Did we need different Legos for girls?

January 2, 2012 | By | Comments (10)

This past Christmas, my family collectively acquired 4,074 Lego bricks through gifts given to my 9-year old son, 39-year old husband and 6-year old daughter, so you could say we are a Lego-loving family. Which may also be why I’ve been asked, on a couple of occasions, what I think about the new Legos for girls, Lego Friends.

I will admit that, until recently, I hadn’t really considered buying Legos for my daughter because they seemed very boy-oriented. But after a few listeners reminded me that things don’t have to be pink to appeal to girls, we bought Sophie her first Lego set – the Lego Creator Apple Tree House – for Christmas.

Although a little confused when opening the package, she really enjoyed working with me and her father to construct the house. She also loved the little details, including the tiny lawn mower and basketball net in the driveway.

Which brings me back to Lego Friends.

Given our recent discovery, I was a little wary about the new Lego Friends line, but my first reaction when checking out the series online was “Sophie would love this.”

And .  .  . “What did they do to the minifig?”

I was concerned that the new series would be awash in pink – and devoid of all that makes us love Lego. Instead, I found a series that looks like it would work well with our existing Lego City collection, including a house, vet, café and beauty parlor. While the sets have a “girly” feel, similar to Polly Pocket, the designers have developed a full palette of colors that goes beyond pink. There were also recognizable Lego elements, including Sophie’s lawnmower.

The biggest difference between Lego Friends and the sets we’ve purchased in the past are the figures. Rather than using the traditional “minifig” Lego has introduced a new cast of characters which, again, resemble Polly Pocket. The characters are similarly sized to the original minifies, but the new figures have a variety of clothing and facial characteristics – there’s even a guy with five o’clock shadow!

So, what do we (my husband and I) think of the new Lego Friends?

First, we do think Lego needed to do something to address girls, or at least make them feel more welcome in the space. There’s no doubt that some of the collections can appeal to both genders (I’m thinking about City and Creator specifically), but there is a reason my husband and I refer to the Lego store as “American Boy.”

I have mixed feelings about the new figures. I can see why those who have written about Lego Friends are concerned that the redesigned figures (and sets) are reinforcing girl-stereotypes. And, for a Lego-crazed family like ours, the traditional minifig would have worked, and certainly wouldn’t have reduced Sophie’s enjoyment of the new series.

But I also understand why many girls probably would prefer these new figures, and sets, and why Lego probably felt it positioned Lego Friends to be more competitive with similar toys.

So, in the end, we’re pretty excited to see Lego expand their offerings to appeal more to girls like our daughter.

Not only will the new series give her and her brother something they can do together (the beauty parlor can go right next to the police station, across from the apple tree house), but through the process of building the toys, she will receive additional benefits including learning how to think in three-dimensions.

In two weeks my family and I will be in Florida visiting the new Legoland, and I suspect, if they are available, we won’t be leaving without a couple new “Friends” in our suitcase.

What do you think of the new Lego Friends?