I'm very excited to continue with the Harry Potter theme, and this time with a STEM product review of the Lego Harry Potter Hogwarts Express (train)! Mostly because I love Lego and I love Harry Potter, but also because I get to raffle off a Lego Harry Potter Aragog's Lair set to one lucky reader! Woot! But before I get ahead of myself, as this is my second product review, a reminder of the questions I use for my reviews:
Will your kid(s) like it, or will you (the adult) hate it (that it don't matter if they like it)?
How long will it keep them entertained?
Was it a good value?
And (since this is a STEM blog) what are the ninja-secret STEM skills added through play?
Will your kids like it and/or will you hate it?
In our house, we love trains and we love Lego, so the Lego Harry Potter Hogwarts Express is a big hit with us. Jack has seen a couple of Lego Harry Potter clips on YouTube, but he's not as familiar with Harry Potter as dad, I and the rest of the world is. However, he still really loves this train. He couldn't wait for us to build it, and he enjoys boarding the passengers on the 9 and 3/4 platform. This Lego set has great details in my humble opinion (IMHO for those in the know), like the mini-figures can actually run through the wall for the 9 and 3/4 platform, and there's a food trolley with chocolate frogs and a cool/creepy Dementor mini-fig. There is just one draw back with this set, really with any of the Lego sets we have, and that is that Jack loves to smash Lego bricks. HOURS of building down the drain with just one crush by the 4 year old! The humanity! So well I adore the Lego Hogwarts Express, I do not adore rebuilding it again and again. So there's a good chance if you have a young child, you will also experience the pain of having it smashed to pieces. Also to note, if you or your child don't like either trains, Lego, or Harry Potter, you will probably despise this set, like Umbridge despised untidiness and mischief (long live Fred and George!).
How long will it keep them entertained?
So Jack likes to help us build the Lego sets (we ask him to snap together the bigger bricks) and was pretty patient while built the Hogwarts Express-- there's 800 pieces in the set! So that killed a couple of hours. After the build, he enjoyed loading people on the train and pushing the train around for about 30 minutes, and then like I mentioned above, SMASH! And so we rebuilt the train. However, I think part of what Jack likes about Lego systems overall is the building part, so it kind of makes sense that he'd smash it in order to build it again? Sure we'll go with that. I do think older children will spend more time playing with the Hogwarts Express set, as well as it does take some time to build. So overall, it will keep the older kids entertained for a decent amount of time. I also recommend reading and watching the movies if you feel your child is old enough, as that will fuel their imagination with what to do/play with this set. Yet, if you have preschoolers/young children, you've been warned of the boredom and destruction. Like Trelawney's prophecy, you have been warned.
Are they a good value?
Big Lego sets are not cheap, let's be honest. However, as a Lego and Harry Potter fan, I was going to get this set no matter what, let's be honest. I think for an 800 piece Lego set and the details, like a Dementor mini-fig and a food trolley, this priced right for a big Lego set. We bought the Lego Hogwarts Express set right when it came out, so it was $79.99 (US dollars), but I found the set on Amazon for $69.00. So if I didn't already have the set, I'd jump on the $10 off! Also to note is that it does not come with tracks, which for us wasn't a big deal since we had tracks from another set, but I could see that being a factor in whether or not you purchase it.
Ninja-like STEM Skills
Lego systems are great STEM toys, as they teach spatial reasoning, motor skills, and problem solving skills (fun fact, Lego the company calls it Lego systems while us muggles usually say Legos). I had Lincoln Logs instead of Lego as a kid, but the idea is the same with any building set toy (and of course I have Lego now and I <3 Lego so much!)-- they present kids with exciting opportunities to tinker and create. And I have to say with Duplo (Lego's bigger cousin) and Lego, Jack is a spatial reasoning ninja. I'm actually a bit jealous of his spatial reasoning skills. So whether or not you get this particular Lego set, I encourage you to get the child in your life at least one building set toy (whether it Lincoln Logs, Kinex, Lego, Mega Bloks, Magnetic Tiles, Wooden Blocks, etc.).
Here's the overall rating scale again and what it means:
1 Star: Awful - Keep the receipt, you'll want to take this one back
2 Stars: Meh - save the packaging in case you need to re-gift it
3 Stars: Ok - good to give to classmates they aren't close to
4 Stars: Good - likely to be fun for a while
5 Stars: Great - You and your kids will look back fondly on this toy
I really, really want to give the Lego Hogwarts Express set a 5 out 5 since I love Harry Potter and I love Lego systems, and I do think what the set comes with and details and price are all balanced well. But since we may have gotten this set a little bit before Jack was ready (he hasn't seen much Harry Potter and loves to smash Lego), I'm going to give it a 4 out of 5. I do think this set would be good for the older children in your life, especially if they like Lego or Harry Potter, and thus highly recommend you get it for them. It'd be a great present or just cause reward! Wizard beards, if you like Lego or Harry Potter, you should get this set for yourself!
Alright now what you've been waiting for, the #giveaway of the Lego Aragog's Lair set! This giveaway is open to everyone over the age 18 in the United States (and will end 9/27 at 12 am EST). There will only be one winner, so just follow the Rafflecopter instructions below for multiple chances to be the lucky winner! Good luck, and happy Lego building to everyone!