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Hmm...I've made a barn, what next?
on 6 October 2010
The Duplo Big Farm, as its name suggests, is a fairly big set, though it is strangely limited. Included are the parts to make an American style barn with winch, three people, a tractor and trailer and some animals. The barn pieces can be rearranged to form ... more barns and that's about it.
One of the great features of Lego and its infant cousin Duplo, has always been the freedom to be creative. Children could move beyond the booklet instructions, taking the box photo as a suggestion only, and let their imaginations loose. The same set could usually furnish the parts for a passable rocket ship, aeroplane or racing car (or perhaps a submarine, a house or a castle), no matter the set's theme. Which is why I'm a little disappointed in this particular one.
Any child is going to be hard pressed to come up with anything other than a farm themed model; the building set proscribes anything else. For example: the tractor included, is one that cannot be dismantled and cannot become anything else; so no chance of building a racing car then. Likewise the roofing parts are designed solely to top a barn, they can't belong to any other building and definitely aren't going to make a rocket ship nose cone. Of course some parts, such as the animals, can be nothing else but farm themed, repeated play, however, comes from the ability to engage the child's imagination and I can't help but think this may clutter the play box. (A cynic might think this a deliberate ploy, so that extra sets must be bought to furnish new play options.)
I feel the imaginative side of Duplo has been a little stifled, however, it's still far better than when compared to the sort of toys offered by other well known competitors.