First, I would like to state that I am a HUGE Lego fan, as are my husband and both of my children. My husband and I played with Lego as kids and still build today. T started with regular Lego (after megablox and duplo) when he was about 3. B started with regular Legos before she turned 2, although she still builds duplo as well. I don't recommend regular Lego for that age unless you are supervising them because it is a chocking hazard. Other than being really big fans of Lego, I have no affiliation with them. The only downside we have found with Lego is the high price tag, but in general, I find them to be worth the price because of the open-ended play opportunities. Now on to the review.
Lego set 21110 Research Institute
I would like to make it clear that I bought this set for ME! Yes, that is right, I bought it for myself, not my kids. T (boy 8yrs) wants it also, but there was a limit of 1 per household when I ordered it and I wanted it for myself. I don't order much for me, so I'm not feeling guilty. T gets a regular allowance and I told him that he could buy it himself if he really wants it. I think the fact that he does is a good case that kids like science and they don't really care if the person is a boy or a girl in the set. He might replace their heads and hair with boy minifig heads, or maybe not. I think this set would be great for either gender. I think B (girl 2yrs) will like this set when she is older, right now she is sticking with basic blocks. She has a few girl minifigs that she likes to play with already. I really wanted this set because I love science. I studied biology and chemistry in college and practiced as a microbiologist for a short time and then a chemist for several years before having children. Science is a great love of mine that I hope to continue to pass down to my children.
This set comes in a cute little box that includes each smaller set in its own individual plastic bag. It also comes with a booklet with the instructions and a short description of each career (astronomer, paleontologist and chemist. It also has information on the lady scientist who came up with the idea for this set.
I built all three scenes in about 15 minutes. They are not difficult to put together, although the box has it listed as 10+ for age. My 8 year old son was watching over my shoulder telling me he could help me if I have any trouble. There are a lot of very small pieces so finger dexterity is important.
The chemist is a dark haired woman wearing a white lab coat, orange top, gray pants and safety glasses. She has a work bench with flasks and jars. There are also syringes in the drawer and some glasses with handles in the cabinet. Honestly, I have no idea what the gray and yellow thing in her left hand is supposed to be.
The Paleontologist is a red haired woman with a blue top and brown pants. She holds a magnifying glass (that REALLY WORKS!!) and has a microscope (sadly this doesn't work, wouldn't that be awesome?) and a skeleton of a dinosaur (T-Rex I assume).
The Astronomer is a blonde woman with a gray blazer, pink top and scarf and blue pants. She has a super cool telescope and a constellation chart. The telescope has a protractor to get the correct angle.
Here are a couple of close up shots of the minifigs, they all have two faces. Not sure what was up with the exposure of my photos but the only thing I changed was turning their faces around.
And a closeup of the adorable little syringe (3 were included) and glass with handle (2 were included) that were hiding in the chemist's drawer and cabinet.
I just love this set! I was so excited about it and it really is even better than I expected. I had fun building it and then played around with a bit for fun.
Since I have red hair I swapped the brown hair for red on the chemist (to make her me) and put on her scared/shocked face. I also put the microscope in her lab since I love using them as well. I put the little yellow disc under the microscope to pretend it is a petri dish growing something yucky.
The set up of the microscope didn't really work for her actually using it without a step stool of some kind. I took apart the stand, placed the microscope on the lab bench and used the stand as a chair. I was able to look into the microscope much easier this way.
I highly recommend buying this set if you are able to get your hands on it. I'm sure it will be available soon and surely there will be plenty before the holidays. I think it is a great way to introduce little girls, and boys too, to different fields of science in a fun way. I am really happy that Lego made these female scientists. I would have been happier if one of them was male just because it might appeal to both boys and girls equally, but it might change the message to girls since they are all different fields of science. To be totally honest, there are so many boy minifigs, I don't see why any boy that liked this set couldn't just swap out the heads/hair to make them boys. The lab coat body looks neutral, the others look more feminine but you could swap out the torso as well. Or just let the boys play with girl minifigs, the girls have been playing with boy minifigs forever.