Duplo Family Fun Fair
- Typical LEGO quality
- Moving parts
- Fine motor skills development
- Some parts hard for young children to build independently
The first thing I need to do in this review is acknowledge my own personal bias. I have loved LEGO products for as long as I can remember. As a kid we had Duplo, then Fabuland (remember that?), then finally full-blown LEGO. Some of my fondest childhood memories revolve around those toys. I look on LEGO products favourably, because I have a long and extremely positive history with them.
That being said, this is a review, not a love poem. I will try to objectively identify the positives and negatives of the Family Fun Fair Duplo set, so that you can make an informed choice on whether or not to purchase it. After all, that’s why you are here. That’s what I’m trying to do at least, forgive me if a little love sneaks in from time to time.
Quality – Duplo Family Fun Fair
As I mentioned, I have plenty of experience with LEGO products. They completely captured my imagination as a child. One thing I didn’t ever focus on as a child was the idea of quality. I played (and played, and played) with my sets, and never once thought about how consistent they were, how the pieces always snapped together or about how rarely pieces broke.
Now that I am an adult, I really care about such things. In fact, I care about such things so much that I recently wrote a post in which I identified quality as a fundamental component of value.
The quality of the Family Fun Fair set is exactly as I have come to expect from a Duplo product. Out of the box, everything was exactly as it was supposed to be. All of the pieces were included, most of them organised into neat little plastic bags. Everything worked together, exactly as it should. The set is well thought-out. It has a moving carrousel, which has particularly captured Hannah’s imagination.
The best way that I can describe the quality of this set is the standard, exceptional LEGO quality. I expected no less.
Toddler Engagement – Duplo Family Fun Fair
This is where it really matters. There is absolutely no point in forking out hard-earned money for a high quality product that spends its life gathering dust in a forgotten corner. Toddler toys need to be engaging, they need to inspire imaginative play and enhance the curious mind.
Does the Family Fun Fair set achieve that? Absolutely! The test for toddler engagement is simple – does my toddler play with it? Yes, yes she does. Every day. That suits me just fine, because it is pretty great for engaging dads too (maybe that is just my LEGO bias shining through)! I have very much enjoyed sitting on the floor and bonding with my little girl over the endless contraptions that we create.
Ease Of Build – Duplo Family Fun Fair
The Family Fun Fair set is rated for ages 2-5, which gives an indication of the difficulty level. It has some tricky parts that my nearly-2-year-old hasn’t been able to master yet, such as attaching the slides. That is because building a platform at an appropriate height to support the slides is a fairly higher-order concept. I’m sure she will get there, but I think it will be a while before she is able to truly independently construct some components of this build.
That doesn’t bother Hannah too much. After all, she has dad on hand to knock something exciting up! But I also don’t want her to get into the habit of constantly asking dad to do it, so I encourage her to struggle away at it for a while.
The other components that cause a little bit of trouble for a toddler are the carousel cogs. Hannah is yet to figure out how they work together.
Even though those components present a challenge to toddlers, I don’t see that level of difficulty as a problem. For starters, toddlers are natural problem-solvers if they are provided with the opportunity. Hannah will eventually figure it out, and when she does she will be pretty chuffed with herself. The second point is that those components are part of what makes the set so attractive to play with.
Other than those components, the Family Fun Fair set is made up of the standard blocks you would expect from Duplo. There is plenty in there that Hannah can join together independently, and she has plenty of fun with those pieces. She is particularly fond of the flowers, and she also has a great game where she tries to fit a horse through the window then makes it call out “stuck!” (I may have started that).
Versatility – Duplo Family Fun Fair
When we get a new Duplo set, I like to build it according to the instructions a couple of times first. Then, we let our imaginations run wild! The Family Fun Fair set has enough components that we haven’t built the same thing twice, even though we have been playing with it for over a month.
I think that is pretty amazing. It isn’t the biggest Duplo set, but it has plenty going on. The spinning components of the carousel particularly lend themselves to unique constructions and we have had many different versions of a spinning slide. Hannah loves these contraptions and we can spend a long time sliding various characters (and horses) down them.
Of course, now that I have written this review, the Family Fun Fair set will be added to the great box of Duplo in Hannah’s play area. That’s where the real versatility of Duplo becomes aparent. I can’t wait to see how the spinning components and slides add an extra dimension to our large builds!
Educational Value – Duplo Family Fun Fair
I’m not going to focus specifically on the Family Fun Fair set here. Rather, I’m going to speak more broadly about the educational value of Duplo.
Every toy these days seems to have “educational” attached to it. Too often, that tag appears to be shoe-horned on in an attempt to be more enticing for parents. What parent wouldn’t want their toddler to be learning while they play?
LEGO seems to downplay the educational value of Duplo, with only a small mention of “fine motor skills”, “shapes and colours”, and “ideas and creativity” on the back of the box. Yet, as I watch Hannah play with it, I can’t help but notice naturally Duplo supports her development of those skills. There are no fancy electronics, no American accents calling out a-c-b- or 1-2-3-. Just good old-fashioned plastic blocks being joined together. As I have watched Hannah play with Duplo for many months, I have seen the fine motor skills develop. I have seen her learn how to join things together and pull them apart. The best bit is the ever-improving problem solving skills. Hannah can sit for ages and try to figure out how to make something work – far longer than I ever thought a toddler would.
While I acknowledge my LEGO bias, when I try to look objectively at the Family Fun Fair set I see a high quality and engaging toddler toy. The amount of time Hannah has spent playing with the set speaks volumes about it, and to be perfectly honest, I really enjoy playing with it too!
Is it the one set every child must have? No, there’s no such thing. Every child has different interests and Duplo more than caters for them. If your child isn’t big on carousels and slides, there is an abundance of choice, from farmyards to construction to trains to pizzerias and even a day care setting (we may or may not own all those too). That’s the beauty of Duplo, it caters to the interests of just about every toddler, in some way. I cannot praise it highly enough, but that praise comes from genuine lived experience from my time as a toddler through to my time as a dad.
Disclosure – LEGO provided Blog of Dad with the Family Fun Fair Duplo set free of charge, for the purpose of review and inclusion on the 2017 Toddler Christmas Gift Guide. The views expressed in this post are entirely my own views, based on my experiences with the Family Fun Fair set. For further information, please visit my disclosure statement.