We decided to get our daughter some duplo as we thought it would be a fun way of getting her dexterity up at a young age. We had a look around and this seemed to be the best value for money in terms of the number of bricks and variety of those bricks, plus it came with a handy storage box, made of sturdy stuff. Some of the 'kits' seemed expensive for what you actually got.
Initially, she thought that it was edible and spent days biting/chewing/slobbering all over the blocks - but that's the beauty of duplo - it's virtually indestructable! and I don't know why it maintains (on the box) that it is for ages 1.5 years and older as there were definitely no items in it that could offer any real risk to your baby - unless they got their fingers trapped between blocks, but even then, at that age, they do not have the strength/dexterity to even put them together.
Having said that, in the time that she has had this, her dexterity has improved no end - it started with her pulling blocks apart/knocking over towers (there were enough peices here to build a one-block tower from floor to ceiling), but now she can safely put peices together, even if she's not quite a qualified civil engineer yet!
As I say, the main draw of this box was the number of different peices - granted, duplo is like scalectrix - once you get one set you just want more and more (until your entire room is filled) - but this acted as a good base for any further purchase (we have combined it with a winnie the pooh set now). The original box containined enough peices for daddy to build a pretty decent replica of the F.A. Cup - sorry - I mean allowed my daughter to build... anyway, you get the point. This is a very good starter kit, but you will want more and more...
When you are looking for suitable toys for toddlers there is a confusing amount of choice. I think one of the best presents you can buy a child is a starter tub of Duplo. Duplo is recommended for children from 18 months and is something that will encourage them to use their imagination and is virtually indestructible.
My son was given a Duplo starter tub for his 2nd birthday and he played with the bricks constantly. We still have the tub as the bricks fit the smaller mainstream Lego brick and he sometimes uses them to create his own models.
The Duplo set number 5506 comes in a handy plastic storage tub with transparent lid. The storage tub is quite large and you may be disappointed to open it and find the bricks included barely cover the bottom of the tub. There are 71 pieces in this set, including a window and window frame brick, a male figure, vehicle chassis and various different colured bricks. There is also a small green base plate and ideas booklet included.
Unlike Lego, Duplo bricks are especially designed for young children. They are quite large so don't prevent a chocking hazard. They are also easy for little hands to hold.
I really like the way that this toy grows with your child. My son first learnt to pull the bricks apart, but it wasn't long until he was fitting the bricks together to create his own creations. Following the simple instructions to make one of the suggested models, took a bit longer. I think playing with Duplo has many benefits other than helping to encourage a child to use their imagination. It also helps with concentration, encourages a child to follow simple instruction and increases self esteem as your child produces models they are proud of.
The ideas booklet gives instructions for building a simple house with a window. The widow brick clips into the window frame brick and can really open. There is also a plane and vehicle to build. The male figure can sit in the car and fly the plane. The base plate is useful to build onto to enable you to move your creations once completed.
Overall this is an excellent starter tub of Duplo and can be added to over time. The storage box is very useful and has plenty of room for lots more bricks! I would have liked a female figure to have been included in this set as having a male to drive the vehicle and fly the plane does tend to reinforce stereotypes!
This set is widely available and costs around £25.00.
Why this set
We bought this Duplo box set for our son for part of his Christmas present. He had enjoyed playing with some Duplo at a friend's house so we thought this would be a good basic set to get him going.
What is it?
This is a large block of Duplo construction blocks it comes in its own green storage box to help keep your blocks all tidy. The set includes a small base plate for building on, a chassis to build a car type of toy and one person. There is also a selection of different shaped and coloured blocks for building.
In use and opinion
We had high hopes for this set and looked forward to our son creating towers, houses and various other building creations. However it fell a little flat and I think the main reason for this is the smallness of the base plate. It can only really take at most 6 blocks which doesn't really give it a lot of scope for building various things. The base plate and using this to create something just doesn't happen very often unless I extend it outwards with some blocks for him to build them on too.
The bricks themselves are the wonderful Duplo classics which are all brightly coloured and very easy to manipulate in toddler hands. This set is designed for children 18 months old to 5 years old and our two year old is more than capable of turning them around to attach blocks to one another. At the moment he seems to just build towers but I would expect as he gets older he can use this set to build houses, garages to place his toy cars into. They are very robust and take well the usual rough and tumble in a toddlers play without any damage to them.
My son loves attaching the various blocks to the chassis and making a large leaning car to push around the floor and the chassis is more popular with him to use than the base plate at present.
The person that has come with this set is very rarely used or interacted with by my son as yet. I don't think this is any reflection on the design or use of the person it is just that when he uses figures in his play he tends to put them into the places that are clearly defined for a person for example the seat on a bus or plane. As he has to create the seat here he hasn't as yet got the forward thinking ability to create a seat and put the person into it.
The box that the whole set comes in is very handy and it keeps everything in it well and there is possibly space to add further bits into it. The box itself is very sturdy as it has taken my sons weight on more than one occasion as he has sat on it after we have tidied up.
Learning and education value
There are many advantages to Duplo these include the creative play elements as children use their imaginations to build weird and wonderful things. It also helps with my sons hand eye co-ordination as he moves the blocks around the place I can see as he uses these blocks more and more he is much more co-ordinated in his movements with them. He doesn't get the same degree of frustration if something doesn't fit as he did at the beginning and I can see him now problem solving his way with them as he turns the blocks around till they go in the way he wants.
Overall and recommendation
There is a lot to recommend this set the amount of blocks that you get and the chassis and the box itself for storing the items in. However I do think it is an expensive set and that as the base plate is so small that you really need to buy a bigger one as well to help stimulate your child's imagination and play. This set should be viewed I think as an introduction to Duplo and if your child enjoys this bit then you will probably need to add to this set. Because of the base plate and how expensive this toy is for what you get I am giving it 4 stars.
We bought our set from Amazon with some of my vouchers from Dooyoo it currently costs £27.99.
Duplo can be expensive, as with all Lego products, but this lasts such a longer time than most toys in both children's enthusiasm for playing with it and in it's general construction. My son was given a box box for his 2nd birthday and still plays with it 3 years later! No pieces have got broken, despite being thrown around, attempts to chew etc, and the ideas for playing with it are endless - great for their creative skills, and even if they build a tower just to knck it down, it helps them understand cause and effect, perfect for preschool science!
If you are thinkinga about Duplo as a present, I would highly recommend it, especially if the child is not your own because if they get more from someone else it only adds to the fun! Also you get a pretty big box for them to unwrap, always good!
My son is also into the main Lego, but like playing with this for making 'big models', eg great for making into a ship to carry his pirate figures around!
The large Duplo Brick Box, Lego number 5380, costs £34.95 from Amazon. We bought it for about that same price from Toys R Us who also stock this product. Our grandson is four so he uses both Lego and Duplo (and some Mega Bloks). With the Lego, he has to play with an adult but with the Duplo he can play unsupervised.
This brick bucket is great in theory. Well, it is in practice even. But value for money is a whole other story. I like that this set comes with a little chassis that can be built on, a little Duplo man and a mini base plate but there is so much more that I feel should have been included for the £35 price tag.
When you get this box, it's quite sizeable and I felt a bit cheated when I opened it up and found so few bricks and pieces in it. For the price I think they could have included a much bigger building plate, a couple of Duplo men and maybe an animal or two as well.
I like the toy and the grandson is very impressed with it. I just think that it's a real rip-off! I'd recommend it second hand rather than new unless you're feeling particularly flush.