The 8 Best Lego Sets for Kids of 2024 | Reviews by Wirecutter

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We’ve added a new pick, the Lego Friends Botanical Garden 41757. Vacuum Extruder

The 8 Best Lego Sets for Kids of 2024 | Reviews by Wirecutter

From our years of covering Lego sets for kids, combined with collective personal experience as a staff full of caretakers and gift-givers, we’ve learned that there’s no single Lego set that every kid will love. Interest in any particular Lego set always lies with the individual.

Our guide to favorite Lego sets for adults is openly subjective. But when it comes to looking at kids Lego playsets, we first draw heavily on details like owner reviews, best sellers, and cost. Then we make selections to send to a rotating panel of families so that we can highlight a few standout playsets aimed at kids between about 5 and 9.

For kids ages 1½ to 4, chunkier Duplo blocks are a great place to start, and we’ve seen younger teens and even tweens successfully tackle larger sets marketed to adults.

For Lego newbies, however, we recommend starting with a themed set that matches a child’s existing interests, whether that’s dinosaurs, cats, or their favorite movie. A themed set provides instructions and structure for kids to complete a project, helping them ease into Lego building and giving them the satisfaction of engaging with a world they already connect with. Even kids who don’t like to follow directions are likely to be drawn to minifigures and accessories that align with their favorite characters or animals.

Age: Though we’ve included the Lego-recommended age ranges for each of our picks, as a general rule we find that Lego sets tend to be appropriate for kids several years younger than what’s advertised on the box. This varies from kid to kid based on their experience with building toys, but it’s why we ensured that some of our kid testers were a bit younger than the age recommended on the boxes.

Versatility: Lego makes playsets that cover a huge range of themes, from space exploration to licensed properties like Disney princesses and Minecraft. We aimed to include a mix in order to appeal to different interests.The Creator 3in1 line includes instructions for three distinct projects with each set (you reuse the same bricks), and we favor them for their charm and variety.

Price: You can spend anywhere from $10 to hundreds of dollars on a single Lego set. The cheapest set we tested costs about $20 and the most expensive is $130, and prices go up as you add complexity and licensed branding. There’s plenty of quality to be found in the $10 to $100 range, and we recommend starting there.

Creative details abound in this translucent enclosure packed with tropical plants. It’s a great choice for tweens and older kids.

This Botanical Garden is beautiful to look at, with a tapestry of colorful flowers and butterflies to enjoy. Characters Liann, Nico, and Adi come equipped with their cameras, reference materials, and scissors to take cuttings. Unlike the other Lego Friends sets we recommend, which are suitable for kids as young as 5, this more advanced build is aimed at tweens and teens.

Our nearly 12-year-old tester built this set in a few hours over three sessions and loved some of the creative uses of existing Lego pieces, like green saxophones for nepenthes (a tropical pitcher plant), black snakes as cast-iron arm rests for the garden’s bench, and pink frogs as flower ovaries. The instruction booklet features real-life versions of the 12 different Lego plants and butterflies in the set, so kids can compare and do more research if that interests them.

Additional details—rotating butterflies in the domed ceiling, a pond made up of transparent pieces printed with images of fish, even a small frog hiding beneath the water—give a lot of dimension to the build. Our tester felt the set was challenging in a good way, as some of the smaller botanicals in this set, like a bonsai tree, needed a bit more dexterity to snap together. She also liked the building’s architecture and felt overall that the botanical garden was a good midpoint between the sets for younger children and those for adults.

For ambitious kids and AFOLs alike, there are MOC Modular Botanical Garden instructions that show you how to completely enclose the building by connecting two Botanical Garden sets together.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: You might be tempted to buy this for 6-year-olds, since that’s the age on other Friends sets, but with the difficulty of some parts of the build, younger kids will definitely need parental support. The clear pieces, such as the dome, were bagged with smaller pieces, so they arrived out of the box with minor scratches. They also easily show fingerprints, which makes it less of a display piece when little fingers are doing most of the building and playing.

Imagination blasts off with this moon research facility, a mix of large pieces for easy construction and smaller details that add charm and challenge.

The Lego City series centers on real-world buildings, machines, and jobs—you’lll find a hospital, airplanes, construction vehicles, and even a roving gaming tournament. Space exploration falls under this banner, as well. The Lunar Research Base combines a satisfying mix of larger pieces for the main structure that younger builders with little hands can easily assemble and smaller details for the six included minifigures to use, from a microscope and petri dish in the lab to a metal detector and a drone for moonwalks.

Retailing for $130, this set is the most expensive pick in this guide, but we often see it on sale for closer to $100. The budget-conscious parent of our child tester liked that the price seemed reasonable for how much the set included. “There is so much going on with this set, and it’s a nice progression to start with the easier pieces like the little buggy and drone and then work up to the larger items like the rocket ship and lunar base,” he said. Our kid tester was a year younger than the set’s recommended age, but that didn’t prove to be a problem. “It was a nice challenge, but he enjoyed it so much, he never got frustrated. I was expecting to help a lot more than I did.”

Another bonus is the compatibility with Lego’s other space-exploration playsets, including a docking point for the Lunar Roving Vehicle. “Which my kid now also wants,” the parent said. “Thanks, Lego!”

Tester age: 6, with light assistance from a parent and a 14-year-old sibling

Flaws but not dealbreakers: Neither of the younger testers found anything wrong with this set, but the parent noted that the landing-gear parts of the rocket ship were pretty flimsy and little rocket-booster pieces on the drone fell off easily.

Build some birds, then some bees, and end up with a couple of squirrels. Perhaps this set doubles as a subtle lesson in reproduction?

We’re big fans of Lego’s Creator 3in1 series, and we’ve included several of those sets in this guide for their versatility. With instructions for three separate builds, the Creator 3in1 Birdhouse, along with six little birds, can change into a bevy of bees hovering around a beehive complete with a slide-out panel of honeycomb. The third build creates a couple of squirrels hanging out on a park bench.

Our tester for this set was two years younger than the recommended age, but most Lego sets he has played with are too easy for him, and this one proved to be a good challenge. The main build took him about three hours, spread out over three building sessions. Unfortunately, at this writing we don’t yet have feedback to give on the additional builds—our tester loves the birds so much that he still hasn’t taken them apart.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: None to speak of. The only time the parent had to help was when the kid dropped the enclosed-structure part of the birdhouse mid-build, and it broke. There were a few tears, but all the pieces were found, and the house was successfully rebuilt.

Parents who love Lego might have just as much fun building this set, which is reminiscent of Lego castles of yore.

The design of the Creator 3in1 Medieval Castle harkens back to Lego castle sets from the late seventies, eighties, and nineties. So if a parent was (or still is) a Lego fan, they might be tempted to butt in on this build. (Wirecutter’s director of platform engineering, Erik Erikson, bought it for himself.) Like the birdhouse above, this castle comes with alternate builds—one that forms a tower and a working catapult for launching bricks, and another that becomes a marketplace scene with a windmill.

Our 11-year-old tester finished the main castle in a couple of sessions spread out over a few weekends, though the parent notes that the build likely could have been completed in one long sitting. The operable drawbridge was a big hit, and the dollhouse effect of a fold-out structure with multiple levels made the set a lot of fun to play with using the dragon, already-owned toys, and the set’s three included minifigs. (Four, if you count the skeleton.)

Our tester was mildly irked by the rustic asymmetry of the drawbridge awning, so he tweaked it to make it symmetrical. He has always considered Lego instructions to be optional, and his parent found this set well suited for adapting the design to personal preferences here and there without compromising the structure of the finished piece.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: The water wheel and one side of the shorter tower have swinging hinge elements that can easily detach as they pivot, but our tester ingeniously reinforced the structure using extra Lego pieces.

This sharp-toothed, pull-and-go race car can withstand crashes without losing a piece.

Lego’s Technic Monster Jam line, a licensed partnership with touring Monster Jam motorsports events, includes the popular and toothy Megalodon. Half shark, half machine, this comparatively inexpensive truck also converts to a lowrider and is surprisingly sturdy—a good thing, considering that its pull-back action sends the vehicle hurtling across floors and into anything in its way. One of our two testers was surprised at just how fast it could go, and was impressed that it held up as it smashed into walls.

The parent was similarly impressed with both the robustness and the play appeal, noting that the large wheels made the car satisfying to pull back and release. One of the testers had received a Technic Speed Champions car for his birthday, and though he had enjoyed building it, that set didn’t hold his attention in the following weeks quite like this one did.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: The 7-year-old was disappointed that this car couldn’t race up walls.

Sail the ocean with Moana, her mother, and an awfully cute dolphin with this decently priced Disney set—something of a rarity when it comes to licensed items.

As with most of Lego’s licensed sets, Disney themes are more expensive than Lego’s own intellectual properties, like Ninjago. In contrast, Moana’s Wayfinding Boat is a fairly small set, but we think it’s a decent value at its usual range of $32 to $35 thanks to how much detail it packs in.

The set comes with mini-dolls of Moana and her mom, Sina, as well as an original printed sail, a little dolphin, and all the details, including greenery, a torch, and some lovely tiles that decorate the boat.

Building the mast was the most challenging part for our tester, but his parent said that he seemed to feel rewarded in the end—the experience took about two hours of active build time and posed just the right amount of challenge for her 6-year-old. His usual Lego builds tend toward tractors, trucks, and dinosaurs, but he stayed engaged with the ocean theme, imagining being Moana and sailing the seas searching for Maui. Seeing that our tester was inspired to rewatch Moana after playing, the Disney and Lego marketing teams are clearly doing their job.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: Our tester wisely pointed out that Moana’s oar accessory wouldn’t be able to reach the water. Both tester and parent were confused by markings in the instruction booklet, which often appear in the instructions for other sets, as well; seemingly random circled numbers and/or a “1:1” may appear next to a piece’s illustration, and there’s no key to explain what these indicators mean (see the image below).

When a set has parts that could easily be mistaken for a different size, such as a rod, the “1:1” label means that you can place the piece next to the illustration to make sure you’ve got the right one—they’ll match. To avoid similar confusion if your set is missing that piece, or if you need to order another because it’s lost, the circled number corresponds with the correct piece in the parts index at the back of the instruction booklet.

This set consisting of three house options also comes with loads of tiny builds (maybe too many for some people), as well as a puzzling Easter egg.

The priciest Creator 3in1 set in this guide, the Cozy House, is precisely what the name implies: a small multilevel house for a family of three minifigures. It’s packed with tiny details, right down to a little plunger for a miniature toilet. The two alternate builds are also homes, and each of those sit at the water’s edge, one being a tall canal house, and the other being an A-frame lakeside cabin. All three structures have hinges for creating fully enclosed houses that make lovely display structures and swing back open for playtime.

Our testers were a trio of siblings ages 5, 7, and 10, with the youngest pitching in to help sort pieces and the eldest deciding to save the main house build for last due to its display potential. For the most part, the kids found many of the detailed accessories, such as a minimalist dog and a remote-control car, amusing. The 7-year-old began an excited monologue as the kitchen came together: “Look, they’re cooking the soup in the pot, and now they’re eating the soup in their bowls! It’s red, so it must be tomato soup! But I don’t like tomato soup.”

One of these miniature builds, an odd shape that our testers’ parent likened to a mind flayer from Stranger Things, had everyone stumped as to what it was meant to be. A quick scan of Lego blogs confirmed that we weren’t the only ones. But this random element turned out to be an Easter egg referencing a 2010 Lego set called Gateway of the Squid. Nothing but a Lego designer winking at the past—and not a subliminal message that the Cozy House family worships a Lovecraftian demigod.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: The sheer number of smaller builds became a double-edged sword. The instructions ask kids to alternate between the main structures and the smaller details, which frustrated our 10-year-old because he didn’t like that his “brain keeps having to switch back and forth.” He’d lose interest when this happened, and the parent agreed that the instructions’ pacing felt a bit choppy. Unrelated, the roof on the main house is designed for easy removal to access rooms for play, but our testers found that it came off too easily and often dislodged the chimney in the process.

A fold-up Murphy bed allows Liann plenty of room for her easels and her absurdly cute pet gecko. The many loose pieces in this set tend to scatter, though.

Nova’s bedroom is packed with computer equipment, a swiveling gaming chair, and a bed ramp for her dog, Pickles, which uses a wheelchair that Nova made.

2022 marked the 10-year anniversary of Lego Friends, the company’s successful line specifically marketed toward girls. The sets feature mini-dolls instead of minifigs and are character-driven, with an accompanying five-season animated series full of wholesome activities and gentle life lessons. The decade milestone coincided with Lego taking a deeper look at the franchise and where it should go: “The five characters that we had before had become really beloved by a lot of the audience, but they were also very stuck in their ways and we couldn’t change the fundamentals of who they were,” Fenella Charity, design director at Lego Group, told us. “As personalities, they were all outgoing. They were all really happy most of the time, and they were all always getting on. We felt like friendship needed to be more realistic.”

The new generation of Friends comprises a much more diverse bunch in terms of personality and physicality, with the goal being that more kids might recognize facets of themselves and their real-life friends as they play. The company created three new skin tones for the mini-dolls, and one character, Liann, has ADHD. Another, Paisley, struggles with anxiety. “We have a huge point of view around how our product supports and enables and empowers kids with neurodiversity,” Carolina Teixiera, Lego’s global brand director of diversity and inclusion, told us.

Because the relaunched line is so heavily character-driven, we selected two of the bedroom playsets for this guide since they’re designed to be reflections of the inhabitants’ personalities. And at $20 each, they also reflect lower pricing. The Liann’s Room set is full of easels and paintings, and it has a Murphy bed hidden behind a bookshelf, a terrarium for her pet gecko, and a skateboard. The set includes her best friend, Autumn, who has a limb difference.

Nova is a coder and online gamer who has 500,000 followers but struggles with feeling awkward in real-life scenarios. The Nova’s Room set features an impressive gaming setup with multiple monitors, along with a ramp leading up to her bed for her dog, Pickles. The pup moves with a wheelchair that Nova designed herself using her engineering skills. Nova’s included friend is Zac, an African-French kid whose varied interests include anime, fashion, and mountain biking.

These sets are recommended for ages 6 and up, but our 5-year-old tester needed only minimal building help from her parent. Tough spots included constructing a sliding wall and snapping some windowpanes into place in Nova’s room, as well as swapping out Pickle’s wheelchair wheels for a different color. When our tester thought that she had misplaced Autumn’s hand after the unboxing, it sparked a clear and easy conversation between parent and child about limb differences.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: The Liann’s Room set comes with a lot more loose pieces, such as easels and paintbrushes, so things tend to get a bit scattered during playtime. But perhaps this is a deliberate design choice; Liann is a creative person, and some studies have shown a link between messiness and creativity.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: Our tester wished that Zac had a spinning chair that matched Nova’s so that they could play games together, and also wanted to have a cat along with the dog. (“Because I really like cats.”)

This classic starter set comes with 484 pieces in 35 colors, all housed in a distinctive Lego-shaped yellow box.

May be out of stock

If you just want a large variety of brick shapes and colors, the Lego Classic Medium Creative Brick Box is a time-tested choice that offers instructions for a few small projects, including a train, a tiger, and a windmill. We like Lego’s Classic sets in other sizes, too, including 790 pieces or even 1,600 pieces; whatever size you prefer, it makes sense to calculate the price per piece to see whether you’re getting a good deal.

The Medium Creative Brick Box itself is a large plastic tote. The included pieces fill only about half of it, so you can toss in the rest of your collection, as well. However, the lid doesn’t latch, which could lead to spills if the box tips on its side, and some Amazon reviewers complain that the tote’s nooks and crannies trap small pieces.

A baseplate gives Lego creations a strong foundation so they’re less likely to fall apart and easier to move.

Little hands working on larger creations will appreciate a baseplate, which prevents bricks from breaking apart. Baseplates can also add another layer to imaginative play—blue plates to represent water, for example, or green to take the place of a grassy field—and make it easier to move Lego builds from place to place. Or you can glue baseplates to the top of a play table to make a DIY Lego station.

This simple tool makes it easier to pry Lego bricks apart.

Large Lego kits, and even some medium ones like the Lego Classic Medium Creative Brick Box, come with a brick separator, which saves your fingernails when two tiny pieces inevitably get stuck together. If you don’t have one, it’s worth buying a couple to have on hand. While a single Lego Classic Brick Separator can work as a pry bar, using two is actually much easier: Attach one to each of the stuck Lego pieces, and then lift them apart using the pry-bar end as a handle.

If your set includes stickers, placing the edge of one on the end of a Brick Separator first and then applying the image to a tile makes the process much easier, with less chance of the graphic being off-kilter.

Lego sets regularly retire, so we’ll be updating this guide twice a year to make sure our recommendations are still available.

This article was edited by Alexander Aciman and Annemarie Conte.

Signe Brewster is an editor on Wirecutter's PC team. She also writes about virtual reality. She previously reported on emerging technology and science for publications like Wirecutter, MIT Technology Review, Wired, Science, and Symmetry Magazine. She spends her free time quilting and pursuing an MFA in creative writing.

Joshua Lyon is the supervising editor of emergency-preparation and home-improvement topics at Wirecutter. He has written and edited for numerous outlets, including Country Living, Modern Farmer, The New York Times, V and VMAN, Marie Claire, Jane, and Food Network Magazine. He’s also a Lambda Literary Award–nominated author and ghostwriter. Learn more at

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The 8 Best Lego Sets for Kids of 2024 | Reviews by Wirecutter

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