The 10 Best Lego Friends Sets
This wiki has been updated 31 times since it was first published in January of 2017. While Legos have been a fixture of children's toy boxes for decades, the newer Friends line has become popular with those who want to add a touch of imaginative realism to their building blocks. If you need help wading through the myriad of options out there, check out the high-quality sets on our list, ranked here by their theme, size, ease of assembly, and potential for fun. When users buy our independently chosen editorial selections, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
July 24, 2020:
In terms of updates this time around, the Amusement Park Space Ride was removed due to its thematic overlap with the similarly named Amusement Park set. It's been replaced with the Juice Truck, a budget-friendly option on wheels that reflects current dining trends. Overall, this list contains what we consider to be a solid selection of toys designed with girls in mind, though obviously any one of these sets is also suitable for boys. In fact, some even come with boy figures, like the Grand Hotel, Stephanie's House, and previously mentioned Amusement Park.
March 01, 2019:
A bit of shuffling occurred here, which had more to do with current trends in the cultural landscape for pre-adolescent girls than it necessarily did with a given model's quality, as many of the sets on our list are extremely well-made. A pop-star kit, for example, was excluded from this year's rankings due to its potential to proliferate damaging aspects of the western beauty standard, as well as gross misconceptions about the relationship between art and fame. The cupcake cafe fell a few spots for more broad cultural reasons, as the cupcake craze in the big cities of America is finally starting to die down. Our top selections include a pair of toys devoted to the care of animals, which is a tried and true moral position, and one that's painfully cute to boot.
Panda Jungle Tree House If your little one is an animal lover, then this set is sure to please, as it simulates the experience of caring for exotic critters. It comes with three adorable panda figures and a ton of small accessory pieces that can be arranged in endless ways. target.com
Amusement Pier The Amusement Pier comes with a pirate ship rollercoaster, swing ride, carnival game, ticket kiosk, and more. There are five posable figures, including a mermaid and a boy in a pirate costume. This set does fall on the expensive end of the spectrum, however. lego.com
Puppy Playground For a super affordable option, Puppy Playground is the way to go. It features one girl figure, two puppies, and a skateboard that they can roll around on. There's also a slide, food bowl, and roundabout ride that actually spins. It's a compact set that can be easily packed up and toted on family trips. walmart.com
Lego Sets Vs. Free Play
After that initial spell passes, the pieces that came in a given set are, more often than not, repurposed.
If you’re in the market for some Legos for your child, you may be concerned about whether or not a set designed to be built into a specific shape would be any good for your little one’s sense of creativity. It may seem to you that these sets are merely paint-by-numbers systems that do little more than prepare little Suzie for a life spent following orders in a dystopian metropolis worthy of Fritz Lang. If that’s the case, we’re going to need you to pump the brakes a little.
When I was a kid, I had a lot of Legos, but I have no concrete memory as to whether they all come from designed sets or from those big, colored tubs that are sold near to bursting with a variety of blocks, people, and accessories. I do know for sure that I did have specialized sets throughout the years, however, and building them was a blast. There was a certain sense of satisfaction I got from getting the build just right, and that ability to follow pictographic directions has translated to a knack for assembling some notoriously frustrating Swedish furniture. But that doesn’t mean I lost all my creative powers.
When your child has Lego sets that are designed to result in specific builds, he or she won’t just build it, marvel at it, and walk away. More often than not, that initial build will be near perfect, and then it might see some augmentation. This is a crucial step for children to learn in which they discover that certain parts are interchangeable in ways that don’t affect the function of the whole piece, while others may enhance or detract from the design when added. After all, most creative work and thinking happens within set restrictions: the painter’s canvas has its edges, the musician his or her scales, the writer the strictures of language, and the filmmaker just 24 frames per second. There are always rule books, and learning how to bend the parameters thereof is the bedrock of creative ingenuity.
After that initial spell passes, the pieces that came in a given set are, more often than not, repurposed. They join the legions of other loose Lego pieces that have accumulated over the years, and it’s here that your child’s access to open-ended creativity can flourish. So, at the end of the day, all sets lead to free play, and they provide children with the experience of learning the rules and then learning how (and how much fun it is) to break them. An ambiguous pile of building blocks couldn’t provide that same experience on its own.
Choosing A Set For Your Child
Now that you’ve seen what a bright idea it is to invest in particular sets of Legos for your child, you’re going to have to pick from the legions that exist on the market. If you’re buying this set for a daughter, or you just don’t want to restrict your son to toys that are specific to his gender, you’ll want to take a close look at these Lego Friends sets. As this line is generally targeted toward girls, you may notice that the little Lego people it comes with are universally female.
Now that you’ve seen what a bright idea it is to invest in particular sets of Legos for your child, you’re going to have to pick from the legions that exist on the market.
Which set will turn out to be right for your child will likely have a lot to do with their personality and other interests, so knowing a little bit about your kid will go a long way here. If your child is very fond of animals, for example, there are sets that cater to that by creating things like stables or veterinary clinics in which the little Lego people will work with little Lego animals. Really, anything they’ve shown interest in can have an analog in the Lego universe, from STEM-oriented sets for the science lovers to adventure sets for kids who can’t seem to stay out of trees (or out of trouble).
One thing to look out for, however, is the age range listed on each set. After a certain age, Legos become less of a choking hazard, but their age ratings become important when it comes to the difficulty of putting things together. If you have a particularly advanced child who’s shown an aptitude for spatial reasoning, you might get away with aging up their set a little, but Lego has done a pretty good job providing age recommendations that are appropriate to their products. For the utmost safety and the best experience, it’s smart to stay within their guidelines.
A Brief History Of Legos
Lego was started by a Danish carpenter in 1932, and its toys were originally made from wood, unlike the plastic pieces most people think of today when they imagine the toys. Those didn’t come around until a little later, around 1947. The idea to create interlocking bricks actually came from a different manufacturer in England called Kiddikraft. Lego rather quickly outsold its competition, despite the fact that its interlocking bricks weren’t quite as effective as they are today.
This line, called Lego Friends, saw near instant success, and its profitability gave new life to a company that seems like it’s here to stay.
By the late 1950s, the company’s various experiments with design and materials paid off, and they began producing plastic bricks to specifications that are still in use worldwide. It would be another 20 years before the company began to create little human figures that were bundled with various sets.
Despite the power of the brand, the evolution of the internet and the ubiquity of smartphones posed a threat to the company in the early part of this century. In part as an effort to reinvigorate the brand, the company produced a line of toys targeted at young girls, as the bulk of its lineup to date was male-oriented or gender neutral at best. This line, called Lego Friends, saw near instant success, and its profitability gave new life to a company that seems like it’s here to stay.