suggest the little kits with a few figures.
    If they are anything like my son they will root around to build the figures and then love to build the little car/plane/whatever for them to drive/fly/etc.

    He also seems really good at making his own creations, strange little vehicles that I wouldnt dream up myself.

    I also would say not to sell the Duplo (if you can afford not to), as he still has some of these that he plays around with once in a while, and besides you can keep them for your next child :)
  • fox171171fox171171 Member Posts: 45
    My first child is only a month old now, so he hasn't started yet.

    My nephew (10 now) started pretty early. Not sure when exactly though, but I got him a few sets over the years. I do recall giving him his first Technic set though. He looked at the box and it said "Ages 8+". He turned to me and said "You know I'm only four!"
  • starfire2starfire2 Member Posts: 1,333
    I don't know if giving him the regular/ small Legos was a good idea. We built him a car, house and helicopter and this evening he took apart the car and was dumping pieces on his train table. He for a short while lost the steering wheel. I don't want him losing the pieces. Any suggestions?
  • brickmaticbrickmatic Member Posts: 1,071
    Stick to larger pieces only at first, like 2x4 blocks, rather than smaller pieces like the steering wheel?
  • meyerc13meyerc13 Member Posts: 227
    I don't want him losing the pieces. Any suggestions?
    I think this is a given with kids. At first it frustrated me, but then I got over it. Most of the pieces that are easily lost aren't significantly functional pieces of the set. Also, for most parts I have spares, and if I don't I could always order replacements off of Bricklink.

    Seriously, check the prices on bricklink or the online Pick-a-brick and you'll find that most pieces can be replaced for pocket change.

    Just take a good look on the carpet before you bring out the vacuum and you can minimize how many pieces are permanently lost. Then replace those with spares from your collection or via online orders.

  • sinfantisinfanti Member Posts: 7
    My kids (turning 5 & 3 this July) have always had a lot of Duplo, while I did my Lego elsewhere. When my daughter was about 3.5 she "assisted" me in building the 7747 wind turbine. A year later she helped me build the two winter village sets (but mostly just played with the finished product). She's built a couple small things by herself, but mostly loves minifigs. Her brother is 2 years younger, so I always supervise any Lego play for them. The boy loves to walk off with any airplanes or cars. They inevitably get smashed and I just rebuild them.
  • princedravenprincedraven Member Posts: 3,764
    edited April 2011
    I don't want him losing the pieces. Any suggestions?
    My 4yr old son knows (and will tell off his grandad if he doesnt follow suit) that he plays with LEGO at the table only. No LEGO oin the carpet.
    Amazing how well he sticks to this rule. He takes his planes are rockets for 'flights' etc, but will always return them to the table :).

    One other thing that helps him keep track of the bits is that I bought him some second hand LEGO that had been 'mistreated' (missing hands, drawn on, etc) and he was dissapointed that the other children had lost bit and mistreated it, which I think really helps him understand the value of looking after HIS LEGO.

    Oh and he keeps all his LEGO and CMF in little plastic boxes too.

    Hope that helps.
  • wander099wander099 Member Posts: 114
    I think it depends on the child. My parents bought me Lego probably when I was 4 or 5 (judging from the age of my oldest sets) and I was fine with it. I could build things and managed to hardly lose any pieces (I will be replacing those from the Lego pick a brick once I figure out exactly what's missing). My first set was one of those basic buckets that came with a bunch of pieces and instructions to build a simple house and other things.

    However, I know a 7 year old who has had Lego since he was 2 and he has lost numerous pieces and has only started to be able to build sets on his own and keep the pieces together fairly recently. Before that his dad would basically build them for him and his older sets cannot be reassembled because lots of the pieces are long gone. He has also only recently kept pieces in a designated Lego bin so that they can all be found when he wants to build.

    My advice is that if you think your child is ready, buy a small set of basic bricks and see how it goes. If it doesn't work out, you can always go back to duplo, but if it is a success then you can move up to more basic bricks and perhaps some of the actual sets in a couple of years.
  • AETerryAETerry Member Posts: 48
    This is an older thread and looks like I missed it when it was fresh...

    For my 50cents worth, as a parent of a now 4 yr old, I will add in or second a comment that it depends on your child's age, maturity, interests and what they can handle.

    This past Christmas of 2010 turned out to be the last year for Duplo with my Daughter. She's shown more interest and desire to play with the regular, smaller LEGO bricks. Before thise, if I built say a car or a house, she'd play with the pieces, mainly minifigures.

    Every child is different, so go by what they show an interest and aptitude for.
  • IstokgIstokg Member Posts: 2,362
    Here's a tip for getting your children involved in "mechanical" LEGO items... the old Samsonite gears (1965-73) are relatively cheap on Bricklink (4 sizes)... and with old 2x2 stud wheels and large 4x4 turntable bricks can get them interested in the world of mechanical concepts. These are large and easy enough for a 5 year old to play with... once you show them how they're used... and you never know... you might have inspired a future Engineer....
  • Halberd777Halberd777 Member Posts: 32
    I started my son at age four. My kids had had duplos but my son at christmas wanted a spaceship being into star wars. I bought him the space police ship. He loved it. True he really has a hard time keeping his lego's together but his crazy old man who loves building lego sets just keeps putting them back together so he can have fun and break them.
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