Reviewed for Fourth Grade, 2008

Lego Creator Beach House

If you're looking for a toy that builds major learning muscles, without hitting kids over the head with it, look no further than Lego. From teaching kids to follow complex multistage directions, to working their visual sequencing and spacial reasoning skills, to honing fine muscle coordination, this toy has it in spades. But not all Lego is created equal-- some sets are more one-trick-pony than unbridled open-ended play. This beach house packs everything we love about those little plastic bricks into an incredibly appealing package. The set has three cool projects stuffed into one box-- a beach bungalow, a cozy cafe, and a chic little apartment building. Packed with cool details like chimneys, barbecues (complete with chicken to fire up on the grill!), a satellite dish, and a balcony with an opening skylight, it's easy for young architects to tweak structures to their liking. Sustainable architecture and use of space are all over the news these days, and toys like the Beach House allow kids to see how many ways we can use and configure basic materials. If you're looking for something fail-safe to put under wraps this year, get thee to the beach!