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201 of 207 people found the following review helpful
on January 11, 2012
This is an amazing set. Essentially, it's a dollhouse with 4 fully furnished rooms and an extensive front yard. Thankfully, it's a modular build, so you only need to build the legos in bag 1 first, then move on to the legos in bag 2, all the way through to bag 7. (Imagine going through all 695 pieces looking for the one piece described in the instructions!) Lego's anthropological research revealed that girls like to play as they're assembling their legos, so Lego made the Lego Friends into modular builds. Assembly is straightforward.

The house is mostly tan, white and lime, with pink roof pieces and some pink accent pieces. There are many, many accessories, which was delightful. I read that some Lego developers asked why the anthropological research found that girls wanted more accessories, like handbags, combs, etc., and in response, the researchers asked why boys needed a sword, dagger, shield, etc. (In the Ninjago Booster bonus set I got recently, a minifigurine came with 9 assorted weapons...). See the great article in Bloomsberg Businessweek on Lego's business strategy in targeting first boys, then girls, with their themed sets: [...]

The best review I've seen of this set is at Eurobricks[...]. You have to check out this review. It shows every brick included and goes into great detail on the furniture and rooms, so I won't go into the details.

Basically, this is an awesome set, and you can play at this for hours. As I wander around the girls' section at Toys R Us, I am vaguely repulsed by the aisles of pink barbies, skinny teenager dolls, pink dress up princess clothes, plastic kitchens and food, and fake taking-care-of-baby dolls and accessories. In comparison, the Lego Friends sets are much more creative and imaginative. Unlike the static dollhouses with the pre-printed furniture on the walls and static dolls (I saw several that were selling for $149 for boring, big, static dollhouses for barbie-sized dolls), this Lego set (much cheaper) can be taken apart, put together in different ways, rearranged, and I found myself reaching for my regular Lego blocks to put together new furniture and outdoor pieces. You can customize the minifigurines with the hair pieces and accessories from other minifigurines.

There are a few accessories that don't "snap" into place, like the cupcakes, hot dog, apple, cherries, lawnmower - but most of them do, and they're great. The figurines don't snap into a sitting position, but they do snap into a standing position. I actually like the minifigurines, they make the old ones look very blocky. If there's anything you don't like, you can take it apart, rearrange it, and even order new individual lego blocks from the pick a brick website.

I was very impressed by the creative use of the same lego elements - little 1x1 round pieces can be flowers, blender tops, lawnmower wheels, cupcakes, bushes and flowers, plant holders, doorknobs, lighting fixtures, shaker tops, bedding, lights, etc. Anyway, you get the point - just an ingenious use of common Lego elements. There's no stinting of legos here, the house is fully accessorized, fully furnished, and even outside the house, the landscape is very busy and fun.

The rooms can be put into different configurations, so they're not very solidly connected. You can easily change this by removing the smaller smooth pegged pieces and attaching them with the exposed regular lego pieces.

I know there is controversy among adults who don't like the fact that Lego is targeting girls with these themed sets, and insist that girls and boys should all play from the same basic Lego blocks like they did in the good old days (like the 1970's). Sure, Duplo is targeted towards boys and girls, and there are basic Lego building sets available, but from age 4/5 onwards, Lego deliberately targets boys with themed sets such as Alien Conquest (salvage crew fighting evil Atlantean minions), Pharoah Quest (archaeologist fighting evil Egyptian monsters), City (cops fighting evil robbers, firefighters fighting fires), Ninjago (ninjas fighting evil lord and skeletons), Hero Factory, Racers, Star Wars, etc. The Bloomsberg Businessweek article notes that since 2005, when Lego deliberately focused on the market for boys (after years of anthropological research on how boys play) to revive its brand, Lego has doubled its revenue and is now the hottest toy company in the boy segment. Just as there is a princess phase for girls, now people talk about a Lego phase for boys. Yet nobody seems to be complaining that Lego is deliberately targeting boys with gendered stereotypes of violence, monsters, fighting, conflict, competition, cars/ships/airplanes/boats, and weapons. In contrast, after four years of anthropological research on how girls play, the Lego Friends themed sets focus on cooperation between the main characters and is newly launched.

If you just want the lego experience, or have kids who like lego, or are thinking about buying a dollhouse for your child, this is the set to get. Like they say in the Bloomsberg article, Lego is known for developing "spatial, mathematical, and fine motor skills, and lets kids build almost anything they can imagine, often leading to hours of quiet, independent play."

There will be a summer release for further sets, and even an Advent Calendar for the holidays. If kids want to play with the Lego Friends sets, at least they're using their imagination and playing with Lego blocks. So don't be afraid of trying the Lego Friend sets out because of controversy by adults online. Try it out, and if you or your kids like it, just enjoy it.
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on January 26, 2012
My 5 year old daughter loves this Lego Set. She has liked Legos some in the past, but her default was to play more with baby dolls or puzzles or stuffed animals; now this Lego set is her primary toy. She loves playing house/family/friend senarios and this adds the ability to be creative and use her original Legos to build even more. She loves playing with the swing and having the dolls interact in different rooms in the house. With our help so far she has added a shed to put the lawn mower in, a bedroom for the parents, and a minivan for the family. It is a great way for moms and dads to get to be a kid again and have a fun way to interact with their daughters.

As for assembling all those pieces... it is actually quite easy. The pieces come grouped in bags to make putting it together easier. The instructions don't have any words, but instead pictures - this works great since my daughter is just learning to read. We decided to do 1-2 bags per night, so the project would stay fun. By the time we started the third bag my daughter had picked up on how to assemble it by looking at the pictures and she was able to do quite a bit of it.

I will admit I had a bit of sticker shock when I saw the price. I had grown up only playing with regular Legos for the most part and I wondered if this would really be worth the money. As soon as I opened it and saw how organized the designers made the assembly and then all the custom pieces that are so cute, I felt better about the price. Now three weeks later my daughter still plays with it every day (way more than anything else she received for Christmas). With endless options I think this toy will remain a favorite for a long time. We highly recommend this to our friends and anyone considering a doll house for their daughter. We are making plans to add the other sets to her collection as birthday and Christmas presents.

Suggestions to Lego for improvement... 1. I agree with other reviews that the cupcakes falling apart is a little frustrating to my daughter - not sure what the reasoning was there. 2. Also we would love the option to get more boys in another set. My daughter is young, so she is not looking for boyfriend/girlfriend stuff, but instead she would like Olivia to have a brother or male friend. Also maybe we could add a Grandma and Grandpa, too. As I said she loves playing house/family so anything to complete that would be great. 3. How about a school? I saw the science lab which is great, but a school resembling something more like an elementary school my daughter is familiar with would be great.
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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on February 17, 2012
I have to admit, I think I enjoy building these as much as my daughters! The youngest is only 4 and needs a bit of help to assemble, but after it is built together--she loves it! Even my 11-year-old is having a blast, and it is easy for her to put together herself. They each come with a booklet and step-by-step instructions, so you never get confused. However, my youngest will just build it the way she likes, and still has fun, even if it is not "right".
We have Olivia's House, Heartlake Dog Show, Stephanie's Pet Patrol, and Olivia's Treehouse. These Lego sets are extremely easy to put together and loads of fun. While some of them can be a bit pricey, they are worth it. In fact, I just ordered the Butterfly Beauty Shop, Heartlake Vet, and Mia's Puppy House!

If you have a daughter (any age!) that enjoys building things, as well as playing "dolls" or dollhouse, then this is the right toy for them!
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47 of 60 people found the following review helpful
on January 4, 2012
My daughter was very excited to have "girl power" legos, and both my son and daughter love the unique pieces in the kit. The colors are also beautiful. The house was very easy to build and once assembled the house itself has been very durable during play. However, some of the smaller pieces fall apart quite easily (i.e., the cupcakes). The other issues we have had are: the hair doesn't stay on the mini figures and the slippery surfaces on the furniture that give it a more modern appearance combined with the new styling of the figures don't allow the figures to "snap" in place like traditional lego mini figures. My daughter gets really frustrated when they won't "sit" and stay on the chair. Otherwise, it was a great purchase and my daughter loves it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 18, 2013
Our girls, ages 9 and 7, have always loved legos, but since they came out with the Friends line, they love them even more. We got this house for our 9 year old for Christmas, and she worked on it for a long time. It's not something that can just be thrown together. It takes time, concentration, and gives them such a sense of accomplishment when finished. We are slowing gathering all the sets, and my girls are working on a neighborhood. I will say, when she was finished and had us come take a look (she wouldn't let us peek) it was WAY smaller than I thought it would be. But, then I reminded myself that it's Legos.... it's going to be small. And it's sooo cute and fits perfectly under her bed ;)
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on January 28, 2012
I bought this for my daughter's 8th birthday. We have a lot of Lego and she has enjoyed the other Lego sets we have, but she has not had nearly as much fun with those as with this set. It is a little like Polypocket Lego. Although she is not a too much of a girly girl, she really likes this set. There are lots of really cool pieces and the designers have invested a lot of thought in putting together this set. She also has Olivia's invention room set, which I liked as it makes Olivia less of a stereotypical girly girl. She has been able to put this set together herself with very little help. I think Lego has finally found the correct balance in the girl's market. For the price it is actually quite reasonable given the complexity and number of pieces, especially when compared to some of the other Lego sets.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on February 8, 2012
My just-turned 7 year old daughter started being interested in legos earlier in this school year. So she received the Spongebob sets for Christmas because these were the only more gender-neutral of the sets in the market (and the only ones she wanted because, as she explained, they weren't too boyish). She enjoyed making those, but not nearly as much as these Friends sets that she received for her birthday! She got the cafe, Olivia's house,the car, vet, and pet car, and has almost finished every set that she received less than a week ago. Even her older sister who is 10 and usually doesn't want to play with with her, and her sister's toys, sat down with her and helped her build for an hour or so and then dove in again immediately after school yesterday with her. They love building the tv, and couch, and marvel at how different furniture swivels. They have proudly shown their friends what they have built and constantly want me to see their accomplishments.

For those who think this is a sexist toy, think again. There is a vet that the female characters operate, an inventor's studio, musician studio and more. The colors are "girlie" mainly consisting of beiges, pinks, and reds. But I think the toys turn out great looking with that pallette.

Bottom line, is that my girls are getting the math, patience, direction following, problem solving, following through on a project from beginning to end, experience that boys have been getting for years with legos. We hope Lego expands on this series because we're already close to being done!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on August 25, 2013
Got it for my daughter since she kinda liked her other imitation Lego product. The cool thing is that they have extras of the small pieces, I guess if you lose them or so you're guaranteed enough pieces of the small things. Luckily all the bigger pieces are there.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on June 22, 2012
My daughter just turned 8 and loves this particular Lego Series. She was never really into Lego before since most of the themes were geared towards boys, but with this series, she is really into it. She wants to build it herself and spends hours playing once its built. Definitely a great move as there were never that many 'girley' themes in the past. Hope that there'll be more released soon.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on August 16, 2014
Not what I expected. This is my first purchase of a larger Lego Friends set. It's so simple a six-year-old can build it, but that's where the positive ends. The "walls" are made of large, single pieces, so the child does not actually get to experience building a true Lego wall. How can I best describe this set? It's pretty much the Lego equivalent of a prefab house.

I have been building Legos since the 70's and this set leaves absolutely nothing to the imagination. As a parent, I have purchased Lego sets knowing I would get my money's worth not just in terms of quality, but also for the challenge the sets gave my child. I am completely baffled and, quite frankly, worried if this is what Lego is marketing toward little girls. Lego must think that girls are so simplistic, that they don't want to build something with smaller pieces. How so very insulting to my entire gender.

Lego completely missed the mark with this one.
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