I was excited when Lego announced the Lego Friends line. And couldn’t wait to take my two girls shopping after Christmas. Why would I do such a thing? Wasn’t I reinforcing gender stereotypes? You can see my thoughts on it and why I bought pink Legos on a recent post here.
Last Friday, my husband had off and my three kids, L, the 8-year-old girl, M, the 5-year-old boy, and B, the 4-year-old girl, had a day off of school. So we went to Target. I had heard that the Lego Friends line was in stores and I wanted to see it. The kids had Christmas cash burning holes in their pockets and were eager to feast their eyes on toys. How quickly do the toys received on Christmas morning lose their luster!
We headed straight to the Lego aisle. I was disappointed by the lack of pink. There was a cute Duplo set that looked like cupcakes, but no Lego Friends. But then we found them on the endcap. Hooray! The girls looked over the sets. L was calculating the differences between the sets she could afford. (This one had a cat and a bird but THIS one had two dogs. However, this one had RABBITS!) This took a while but we finally walked out of Target with two bags full of Legos. M, had quickly decided on the Star Wars Ewok Attack set. Little B had not wavered from her choice of Butterfly Beauty Shop. And L had finally settled on the Fashion Design Studio and Puppy house sets. We also bought a few sets for parties we were attending the next day.
Alan and I thought it would be fun to go see a movie on our day off, but once the kids had their Lego sets in their hands, we had a mutiny on our hands. We went back home, had a quick lunch and started building.
Because B’s tiny hands still have a hard time with snapping bricks into place, I helped her build the beauty shop. Can I just say, it was SO much fun.
The pieces used in building the beauty shop are all standard pieces. It was fun to see blocks that I’ve used to help build a Star Wars craft, used in the building. The way the fountain is constructed is simple and ingenious. And the park bench is made using standard pieces. There were a few stickers to affix, but I was very impressed with how one piece turned into a computer screen. Another was to be the arms of a chair.
One of the critiques of the Lego Friends sets is that they didn’t seem “inspired.” I’m rolling my eyes at someone actually SAYING that in earnest, but I will say that this set was creatively designed. Tried and true pieces are used in innovative ways. It was a delight to see how it all came together.
L is old enough that she set about building with no help at all. The desk lamp she made is very clever. And the “fabric” drawers add a wonderfully fun detail. I also love the apple tree she constructed, and the tiny sandwich.
Yes, I questioned the amount of bows included in the beauty shop set and the tiny silicon/rubber lipsticks, but overall, I love the sets and our afternoon of play made me want to run back to the store to buy more Lego Friends.
Did I mention the afternoon of play? I’m not talking an hour or two. The entire afternoon was spent playing with new Lego sets. And then we got out the loose bricks and poured them out and started creating more. L constructed a giant letter “E” and then made it into a sort of bunk bed for her friends. The girls played and played. Pulled up stools to the coffee table and stayed there.
I am not overstating it when I say that this toy has been one of the most played with toys we’ve ever come across. I’m not sure of the psychology of it all. Perhaps it has something to do with the satisfaction of actually building the structure before you play with it. Perhaps the girls appreciate it more when they had to “work” at it. Whatever the reason, I can’t wait for Valentine’s Day to come around so I have a reason to buy a little goodie for my girls. It’s gonna be Legos.