Summer Building Projects
Constructive Fun
Tags: summer fun, construction sets, dramatic play
Posted: 2014-06-12 14:43:05 By:

 

Construction sets can play on these summertime themes with mini-settings that spark pretend stories. Here are some new building projects that will keep hands and minds busy. Younger builders will need help getting these elaborate kits together, so make them a cooperative project. Once built, they will continue to be used for dramatic play and spinning adventures. These are products that build dexterity, problem solving skills, patience and imagination as kids spin stories for the small action figures. Click to find a summer building project.

 

 

 


2014 Award
LEGO Mia’s Lemonade Stand
(Lego Systems, Inc. $9.99 Score: )

Who wouldn't love a glass of lemonade on these hot days of summer? Mia's stand has all kinds of accessories to squeeze the lemons, pour cool drinks and she even has cookies to sell. She also has a motor scooter that can carry some of her supplies and a safety helmet to wear on her way to work. A 112-piece set that will keep hands busy to build and enjoying as a mini- setting for pretend play. A good choice for developing dexterity, patience, and imagination. Makes a nice birthday party gift--without breaking the bank. 5-12

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 

 

 


2014 Awards
LEGO Friends Heartlake News Van
(Lego Systems, Inc. $24.99 Score: )


Emma has a job at the Heartlake TV station and a big story just broke in the village. She and Andrew, who acts as camera person are out in the News Van getting the story. Builders can decide what the story is and play that out, but first, they have to build the van and the anchors' desk, as well. A 278-piece set comes with all the big and little pieces needed to get the scoop on the latest events in Heartlake. We know there are some who feel the Friends are too gender specific, but in fact, we like the active role the Friends play with their jobs. If it brings girls to the construction toy aisle we say go for it! That's the way to help them develop dexterity, patience, spatial skills and imagination. 6-12

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 

    

 

 


2014 Award
LEGO Friends Heartlake Juice Bar
(Lego Systems, Inc. $ 29.99 Score: )

Andrea and Naya are definitely thinking and eating healthy! They have opened a juice bar at Heartlake. What better way to deliver cool refreshment for the summer to all their friends? This is a big step beyond the typical lemonade stand. It has a very current look and all the equipment for smashing and whipping up smoothies and fresh juice are ready! Another fun setting for dramatic play once all the 277-pieces are assembled. We know there are some who find the Friends sets as too gender specific, but in fact, we like the active roles the Friends play with their jobs and entertainment. If it brings girls to the construction toy aisle we say go for it! That's the way to help them develop dexterity, patience, spatial skills and imagination. 6-12

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 

 

 


2014 Award
LEGO City SUV with Watercraft
(Lego Systems, Inc. $19.99 Score: )

It's time to go to the beach! Load up the SUV and trailer with the jets skis. One of Legos' clever modular builds that is divided into sub-models to give builders an easier start. This 219-piece set is loaded with fine details that add to the builder’s delighted and plans that guide each step in the process. A relatively small set that helps develop kids fine motor and spatial skills along with their ability to stay with a task and deal with some problem solving. All important learning. Skills. Marked for 5-12, we think many 5-7's will need help getting started. Doing this gives them a roadmap for how to approach complex tasks.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 

 

 


2014 Award
LEGO City Camper Van
(LEGO Systems, Inc. $19.99 Score: )

It's time to go camping! Why not with this big white camper van.. This is another of Lego's clever modular builds that is divided into sub-models to give builders an easier start. This 195-piece set is loaded with fine details that add to the builder’s delighted and plans that guide each step in the process. Kids will love the red canoe and two play figures, as well as the van with all of its accessories and working door. A relatively small set that helps develop fine motor and spatial skills along with their ability to stay with a task and deal with some problem solving--all important kinds of learning. Marked for 5-12, we think many 5-7's will need help getting started. Doing this gives them a roadmap for how to approach complex tasks.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 

 

 

 


2014 Awards
LEGO Friends Sunshine Ranch
(Lego Systems, Inc. $69.99 Score: )

For kids who love riding and horses or dream of both, this Sunshine Ranch is a great pretend setting. A two story ranchhouse with stables for the three horses that Mia and Liza enjoy grooming and riding. They also like to do a fair amount of gardening at the ranch. This is an elaborate 721-piece building set with tons of small details and accessories to keep players busy pretending. But first they need to assemble the ranch and corral and even the hen house. Our 7-year old tester's mom wrote that the instructions were extremely easy and her daughter was ecstatic that it came with more than one doll. She did wish that the box was sturdier so the pieces could be put back in the box and then rebuilt. We know there are some who find the Friends sets as too gender specific, but in fact, we like the active roles the Friends play with their jobs and entertainment. If it brings girls to the construction toy aisle we say go for it! That's the way to help them develop dexterity, patience, spatial skills and imagination. 6-12

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 

 

 


2014 Award
Playmobil Summer Fun Family Caravan
(Playmobil $39.99 Score: )

Once the 141 piece set is assembled, kids will have a fun play setting for pretend play. The family caravan is well equipped for fun away from home. It includes bunk beds, bathroom, kitchen and dining area that converts to a sitting area with a full-length couch. The removable roof allows kids to move the figures about with ease. There are all kinds of accessories for BBQ, eating, tools for repairs, as well as a mother and child and dog on a leash. With younger kids the construction needs to be done cooperatively with an adult. You may want to customize the family to match your own with figures sold separately.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 

 

 


2014 Awards
Playmobil Summer Fun Camping Site
(Playmobil $69.99 Score: )

Kids can replay or pre-play the excitement of camping with this elaborate group of settings that reflect the real experience. There is a camp store with lots of small accessories for sale; a sanitary station with toilet, shower, sinks, washer and swinging doors; an orange pop-up tent, trees and flagpole; and several Playmobil figures. A 262-piece set with plenty of pretend play power once the toy assembled. 4-10

Age: Preschool, Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 

 

 


2013 Award
Playmobil Large Furnished Hotel
(Playmobil $164 Score: )

A clever alternative to a traditional dollhouse, this large hotel has a grand lobby with check-in counter and a working elevator. There are two rooms upstairs, open the doors with key cards. The rooms include crib for baby, beds, chairs, side tables, phone, TV, and bathrooms with shower and toilet. Hungry? Go to the cafe where a waiter will provide you with all you need. Ready for a game? Try the playroom with lots of mini toys. The set includes, eight figures, luggage, food, dishes, and all the accessories you need for setting up a grand resort. 4 & up

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 

 
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