Playing Means Learning – A LEGO DUPLO Review and $100 Giveaway

Kendall, my 4 year old, seems to be rapidly picking up basic literacy skills these days. It’s like something just clicked in him, and now he’s pointing out and writing down letters, even sounding out words when coached. I wouldn’t go so far as to say he can read, but it’s exciting to think that’s not too far off in the distance.

I attribute this, largely, to the preschool program he was in last year and will continue to be in this upcoming school year, along with the work his father puts in. Truthfully, just don’t have it in me – the patience- to be the one to teach him this stuff. I can’t really sit down with him and help him practice writing his letters or sounding out words without both of us getting frustrated. He and I seem to have more fun learning together when we’re just doing everyday things or playing.

Cue the LEGO DUPLO Bricks and Book Set that LEGO sent me.

Kendall’s a recent fan of all things LEGO, having received his first set earlier this year. It’s amazing to see what his imagination can come up with when given just a box of colorful bricks. Really, it makes me want to get rid of half the toys we own that don’t inspire such creativity.

The LEGO DUPLO Bricks & Book set has been a great way for me to work with him on his reading skills, pointing out and helping him sound out the simple words in the book, while keeping things fun for us.

Now, I’ll admit that upon seeing how the kit spelled out each specific animal to build, and only came with enough blocks for those animals, I was a little disappointed that it wasn’t more open-ended. 5 minutes into playing with all the pieces, though, and after putting the 4 animals together that came with the kit, Kendall grabbed the rest of the DUPLOS we already have, and put this together…

Then he proudly exclaimed, “It’s a FOX!” He’s never made an animal out of any of the LEGOS before, and now I can’t stop him.

We even took a few minutes to write down F-O-X on a piece of paper. It’s a start!

Now, who among you would like to win $100 to spend on LEGOs? One lucky commenter will win just that! Just comment below telling me how you think Books and Bricks will help your child learn to read.

Visit to see other Read & Build sets and order online. Check out to find other reviews and more ways you can enter to win.

Sweepstakes Rules:

No duplicate comments.

You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
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d) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.

The Official Rules are available here.
This sweepstakes runs from 7/11 – 8/19/12.

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  1. Lego’s are the best darn toys ever. I know they are a pain to organize and sort but they have provided hours of entertainment for my older kids. My three year old is just starting to get interested in Duplo. It helps kids learn to read because playing in that manner is so good for the brains. They learn so much about spatial relationships and other big words and concepts. ; ) They are just fun, okay!

  2. My stepson is severely autistic, he may be chronologically 30, in his mind he is 3. He still loves to play with his toys in the bathtub, wears superman pajamas and gets very excited for thunder …”boom booms” as he calls it.
    Anything colorful and orderly is helpful for him, it stimulates his mind, he’s smarter then most would guess. Plus emotionally he’s forever a little boy, and what young boy can resist blocks?

  3. i think they can help my son with recognition, cognitive skills and also sharing.. because he would have to share with his friends when they have play dates!

  4. What a clever idea to pair building with books!! This is a brilliant way to help visual learners grasp reading and identification fundamentals 😉

  5. Love this!! My little monster loves to tell me the letters in words and then sounds them out. This is awesome in that he would store the word, relating it to the act of building what the word is.

  6. My two-year-old daughter loves Duplos and books, so I’m sure she’d love pairing those activities together. She loves the Toy Story 3 character Duplos best (Jessie, Woody, and Buzz Lightyear) and talks to them while making up things for them to do.

  7. Those look awesome! My 18 month old daughter would love reading the books and making the animal sounds while making some Lego animals. Great way to put it all together!

  8. Holla. Duplos are the best for us right now. Little hands are not ready for the little legos and neither am I! This looks like a cool set.

  9. What a fantastic concept, my 10 year old son eats, sleeps and well you know. . . Legos. They are the main interest in his life and I ADORE watching some of the fun things he comes up with to build and do with them. Just recently my little’ist (15mon) started playing with the big Legos and he and his older brother will spend hours playing and building together. Thank you SO much for the chance to win this giveaway, it would make 2 little men in this house VERY happy!!

  10. I have three boys so there is a wide assortment of Legos in our house. They love them…they cannot get enough of them…I step on them and it is painful (hmm, I don’t love the little tiny Legos all that much). In fact, I have recently spent the last few days hiding the tiny legos to keep the baby from trying to teeth/choke on them. So, I think the Lego Duplos Bricks and Book set would be a fun and safe way for my two older boys (5 and 3.5 years old) to play with Legos and learn to read while removing the need for me to worry about a choking hazard for the littlest one.

  11. My daughter loves Duplos. She especially loves to create animals.
    My son loves letters, and is very tactile-focused. He learns when he can feel things. I think he would have a great time with this stuff.

  12. We love legos! Making a DIY lego table this week for my son’s third birthday. He uses the Lego packaging right now to spell and count, I could only imagine how much he would love spelling with the book.

  13. My daughter would love to play with these! She loves books and is also beginning to sound out words. I think these books can help create a little more interest in reading books!

  14. My oldest son is a Lego fanatic!! Not only have Lego Instructions helped develope his reading skills but they continue to create problem solving skills, and the obvious….following directions. Something that can be tough for a squirrelly little guy!

  15. Amanda Collins on

    Whoever came up with this idea is genius! I love the idea of combining toys they love and teaching language developement and literacy skills! Bravo legos!

  16. My daughter is just discovering Legos at 18 months (she is 3 weeks younger than Leyna, first name Lorelei!) & these look like an awesome find. Would love to have some $ for Duplos around here. Thanks Jill!

  17. We love our lego blocks and always have them around the house. The duplo sets are perfect for my 16 month old’s little hands and he loves to break apart the creations we make.

  18. Yolanda Arevalo on

    My 2 year old son looooves Legos. He’s even having a Lego birthday party next week. He loves “reading” too so this gift card would be amazing.

  19. This is my first time seeing the “book and brick” set. What a great idea. Both of my kids love Legos! I love how they have made the books interactive with the blocks.

  20. I love the Duplo sets because they are small enough for little hands to make very creative things, but large enough to easily pick up and thus avoid the dreaded barefoot on Lego injury.

  21. My son has two older brothers who LOVE legos, and have gotten him to love them too. I think he would really like both the books and bricks, and making the connection between the two will help him be more interested in reading. 🙂

  22. I love that legos are incorporating learning! My 4 year old is starting preschool this year and this would be a great tool for her!

  23. Melinda Howlett Gill on

    I’ve never seen the “books and bricks” together like this. What a neat concept. Our youngest is very much into books, and calls every letter he sees “A”. He’s 2. He loves to watch his older brother build and read and this would be a great start for him to emulate his older brother but at his level. Thanks for the opportunity!

  24. Elizabeth Blair Honeycutt on

    My two-year-old daughter loves Duplos and books, so I’m sure she’d love pairing those activities together. She loves the Toy Story 3 character Duplos best (Jessie, Woody, and Buzz Lightyear) and talks to them while making up things for them to do.

  25. Jillian Jackson on

    My oldest (2) LOVES his legos, he would sleep with them if I let him. For the past year he pretty much just stacked up pieces then crashed them, now he is starting to make *things* like airplanes and lions. For a two-year-old he has an amazing vocab. I have been eyeing the books and bricks but have put off buying them until he is a little closer to reading. Thanks!

  26. Kendal Barriere on

    My almost 3 year old is really getting into Legos now and I know that he would learn a ton with book about building what you see, etc….

  27. I love reading your posts because Kendall reminds me so much of my daughter- so if Books and Bricks worked for him, she’ll love it!

  28. My 3 year old is very interested in letters and loves to listen to us read. I think LEGO would add a new dimension to reading, allowing us to incorporate reading time & play time together.

  29. LOVE Duplos!!! They boost learning AND they are great when you have a baby in the house- no chokables. Those teeeeny tiny legos are no good for houses with babies! Therefore, Duplos RULE!

  30. I grew up on Legos. So did my brother. They were the single most played with toy in our house while we were growing up. We saved ALL of our Lego sets and instructions for the days when we had our own kids. I was the first to have children between the two of us, so I have the bulk of our Legos (and I mean bulk). 30 years of Legos can be quite a bit…

    I have the original space series of Legos (they don’t make anything space right now). My little ones play with Legos for HOURS. There is no other single toy in our house that is played with as long as this. They role play with them, they build with them, and create whole stories around them. It is a joy to see our 30+ years of Lego being played with so much. My oldest (18) still has her Viking sets on her bookshelf even as she gets ready to go off to college.

    Although Duplos didn’t last long in our house (I have a 7 and a 5 year old now), I think the Duplo Book and Brick idea is a great one, especially for kids that are more resistant to reading (although I haven’t found one yet that doesn’t like to be read to).

    I fully support Lego in everything they do and everything they stand for. Did you know that Lego has yet to make ANY military themed sets beyond the franchises like Star Wars that have slight military connections?

  31. My son would love this! He loves animals and blocks/lego type things and while we aren’t ready for reading quite yet I think it would help with speaking which he is behind on! Sitting together, reading a book, and talking about the animals. =)

  32. Oooh! My 3-1/2 yr. old would love this! It would help him recognize letters (something he’s learning to do!) and not to mention, encourage him to build something other than towers 🙂

  33. My 2 year old loves the alphabet, reading, and legos! I can’t think of a better way to engage him in reading than to do so about legos! (I had to spend a good two minutes convincing him to not take his lego box with him out the door this morning!)

  34. How cute! My daughter is about the same age and just starting to get into trying to read on her own. And she loves animals- this would be the perfect educational toy for her!

  35. We all love legos. Hate stepping on them, but love playing with them. And duplo’s are so good for little chubby hands.

  36. My almost 2 year old, like playing with Duplos already, and he loves farm animals so I think this would be a great tool as he gets older!

  37. Amy O'Connor on

    Using reading and with toys that develop motor skills is great! It really involves so much learing!

  38. Christina L. on

    I would love to win this for our four year old son. He is in the midst of some new sibling jealousy and something educational and productive for him to work/play with would be amazing!

  39. my daughter would love these! she loves stories with animals, and these would make learning to read all the more fun for her!

  40. Books and bricks would help my children read because it would interest them in playing and they would try to sound out the words while they built creations.

  41. My son loves duplo blocks. He’s a little young for reading (only 18 months) but he also loves books – I expect he’d love to see his favorite toys in the book he’s reading!

  42. Stephanie Swearengin Cox on

    My mom is a teacher in an underprivileged school. She just took a class on teaching with Legos and desperately needs some for her kindergarten class. The gift card would be great for her!

  43. My daughter is a bit young to be reading (um, 13 months) but since I’m such a bookworm, I wanna start her love of reading early (also, hand-eye coordinatation skillz via legos? Works for me!)

  44. I think that the books are a great idea, in addition to allowing the child to build on their own they also are learning to follow directions!

  45. We were lucky enough to nab one of the coveted duplo read and build house parties (out of 2,000 spots)! I’m sorry to say that they want you to invite 10 kids and only send 4 sets (all the farm one). I’m happy to be chosen but sad that there won’t be enough sets to send home with everyone! This $100 set would allow me to do that and purchase some awesome princess/pink blocks for my girls and some add on’s to make our duplos that we have already fun! My child has already learned to read (search me how!) but these books look like they are right on her level and she loves blocks! We’re already going to have fun with our house party, but this would make it so much more fun!!!

  46. My son LOVES Legos. We have a Lego outlet in our mall and he always wants IT ALL. 🙂 Thanks for the great giveaway. 🙂

  47. As a mom that spent last evening building a strawberry, a banana, a fish and cupcakes out of Duplos, I TOTALLY NEED THIS. Landon already builds trains and cars all the time since he was 2. He is just like his mommy and daddy with a love a lego, It MAY be the one area we spoil the shit out of him. He can play on his own or with us with minimal fussing. Using as a tool for reading will be PERFECT for us. WANT.

  48. This sounds like a great learning tool for the kids who are more “hands-on” learners. Hopefully, seeing the word and the picture, PLUS building the actual animal would help that connection (between the word and the object/idea) stick. What a great idea!!

  49. I have two girls that are in love with the new Lego girls stuff! Not to mention all the other Lego stuff! Would love to win!!

  50. Heather Hunter on

    Is it bad that I love and hate legos at the same tme? My foot almost always finds the one stray piece on the floor to step on. Thanks for the giveaway!

  51. Kennedy would love building animals, and then learning the letters needed to spell that animal. She’s huge into asking “what letter does that start with?” when we see things around town.

  52. My 3 yr old son would love these. My oldest has some small Legos and my youngest gets frustrated with them. These are just his size.

  53. My 3.5yo son would LOVE these! He’s always talking about playing with Legos at school and keeps asking if he can have some for his birthday in a couple of months.

  54. Autumn Canter on

    My brother loved him some legos. We have the mega blocks for the kids but I think my son is ready for something a bit more challenging!

  55. We LOVE Legos. My little guy (4) loves doing the kits that are geared for 5-7, and I’m amazed at how well he follows the instructions with very little help. And kudos to Mom’s who help their boy children learn to READ THE INSTRUCTIONS, lol.

  56. Lego’s were always my favorite toy as a kid, I would build out entire cities in our playroom and eventually thats how I knew I wanted to be a city planner!

  57. Jeannette Messich Loretitsch on

    This seems like a great idea. I bet my son would love this! Anything that makes learning more engaging is alright in my book!

  58. Evan loves making all things Lego/Duplo and as there are so many 3 letter animal names it is a great way to get them thinking about what they are making, how to apply a visual/tactile aspect to the thought process. Great idea (as most Lego ideas are!). It is a good kit but better when incorporated with their larger sets for sure. Would LOVE to win this!

  59. Anne Benson Salmon on

    This would be so cool. My kid loves Legos and sounding out letters, telling me what letters things start with and so on. This would be a great learning toy.

  60. Regina Joy Wade on

    We love duplo around here! My 3.5 yr old builds with it and my 10 month old chews and bangs on them. 🙂

  61. Carol Underwood on

    Will is completely on love with Legos. The directions are teaching him about sequencing and how to read a book properly. He tells stories about the things he builds and is truly focused for hours at a time! Legos are the one toy that he plays with daily. I’m sure this is helping his mind grow and is a stepping stone to reading.

  62. My kids, 3.5 and 1.5 are Lego fanatics! We just made them a Lego table and they would love more to work with!

  63. Ashley Remick on

    We just got the Let’s Go Vroom! She loves it! It is great because we love to read and she always want’s to be doing something else now she is more attentive because we are putting the pieces together as we read the story. This was a great invention!

  64. Jamie Urbanawiz on

    DD loves books(though she’s not at the reading level yet), loves animals, and loves her Duplos(which came from both DH’s and my childhood stash of toys). This is the perfect combination for her, and I’d love to see her build animals to go along with her towers and cars.

  65. My daughter is constantly yelling out letters she recognizes everywhere. I think these blocks would be a great way to put that knowledge base to work toward learning to read!

  66. Kimberly Freeman on

    I love anything that connects learning with fun! My daughter would definitely benefit from a set like this!

  67. I think adding another component to learning – visual and tactile – which can only help my little girl figure things out and learn!

  68. Kelly Hoprich on

    My 4 year old loves building with legos! I would love to win this for him…he would be so excited. I love that this giveaway has the Bricks and Books. What a great way for little ones to learn letters and words while playing with a fun toy!

  69. Laura Miller on

    My daughter LOVES to read stories together! I think adding the bricks will only nurture her love of reading further! She would love to build the stories she reads about!

  70. Holly Noonan Stewart on

    Yes, please! I loved legos as a kid, so did my husband and we are looking forward to our LO to play more with them!

  71. I think that books and blocks would be a great merge between my daughter’s love of books and creative side, helping to build both!

  72. Jill Chesnick Bell on

    My twins LOVE duplo, especially the the bricks with the letters already on them! I have never seen the books though and they would be a great addition.

  73. My son is already a book lover and is just starting to get into LEGOs, but I can see that they’re going to be a favorite for a long time!

  74. Lindsey Papas Fritas Cota on

    You are awesome and I really need to get caught up from the beginning of the blog to now. 🙂

  75. I think anytime you can make learning fun for a child, they will be much more eager to want to participate and learn.

  76. These duplos would help foster a deeper connection with words by.connecting something in his hands to something he sees on the page. Hopefully they’d help him experience words in a new way. Live live live Legos!

  77. Elizabeth White on

    I love how it combines reading and play. That’s a great way to keep a preschooler’s attention!

  78. I was just looking at these book sets the other day and thinking that my 2yo would LOVE them – we’re just starting to learn letters, and having an interactive book would be great for him!

  79. Stephanie Lewis on

    My son loves to build but really struggles with speech. I think this would be the perfect combo of building and language for him.

  80. Courtney Farranto on

    My son, Simon, is just starting to get into Legos. He is a very creative and curious kid and I think this kit would be a great way for him to explore his creativity even more, while also starting to learn to read.

  81. Angela Elmore on

    My daughter is interactive, and doesn’t like to sit to read a book. This would be a great resource for us!

  82. Jack Fleming on

    I haven’t gotten my daughter any Legos, but I thinks he’s just about to hit the age where she can enjoy them and learn from them. Would love to start her off with this.

  83. The set would help my boys learn to read because they are very tactile learners. Being able to have them build animals after seeing the word would really help set the letters in their brains.

  84. My daughter already loves to read, but I’d like for her to play more with blocks, so this would be great!

  85. My child has fallen in LOVE with legos so I’m hoping the book and set will help him at least start identifying letters. He’s 2 next month!

  86. Cassandra Nolen on

    My daughter hasn’t played with Legos yet, but I absolutely loved them growing up and know she will too! The Lego Bricks and Books set seem like a great way to get kids more interested in reading and add an extra dimension of learning to their products.

  87. My 5 year old and 3 year old love to play with Duplos. Sometimes I run out of ideas of things to build with them, and having books to go along with it sounds like a fabulous idea!

  88. At 12 months, I can already tell he’s a learn by doing kind of kid. While he’s a toddler I can see these read and build books getting him to like books, and that to me is priceless as I am a book lover and he wants nothing to do with the written word.

  89. Wow, what a great product! I think the LEGO DUPLO Read & Build will help my kids learn to read with all those fun colors block building and interaction. For sure this is a lot more fun than just reading the book.

    Amy [at] utry [dot] it

  90. I think this could definitely help my daughter by being more engaging. She already loves looking at books and making them “work” more for her could only help. What a clever idea!

  91. Awesome giveaway. My 3yo is a huge fan of lego but I sometimes wonder if Duplo wouldn’t be easier for him to manipulate right now. Either way. He loves to build and loves to read, so anything that might bring the two together would be a joy to play with for him. And me! 😀

  92. Debby Dayton Stefanini on

    I think the new Legos would be wonderful for my granddaughter. Legos are great learning tools.

  93. Meghann Locker on

    My hubby can’t wait to work on our Lego collection for our new son! He is a crazy Lego fan and this gift card would fuel his excitement. What a fun giveaway!

  94. Legos promote creatvity. Most toys have a button to press so that the toy will entertain the child. Legos encourages children to learn how to entertain themselves, develops imagination as well as fine motor skills.

  95. I think that pairing activities with reading is always a good idea for little ones, and these sets would certainly help with learning to read in that regard!

  96. My boys LOVE Legos and this makes learning to read so much fun. I think the Lego activity will help encourage them to work on their reading skills to complete the story and activity

  97. Heather Lovell on

    My son absolutely LOVES legos. I think the key to learning is engaging the child, capturing their attention, working with their imagination. I think the Lego Duplo Build and read, would be fun for my son. And when your having fun, learning is wasy. Incorporating something he loves, likes legos, and adding in books (which he loves), would be a great tool to helping my son polish up his reading skills. This would b wonderful!

  98. I can’t wait till my son is old enough to play with Legos! It will give his father someone to play with! 🙂

  99. My toddler would love these and so would our 6 month old when the time comes and I love the size of the legos…safe to have around with a teething infant!

    jaimecoupons16 at gmail dot com

  100. I think it will help my son with reading because he will be able to connect the pictures and what he can build with what the book is talking about.

    Thanks for the chance to win!
    gina.m.maddox (at) gmail (dot) com

  101. Both my boys love Legos. I saved my sets from when I was younger and they play with those also. Lego Duplo Read and Build is an excellent idea for kids that are interested and reading and definitely for those that aren’t. My oldest has fun putting together Lego sets using the instructions and making things off the top of his head. Legos in general are a great learning tool.

  102. Jennifer Hansen on

    My daughter is absolutely obsessed with Legos – we are hoping to go to Legoland later this fall with her. jenniferlynnhansen at yahoo dot com

  103. i have a 5 year old nephew who is going to school this year and this would help to learn to read because it hands on reading and he loves colors

  104. The kids already love legos so this will be very exciting to see them having fun and learning at the same time.

  105. I think this would encourage children who are at the age when they want to do everything on their own. They can follow the book and build an animal without having to rely on Mom and Dad.

  106. I think this would encourage children who are at the age when they want to do everything on their own. They can follow the book and build an animal without having to rely on Mom and Dad.

  107. it helps them to learn that building on what they already know is the best way to learn!
    Thanks for a super giveaway!
    My email: anashct1 [at] yahoo [dot] com

  108. I don’t have kids, so I am not really good with stuff like this; however, to me, making it a game or a toy is a great way for kids to learn because its sneaky…not like school! LOL

  109. I can’t thank you enough for all that you have done for me. About a year ago I my partner split up, we had both made BIG mistakes in our relationship. He ended up moving away from me to pursue a new life. I knew in my heart that he would be the only one to make me happy. I was relieved when I found your email on a site about what you have done. I requested 1 to 2 day casting of the reunite us love spell and within 3days mark company had relocated him back to our hometown where I still lived. We immediately reconnected and move in with each other. Our wedding date is set for November 2012. Expect to see your invite in the mail thanks to

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