New DUPLO sets: Horse Stables and Preschool Building Set

We just got two new DUPLO sets which are lovely for preschoolers. There is the new Horse Stable that comes with two horses, a stable you build, two vehicles (one is a horse trailer), two play figures.  There’s a lot of opportunities here for pretend play and a great introduction to building. This should be a parent/child toy to begin with as you put the set together and talk about the horses and what they need (hay, walking, taking a ride, etc.)

The other set is a basic building set called LEGO DUPLO Learning that includes big pieces that also have numbers on them.  Again a great chance to talk about numbers, colors  and other concepts right on target for preschoolers.  How high can you stack the pieces, how many can you fit on the vehicle?

Here’s the continuing problem we have with these otherwise great sets.  The age range is marked 2 & up and while all of the pieces fit current federal guidelines for small parts–many of the pieces are very, very close.  And if you use a toilet paper roll as the CPSC suggests consumers use if they do not have a choke tube, many of the pieces go straight through.  We discussed this issue last year and LEGO stands by their age range, see my earlier post and LEGO’s response.

Our point remains…since there is no educational or developmental advantage to  giving toddlers such small pieces–and the downside is so much greater, why take a chance?

So while we would highly recommend these sets for 3 & up, sadly we can not give them an award with the current age labels on the box.  And we will continue to lobby that LEGO either up the age label  to 3 & up or up the size of the pieces so that they are a better choice for 2’s.  Last year we were delighted when  Step 2 up sized their toy hot dogs for much the same reason. We hope LEGO will do the same.