I was recently contacted by the lovely people at Mega Bloks to review their Junior Builders Build a Story set. Monkey loves building so I jumped at the chance. When I think of Mega Bloks I think of them being the big, chunky blocks, and what I didn’t realise before was that they also do some smaller building blocks, which are perfect for Monkey. I am not sure how to describe them without mentioning the Duplo range from Lego, as that is exactly the size that they are. They are completely compatible and if you mixed them up together, without looking closely at the branding you would not be able to tell the difference between the two ranges!
Monkey was very excited when the delivery arrived and couldn’t wait to get stuck in and have a play. The set comes in a nice big storage box of it’s own and also comes with some cards showing how to build a few bits. Of course you can use the blocks to build whatever you fancy but I do quite like the idea of there being some ideas of what to build too!
Monkey is great at building towers and shapes but he isn’t at the stage of following building designs yet, or really making anything that much resembles anything, not without help anyway! He was loving all of the blocks though, and the little person, dog and wheelbase that came in the set.
For the purposes of the review I decided to try and build the ideas on the cards – a dinosaur, a robot, a crocodile and a plane. There are also images of these on the front of the box so I did assume that they would be the same design.
I started with the crocodile, which was nice and quick and easy and looked exactly like the one on the front of the box, result! Monkey loved it too and was walking it all around the sofa… and apparently according to Monkey crocodiles quack as it was making a lovely quacking sound as it walked ;). It definitely sparked his imagination!
Then I set to making the dinosaur, and I realised that while similar, it wasn’t the same design as shown on the front of the box, as it was more of a 2D version. In many ways that is no big deal and I guess they are trying to keep the design simple for little hands, but it does feel slightly misleading having the design on the front of the box different from the one you are able to make.
Despite this though Monkey absolutely loved the dinosaur and again was walking it around the house and even put it on the wheels so it was a dinosaur/car!
The robot was the same and I chose to copy the designs on the front of the box and actually started to run out of blocks at this point and had to use some different coloured blocks for the feet than the ones shown.
The set came with some stickers to add to the designs, and I thought this was a really lovely touch. This is obviously only a one-off element to be played with as once the stickers are on a block, they are on, but it was lovely. Monkey actually surprised me and did really well sticking on the stickers. A few had to be slightly realigned (to make sure there were no edges hanging off) but on the whole he got them in great positions and absolutely loved sticking stickers onto the blocks! Big plus points for the stickers!
He then sat happily “beeping” the buttons on the robot for ages which was dead cute!
I also decided to make the plane that was shown on the front of the box as there was still some blocks left, but again there wasn’t quite enough to make it as it was shown.
On reading the box it does say that “images shown are for inspirational purposes and may require additional purchases” which I do think is a bit unfair. I can imagine a slightly older child being really excited to make all of the things on the box and then being a bit disappointed at not being able to. Having said that though I don’t think it affects the enjoyment too much as there is enough for most of the things to be made and kids have better imaginations than I do as a grown up so I am sure they would work around it!
I think it’s great that the Mega Bloks Junior Builders range is compatible with the Duplo range too as then if, like Monkey, they have sets of Duplo too they can use bits of those sets to complement the designs in this one.
On the whole it is a lovely set, perfect for little one’s of 2-5, which is the advised age range as Monkey has since been making his own little designs, and we will keep the cards as I am sure when he is a bit older he will love to try and build them himself. One of the things I love about toys like this is that they grow with children and can be used in different ways at different ages.
Disclaimer: We were sent the Mega Bloks Junior Builders set for the purpose of this review, however all thoughts and opinions are our own.