Don't get me wrong, I love being a LEGO Duplo blogger. It's wonderful. We get to try all the latest Duplo, often before it hits the shops. We have been sent plenty of sets, supplemented by a large tub of basic blocks that I'd bought before we became involved in the blogger panel.
The problem comes when you're sent a set that you know both of your children will adore. This happened recently when we were sent the LEGO Duplo farm set 6141. As you can see from the photograph you get farm buildings, fences and animals as well as a farmer in a tractor. My boys (aged 4 and 3) love anything to do with farms, so I knew they would find it difficult to share this set.
The solution was for me to buy a second set (currently only £14.25 at Amazon). We made the boys work for their Duplo and set up a reward chart with the farms as their rewards. For fifteen days running they both tried everything on their plate at supper time. RESULT. £14.25 saved on wasted food, so, really, it was £14.25 well spent (but that doesn't make for such a snappy title for this post).
As I'd suspected, they both love their farms. They copied the picture on the front of the box and made their farms pretty quickly, then they played imaginatively for ages. They've played with these sets a lot, either building the farm as pictured or using the blocks to make other scenes.
Pretty soon I expect that the pieces will be added to one of our four tubs of Duplo, allowing even bigger robots or trees or parks or houses to be built.
We were also sent a brand new LEGO Duplo range, called Duplo Read & Build. The range has been created with publisher Dorling Kindersley. There are three sets containing a board book and Duplo blocks: Grow Caterpillar Grow, Let's Go Vroom and Busy Farm.
The idea is that you read the story with your child and build the characters as you go from the simple instructions in the book. It's lovely to focus on your child while you both work through the book. Ultimately your children will learn to read the books and play with the animals or vehicles themselves.
My boys loved the Read & Build sets. They enjoyed acting out the stories as they built the models. They took pride in following the instructions. We realised they were learning skills for life-long LEGO building when they were later given some LEGO City sets for their birthdays. Presley and Cash were able to follow the step-by-step instructions to make quite complicated vehicles, all based on the skills learnt playing with Duplo Read & Build.
Duplo Read & Build sets are now available, with a RRP of £9.99. They are perfect gifts for under 5's.
Disclosure: We were sent the LEGO Duplo Farm and three Duplo Read & Build sets as part of the 2012 LEGO Duplo Blogger programme.