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We have had Duplo for Millie since her first birthday but this particular set we only bought this Christmas. She is five so perhaps at an age where Duplo isn't a main priority, maybe she should be moving onto Lego but she loves the original set we have for her and we thought this one would really benefit her as her report from school said that she struggles to recognise numbers so anything to help aid her in that department has got to be a good thing. We bought it from Tesco for £15, this was reduced, I think it was originally £25. I'm not sure if I would have spent £25 on it but for £15 it was very good value for money.
=== Duplo ===
Duplo is lego designed for babies basically! It has been around so long that I know I had some when I was a baby, I still have vague memories of having played with it. It is large blocks of various shapes but that can all slot together. As well as blocks there are other features such as animals, doors, transport and so forth again all of these have the ability to be built on. It is always brightly coloured and you can buy different sets a bit like you can lego, I have seen a pet shop type set, basic sets with a variety of random blocks and other packs which are geared towards something particular.
=== This set ===
This set is called "play with numbers" this is because it is all centred around numbers but not in a way which completely dominates it, you can still treat this as normal lego and just use it to build or you can just focus on the numbered aspects it is completely up to you. Within this set you get lots of blocks, two flowers, a little truck, a person, a dog, a window and a little picket fence. This gives you scope to be able to build a house and garden or whatever you wish really! Millie likes to build castles! Now what makes this about numbers is that on 10 of the bricks you get a number in it's numerical form. These go from number 1 up to 10 and each numbered lock is a different colour which makes it easier to pick out. As well as these numbers you also get 10 blocks which have pictures on, each of these blocks have a different number of pictures for example 3 apples, 4 chicks and so forth. This means you can play along finding the number 1 and the 1 item, the number 2 and the two bunnies and so on.
Although these blocks are different sizes and colours it doesn't matter, they can all slot together, you can put blocks on the back of the truck, put the fence on top of blocks, put the dog on top of a flower... whatever you like! They are all also completely interactive with the other Duplo sets you can get so this can just build upon your collection.
=== Education ===
Education wise you can learn so much from Duplo in general. When we bought our first Duplo set for Millie's first birthday she wasn't interested in constructing anything at that age but she did like to hold the pieces and practice picking them up and putting them in the tub. She would spend hours just tipping out all the blocks and putting them back in again, this taught her about holding things and throwing things too! We also would talk to her about them "Have you got a red block?" and so she would pick up on colours or "Have you got a big block?" so she would know about size. We did this without conscious thought really so helped her to learn without really focussing on it. Now that she is older she learns from Duplo in lots of ways. Her imagination is amazing, she will make all kinds of things, things that I wouldn't thought she would. This set really looks like you can make a house out of it or use the truck to carry things but she uses it to make things like towers just by putting as many bricks on top of each other as possible, she has apparently made a ship, a car park, a castle... anything she imagines she can make so it seems! It is funny to watch but also great to see her being creative. Sometimes she gets frustrated if she can't get the blocks to go exactly how she wants but she is learning to be patient and to keep trying or to adjust what it is she wants to do and again this is important to learn. The numbers side of things has helped her to recognise the 10 numbers on the blocks. We don't try to force this on her but in passing we may ask her to pass us a block with a particular number on and she enjoys picking it out and it's good to see that she is getting it right most of the time. We count the pictures on the pictured blocks too and then try to hunt out the block with that number on. This is a really good way to help children recognise numbers and do basic counting.
=== Fun ===
This is really fun. We have this out on a daily basis. Some days I'm sure Millie just gets it out so she can tip it everywhere and see what mess she can create! But I think she really enjoys to create things. She can spend a long time just sitting surrounded by Duplo stacking it all up and then showing it to me as a castle or something else really imaginative. She likes the truck in this set, she puts the man on it and pretends it's Grandad and then uses her imagination to pretend he is going driving to the shops and picks up a dog and some flowers from the set. It's nice to see that she can take something which is quite basic and create different stories with it every time. Because this set fits with all other Duplo it just expands the amount of fun she can have. Our Duplo tub is now overflowing (we have 3 sets) and it means that these blocks compliment the others which gives her even more ability to play and have fun.
=== Durability ===
Duplo is definitely durable that's for sure! The first set we bought 4 years ago and it has been chewed on, thrown, even put in the bath and it is in fine condition still, as good as new! Because it's all made from a good quality plastic it's easy to clean, I've just washed it up with soapy water and sometimes Millie does this too just for fun! It helps clean it up and keep it at a good quality. It's definitely something which will last, my Mum says she still has my old Duplo at her house and my nieces play with it! So that shows how durable it is. The actual pictures on this are really quite simple so although they will probably date a little with time they will still be recognisable and that is what matters.
=== Conclusion ===
We love Duplo in this house. I thought at 5 years old Millie would be growing out of it but she is still really interested in building with this and using her imagination which is really nice to see. The numbered blocks are really useful in helping to teach about numbers and counting without it being really obvious which may put some children off or intimidate them a bit. We paid £15 for the set which I think is good value for money, often Duplo is over priced in my opinion so when we see it on offer we are tempted to buy some but at full price of £25 I think that that is a bit too much as it's not the biggest set in the world. Having said that it will last a long time and it certainly is entertaining; Millie plays with it on a daily basis.
My son received this set of duplo for Christmas - I believe it was bought for around £12 in the Tesco toy sale in the run up to Christmas (currently £25.99 on Amazon). The set is for children from 2 years to 5 years but it contains very similar pieces to my son's other duplo set that is for children from 18 months of age so I had no hesitation in letting him have it. My son had loved building with Mega Blocks for month and Duplo seemed a natural progression for him as the blocks were smaller so we were very pleased to receive this.
The set contains 58 pieces - which includes blocks as well as fences, window, wagon base, a person and a dog. There are also blocks with numbers 1 - 10 printed on and blocks with different picture printed on. The pictures are of different objects and have a number of those objects (from 1 to 10) on, so these bricks can be matched with the corresponding number. Therefore, not only can the child use these blocks for building but they can also help them to learn counting and their numbers.
The blocks themselves are well made and brightly coloured - so very appealing to my son. They clip together well - this requires a little more force than he is used to but he soon got the hang of this and now is able to do this with ease. They are also very durable. He loves the wagon base (he loves anything with wheels!) and loves to build on top of this and then attach the man and push it around the room. My son really loves counting too, so the pictures on the blocks are great for him as we can count them together. He doesn't yet recognise the numerical figures but we match them up together and I have no doubt he will learn from this. As it stands, the colours of the blocks match so the '2' number block is the same colour as the block with the picture of 2 objects on - so we do colour matching (this may lead to a bit of cheating when he is older and we are trying to learn the numbers though!) Inside the box, there is an instruction booklet which contains some really nice ideas of what you can build with the set and games you can play with the numbers - this is really useful.
Overall, this is a nice set of duplo. I would say it is better as an additional set rather than a starter set. This goes nicely with our tub set as it gives additional features - another wagon and window as well as new ones such as the dog. If this were the only set you owned, perhaps you would not get so much out of it as you only have a few additional feature - one window and a few flowers. At full price, it is quite expensive for what you get but if you can pick it up at an offer price, it becomes much better value for money. I like that it offers both manipulative and numeracy benefits to my son and he enjoys playing with this too - recommended.
Includes: great play starters like a LEGO DUPLO child figure / dog / and wagon to provide endless hours of learning and building fun /