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LEGO DUPLO for adult LEGO fans?

About a month ago, I was approached by a LEGO fan who goes by the name AFOD (Adult-Fan-of-DUPLO, real name Marc), with an interesting concept; LEGO sets for adults, using LEGO DUPLO bricks. I was immediately interested in the concept, because it was the DUPLO Castle line released 2004-2008 that brought me back to LEGO as an adult, not regular LEGO sets. As a side note, I have no idea how the DUPLO Castle collection was ever approved, as it is one of the scariest themes LEGO ever released, with huge dark castles and frightful looking badguys. I’m not at all complaining, as I love the theme, but it was really not appropriate for 3-year-olds. Anyway, I very much appreciate building with DUPLO, as you can build big things in little time with surprising amount of nice detail. 🙂

Marc’s idea actually goes deeper than just getting adult LEGO fans to play with DUPLO – after all, anyone can do that even now. While building with DUPLO bricks with his daughter, Marc realized that DUPLO has some significant advantages for older builders as well. He envisions an entire line of LEGO products with adult-oriented display models, but instead of using thousands of small pieces, the sets would be made of big, easy-to-handle DUPLO bricks. This could be particularly interesting for those who are visually impaired or have limited motor skills, or anyone who prefers to use larger pieces. Marc calls this proposed line LEGO PLUS+ with the first project already submitted to LEGO Ideas; the LEGO PLUS+ Taj Mahal.

Marc shares at his LEGO Ideas page: “LEGO PLUS+ is my idea for a potential new LEGO product-line dedicated to senior builders as well as visually and/or otherwise impaired brick fans.” The PLUS+ name and symbol incorporate different aspects of the potential new line’s approach: PLUS+ can refer to the older age of builders, and the bigger size of bricks. The + sign can also symbolize the healthcare aspect of the product line, helping people with different impairments. In addition, the + sign can also be seen as a reference to the 16+ age recommendation of many of the larger and more complex LEGO sets. Just as LEGO Juniors introduces kids who grew up with DUPLO to standard LEGO bricks, PLUS+ re-introduces adults to DUPLO bricks. Besides offering a less complex, less difficult building process, LEGO Plus+ will also come with instructions including bigger pictures. This enables impaired LEGO fans to have a pleasant building experience without having to turn to themes and sets designed for preschool kids.

Furthermore, LEGO PLUS+ sets are also suitable for anyone who likes big models but doesn’t like to handle thousands of pieces in the building process. To recreate a given set built with LEGO bricks, you only need about 1/8 (13%) of the number of pieces using DUPLO bricks for a model of the same size. For example, recreating a 1,000-piece LEGO building takes only about 125 DUPLO pieces to get an equally large model. (This is one of the main reasons many LEGO fans already use DUPLO bricks to build up the bulk of large models.)

The LEGO PLUS+ Taj Mahal is made entirely of DUPLO bricks, and features many authentic details of the real UNESCO world heritage site in India. Including the world-famous marble dome, the four smaller domes around it, four minarets at the corners of the base platform, calligraphic ornamentation around the big center doors, the base’s distinctly patterned wall, and the base’s entrance including the small door to the stairs leading up to the platform. The LEGO PLUS+ Taj Mahal is intended to be a display model, although it is also playable, like all other LEGO and LEGO DUPLO sets. This means that LEGO PLUS+ sets have the potential to connect some of the youngest LEGO fans with the oldest, building a bridge between the building styles and interests of two generations, and thus giving the + symbol an additional meaning.

So far, the LEGO PLUS+ Taj Mahal reached about 100 votes, and received some enthusiastic response from LEGO fans. Here are a few comments from supporters:

  • “Certainly one of the best and most original concepts that I’ve seen on LEGO Ideas in a long time.” (Pretzel829)
  • “My brother is in his 70’s and has very poor eyesight. I would get this set for him in a heart beat and others like it.” (sosewsuzi)
  • “This takes DUPLO to a whole new level and several new audiences. Great job. I would buy one.” (Oltemative)
  • “Fantastic idea for those who wouldn’t otherwise be able to access the wonderful world of LEGO! Support very much deserved!”  (FreewheelLego)
  • “It’s amazing to see what you can build with DUPLO bricks!” (abcd1719)
  • “At first I thought it was made out of LEGO bricks but DUPLO!!! I was fooled by skill.” (Sleepy17)
  • “I would buy it for my parents.” (Cris9984)

As I mentioned above, I’m a big fan of DUPLO, and would love to see some sets geared towards older kids and adults. This is why I really liked the LEGO DUPLO Castle line. It provided a lot of gray, black, tan, brown, and other earth-colored elements that were perfect for more serious building. I don’t think LEGO would approve the whole LEGO PLUS+ idea, as they don’t allow suggestions for whole themes within the LEGO Ideas framework, but perhaps something like the LEGO PLUS+ Taj Mahal would open up the discussion for adult-oriented DUPLO sets within The LEGO Group. If you would like to learn more about the project, and would like to vote for it, visit its LEGO Ideas page. Marc also has other ideas for adult-oriented DUPLO sets, so if you are interested, you can follow him at his LEGO Ideas page. And you can also check out the currently available fan-submitted sets under the LEGO Ideas section of the Online LEGO Shop.

What do you think? How do you like the idea of a LEGO theme with bigger bricks geared towards older LEGO fans and those with various health challenges and disabilities? Should LEGO release such a collection? What kind of sets would you like to see in an adult-oriented LEGO DUPLO line? And what do you think of the LEGO DUPLO Taj Mahal? Feel free to share your thoughts and discuss in the comment section below! 😉

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{ 21 comments… add one }
  • brickmaster September 28, 2017, 12:47 PM

    This is an interesting idea. There are definitely people who prefer simpler building projects due to some form of disability or just not wanting to deal with so many little pieces.

    I agree with admin that I don’t think Lego will go with approving a whole theme as that’s against the Ideas rules, but they may consider making more mature Duplo sets. Or even mixing Lego and Duplo pieces.

    I think it would be worth for Lego to give this idea a try, if the Taj reaches enough votes. If not, then that’s also an indication that there is just not enough interest at this time. Kudos to the designer for trying something different and innovative.

    I don’t know what else could be made with large bricks like Duplo, but Architecture type sets like the Taj seem to be a good fit. Otherwise the bricks are just too big for making anything that won’t look too childish.

    • admin September 28, 2017, 4:17 PM

      Yeah, I think Architecture sets lend themselves the most to DUPLO building that older adults might be interested in. It is certainly an interesting idea! 😀

  • DavidH September 28, 2017, 1:00 PM

    Those duplo castle sets look great! Admin, do you have a display of them you can show us? One thing lego could do is to release a big box of duplo bricks in colors afols like. White, black, gray, browns, greens. This would allow adults to build with duplo or mix it with regular lego more freely. As far as the Taj Mahal, it’s nice, but I wouldn’t really call it a display piece. It’s just too simplistic for that. But I’m impressed by Marc finding all those white pieces that make it as perfect as it could be.

    • Håkan September 28, 2017, 2:44 PM

      Duplo bricks could be bought loosely at Bricklink, and probably also from Lego’s Bits and Pieces section, or what it was called.

      • admin September 28, 2017, 4:19 PM

        Yes, that’s true, but it is unlikely that older LEGO fans with failing eyesights are going to figure out BrickLink. A kit would be better for them. Maybe something with loose bricks and instructions for a couple of alternate models?

    • admin September 28, 2017, 4:18 PM

      I do own all the LEGO DUPLO Castle sets. Even have multiples of some, as I really like the theme. I also have a display, but it’s my own castle, not a display of the original sets. I can talk about it at some time, if you guys like. 🙂

  • Håkan September 28, 2017, 2:49 PM

    I saw another idea of him recently called “DUPLO Mysteries of The White House”, with a bunch of kids going searching for secrets around The White House in Washington.

    Pretty funny. It felt a bit like he was trying to sneak various conspiracy theories into the set, though.


    • admin September 28, 2017, 4:21 PM

      Oh, yes. I saw that too. I’m not too enthusiastic about that one, as I agree that the conspiracy was a bit too deep, and really not appropriate for young children. I didn’t even know the White House has conspiracies! Always learn something… and from DUPLO of all places! 🙄

  • LEGOJeff September 28, 2017, 2:52 PM

    If for nothing else, I think this project will be a good indicator if there is indeed interest in such sets. I do like the idea of having more earth colored Duplo bricks, as they are great for building up the mass of larger projects. Whether they have to be organized into a set, I’m not sure. Anyway, I will watch the progression of this project with interest. Are there any other Duplo projects on Ideas?

    • admin September 28, 2017, 4:22 PM

      I have seen a few DUPLO projects before, but they were pretty tame and simplistic, and none of them got very many votes. And I agree that this project has a good chance of indicating if there is interest.

  • Giza September 28, 2017, 3:12 PM

    I would test this project in a group home or something. I’m just not convinced that there are that many lego fans who are disabled, and want to build with legos, and want bigger bricks, and want to build the Taj Mahal. I appreciate that physical failings can make it difficult to build in old age (eyesight problems, shaky hands, etc.) but then they can have their own children or grandchildren to help. And this would also create bonding. Older people already have the problem of being viewed as childlike, and going from duplo, to lego, and back to duplo could be viewed as humiliating. Just saying.

    • admin September 28, 2017, 4:23 PM

      Hmmm… I haven’t thought of that, but good point. Adults may not want to be seen playing with DUPLO. It’s bad enough to be seen playing with LEGO already! 🙄

  • FrenchToast September 28, 2017, 3:28 PM

    I didn’t even know duplo had so many nice white pieces! Looks great. Lego could release some boxes with loose duplo bricks, and then post instructions on a special duplo page for older builders, or even better, allow people to share instructions.

    • admin September 28, 2017, 4:24 PM

      That’s actually a good idea. They are already releasing alternate instructions for many of the Creator and Technic sets.

  • Legostuff71 September 28, 2017, 5:41 PM

    It doesn’t matter what size a brick is , it matters on what we can do with it . I don’t know why that some people feel that if something is labeled for certain age group, that they have to shy away from it . Just because DUPLO is set up for children doesn’t mean adults can’t use it . A brick is a brick no matter what. We have people take junk ( stuff that is trash ) and turn it into art. I know it’s for safety reasons because we don’t want children choking on a small LEGO ( god forbid) . We have to remember that LEGO is a kids building toy (big or small) and we don’t have a problem with that . That’s a good thing . A couple a years ago ,I read an article that nursing homes use DUPLO bricks to help the elderly with there motor skills. So,this means that when I’m in my 80’s I can still play with LEGO.

  • Icepacklady September 29, 2017, 8:49 AM

    I like this idea. I have problems with the visuals when I’m using a lot of small pieces of the same color and I’m under 60. I like the idea of more adult themed things being done with Duplo or Duplo+ or whatever they call it. I hope LEGO listens to the idea and gives it some thought.

  • jose rodriguez October 5, 2017, 9:11 PM

    Speaking of Duplo, I think there is a model of the Panama Canal ships but made with Duplo

  • S.P.M. October 6, 2017, 3:53 AM

    DUPLO I would expect it!

  • B H October 28, 2018, 9:07 PM

    I created a Lego Ideas profile today so that I can vote for this Duplo set idea. However, I can’t find a Vote or Support button anywhere on the page and there is no instruction on the Lego Ideas site how I can vote for an idea. It just says I can vote for an idea (but how? There is no Vote button!) I am LOGGED IN. How can I vote for this idea?

    • admin October 28, 2018, 10:30 PM

      The reason you can’t vote is because this project expired without getting sufficient support. I see why the confusion though, as that is not made clear on the project page. But yeah, this project expired already. Hopefully, the creator will submit an even more awesome project in the future. 🙂

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