Credit: Lego Store
When it comes to toys that last and evolve, Lego is the champion. From the simple brick sets we had as kids to the elaborate grown-ups-required sets of today, Lego is always coming up with new and mind-blowing builds, full of realistic details and impressive features. As experienced Lego addicts and parents of Lego-obsessed kids, we’ve been through hundreds of these amazing sets. Here are 13 sets that we think stand out above the rest.
This mid-century modern Lego typewriter was invented by a Lego fan (Steve Guinness) and includes details so realistic you might think it can type up a letter! It has 2,079 pieces (don’t worry, there are step-by-step instructions included). The model itself has a moving carriage when you “type” on the keys, there’s a platen roller to feed paper, and it even has a real ribbon. This is definitely a challenging build (ages 18 and up on the Lego website) but for the right parent-and-child combo, this could be a deeply satisfying co-build. Available from Amazon and the Lego Store.
2. Holiday Camper Van
2021 was the year of the Digital Nomad and more and more families took to the open road for school and remote work. Relive the RV vibes with this super cute, very affordable set. The camper van includes a table, kitchenette, sleeping area, a removable roof and minifigs. For ages 5 and up. Available from Amazon and the Lego Store.
3. The Upside Down House from Stranger Things
Two houses, one epic build. This 2,287 piece set is not for the faint of heart but for fans of the show “Stranger Things,” there is nothing better. You can build the Byers’ house complete with a front porch, living room, dining room, Will’s bedroom, along with detailed, true-to-the-show furniture and decorations. The Upside Down version of the house is a mirror image, but darker and covered in vines. The set also includes eight minifigures from the show including Eleven, Will Byers and the Demogorgon. Recommended for ages 16 and up, but if you’ve got a “Stranger Things” tween in your house, this is the gift of a lifetime.
4. Bricks, Bricks, Plates
The Bricks, Bricks, Plates set contains 1,504 pieces including bricks of every color of the rainbow, four baseplates and endless ideas. Kids can create the suggested builds like a mini victrola, pirate ship, retro telephone, or elephant or they can work the bricks into just about anything their imagination can think of. The set includes key things like wheels, windows, doors and eyes. Not only is this a great starter kit, but it’s also a relatively affordable edition to enhance your little builder's existing collection. For ages 4 and up. Available from Amazon and the Lego Store.
5. The Bookshop
We can’t help it, we love books! And this hard-to-find Bookshop from the Lego Creator Expert is the next best thing to owning your own bookshop (or spending all afternoon in one). It’s an advanced build, suited for ages 16 and up according to Lego, but if you have younger, meticulous kids, this could be one splurge-worthy set to do together and keep on display. Just keep in mind it has 2,504 pieces! The Bookshop is a three stories high townhouse that opens up to reveal features in the shop like a display window, reading nook, and bookshelves as well as a living space upstairs in the townhouse. It includes 5 mini-figures and is available from Amazon and the Lego Store.
6. The ‘Friends’ Apartment
We know your kids aren’t old enough to remember “Friends” but that’s what YouTube is for. Get your tweens curled up on the couch and introduce them to the antics of Phoebe, Joey, Ross, Rachel, Monica and Chandler, then bust out this build. With 2,048 pieces (and an 18 and up difficulty rating) this is definitely one to do together as a family — or together after the kids go to sleep. Diehard fans will appreciate the accuracy of the details, including Monica’s Thanksgiving turkey, Phoebe’s dollhouse, and the “Original Buffay” painting everyone wanted. Build up Joey and Chandler’s apartment, and Monica and Rachel’s apartment, along with the adjoining hallway. And if this is not enough for you, you can also purchase the Central Perk coffee shop as a separate set. Central Perk set available from Amazon and the apartment set is available from the Lego Store.
7. Tuk Tuk
How cool is this colorful little vehicle? Kids can build this Tuk Tuk, inspired by the three-wheeled open vehicles popular in many places around the world including Thailand and India. This one includes hanging tassel decorations and Indian-style metal lunchboxes on the roof. With just 155 pieces, it’s a quick build and a cute little stocking stuffer. Lego says ages 7 and up. Available from Amazon and the Lego Store.
8. Bird of Paradise
Whether you love plants but don’t exactly have a green thumb or you are just obsessed with houseplants in general, this is the set for you! This “grown-up” build is another one we think can be a family affair and kept on display — the flowers and leaves can be adjusted after building to switch it up on the daily. There are 1,173 pieces that together create a “lush” Bird of Paradise plant (Strelitzia reginae) in a stylish black flowerpot. And the build is full of surprises — purple Lego swords are used for stamens! Available from Amazon and the Lego Store.
9. Lego Dots Desk Organizer
This is the hidden gem of Lego sets! Not only is it super fun to build, but it is also totally useable! Kids can create a little organizer that holds pencils, office supplies, Post-it notes and other small treasures. There’s even a photo holder. Keep it on the desk for as long as they’d like, then break it down and rebuild it with a different style. And the entire set comes with a little tray to organize all the pieces to make each breakdown and rebuild even easier. Suitable for kids 6 and up, with 405 pieces. Available from Amazon and the Lego Store.
10. La Catrina
Part of the Lego BrickHeadz collection and created in honor of Día de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) this colorful skeleton figure can be kept around all year round. Build her dress, skull-head, and elegant pink hat decorated with Lego flowers. The decorative face and torso tiles are new to Lego as of summer 2021. This set contains141 pieces and is suitable for ages 10 and up. Available from Amazon and the Lego Store.
11. Lego Art World Map
This set is anything but cheap, but it is definitely awesome — it has 11,695 pieces! Designed to be more of a work of art vs. a toy, this is an ocean-depth, displayable map of the world. You will need to build this one together with the kids as it's rated for ages 18 and up. You can follow the instructions to get the three different unique world maps or go wild and recreate landmasses and oceans. You put it together in 40 wall decor plates, surrounded by a brick-built frame. It includes two hanging elements so you can display your completed project on the wall. And it includes colorful brick pins so you can mark your favorite places in the world. It even includes a soundtrack! Available from Amazon and the Lego Store.
This simple, elegant set creates three replica tulip flowers you can display in a vase. With just 111 pieces, kids ages 8 and up can build a set of flowers that will never wilt! Each stem is just over 9 inches long and there is one purple, one white and one yellow tulip. Check out the other Lego flower sets including roses and the more elaborate flower bouquet. Available from Amazon and the Lego Store.
Another unique BrickHeadz set, diehard fans of Mary Shelley’s iconic work will recognize that this is not Frankenstein but Frankenstein’s monster — and just like Dr. Frankenstein, you can assemble pieces together to make the creature yourself! Inspired by the Boris Karloff movie character, this little set is for ages 10 and up and has 108 pieces. It's perfect for your classic horror movie lovers. Available from Amazon and the Lego Store.
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