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LEGO DUPLO is not just for toddlers…

by admin on January 9, 2019

in Community Articles

(Written by James H.)

Making your own creations is one of the best parts of LEGO play. While we see many custom LEGO creations with LEGO System and LEGO Technic pieces, they are not the only LEGO building elements. For example, DUPLO bricks (meant for very young children) are also LEGO, and we can do cool stuff with them as well. I got the idea of looking at the possibilities with DUPLO while playing with my nephew over the last couple of months. Below, I have included some DUPLO creations I have found by other LEGO fans, demonstrating that DUPLO is not just for little kids. 🙂

LEGO provides building blocks for the whole family from toddlers to adults. We have LEGO Technic bricks, which enable feats of engineering. LEGO System bricks (your regular LEGO) that can be used from simple builds to massive artistic creations. LEGO Juniors sets (now called LEGO 4+) for younger kids with easy building instructions, and DUPLO for children ages 1.5-5 years old. DUPLO bricks are larger, simpler, and easier to manipulate than regular LEGO elements. The colors are bright and friendly, ready to stimulate a very young child’s mind to grow and develop.

However, just because DUPLO bricks are meant for little kids, it doesn’t mean we can’t build cool stuff with them. The magic of LEGO is that with enough creativity and the right bricks (or the right number of bricks) we can build anything. Even very grown-up things, like for example the Millennium Falcon from the Star Wars films…

LEGO DUPLO SPACESHIPS & MORE

In the player below, I have included three videos. The first one features the Millennium Falcon – well, at least as close a replica of the real thing as possible with just DUPLO bricks. The second video features a DUPLO spaceship. And the third one a DUPLO helicopter Because the DUPLO parts selection is not as extensive as in LEGO System or LEGO Technic, the builders had to improvise quite a bit using some clever building techniques and interesting pieces.

LEGO DUPLO STAR WARS CREATIONS

LEGO fan Garrett Yoshimura is working on a whole series of Star Wars vehicles made from his daughter’s DUPLO bricks. His current creations include a TIE-Fighter, Boba Fett’s Slave I, an AT-AT, and another version of the Millennium Falcon. Maybe this is a good way to introduce your toddler to the franchise? In any case, these colorful creations are cutesy with a number of great improvisations and bright colors, of course. You can see more pictures at Garrett’s flickr gallery.

LEGO DUPLO CASTLES & FORTS

Not everything has to be spaceships and science fiction! Building castles from DUPLO pieces is another favorite pastime, and they are much easier to build. LEGO actually had a whole DUPLO Castle theme from 2004 to 2008, with massive castles in dark colors, however these were eventually discontinued as parents found them too dark and scary for toddlers. Still, you can build nice castles with bright colored bricks, like in the video below.

And for examples of what could be done with the now retired DUPLO Castle pieces, check out the examples below by LEGO fans marsupilami and lego_tohst (click on their names for more pictures).

LEGO DUPLO BRICKFILMS

LEGO movies are awesome. The Lego Movie is enough to demonstrate that they can go to the highest heights, but it’s in the LEGO fan community we find the most interesting (if simpler) films. While most brickfilms use standard LEGO pieces and minifigures, you can still find examples of fun DUPLO animations, like in the video below. The obviously childlike style brings another level of sweetness and innocence to the film.

LEGO DUPLO FOR BUILDING UP HEIGHT & BULK

Adult LEGO fans mostly use DUPLO bricks as building materials to quickly and cheaply add height and bulk to their LEGO creations. This method is especially used in large dioramas to build elevated terrains and platforms that are then covered with regular LEGO elements (LEGO System bricks and DUPLO bricks are compatible and can stick to each other). However, the same method can be also used in smaller LEGO models, as demonstrated by LEGO fan Lab Synth in his creation titled Nuplar Lagoon (see more pictures by clicking on the link). Lab Synth shares: “I decided to try and build something more focused on landscaping. The first idea was to build a hill without using too many pieces. After a bit of thinking, I grabbed my daughter’s DUPLO and began building the main bulk. Covering the DUPLO bricks with layer upon layer of LEGO brick was only a matter of patience. I then built the main outpost building. It was fun having to build something stable and symmetrical on an uneven and sloped ground. The lagoon water actually came later in the build. The tree and cascade came last, together with minifigs taking life in this wacky environment.”

USING LEGO DUPLO PARTS IN CREATIVE WAYS

Although DUPLO has simpler, mostly blocky pieces, there are some interesting shapes as well. Creative LEGO fans sometimes use these in their regular LEGO creations to add unique features. This is beautifully demonstrated in one of the LEGO Iron Builder competition rounds between LEGO fans Jonas Kramm and Eero Okkonen. They had to use the green DUPLO grass element in their creations. This is a large piece with an interesting jagged edge, and both builders came up with some very clever ideas. Below, I have included some of them, and you can see the rest at the LEGO Iron Builder 5.0 competition page.

The ideas mentioned here are just some of the possibilities with DUPLO bricks. There is much more, as the sky is the limit when it comes to working with any LEGO building system. There are many options and ideas out there, so explore the possibilities! For the current selection of DUPL:O sets, visit the LEGO DUPLO section of the Online LEGO Shop.

What do you think? How do you like the DUPLO creations mentioned here? Do you build with DUPLO yourself, or use some of the parts in your regular LEGO projects? Feel free to share your thoughts and discuss in the comment section below! 😉

And you might also like to check out the following related posts:

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

sammy January 9, 2019 at 1:04 PM

Wow, those iron builder builds are amazing, and the castle is beautiful! I only used duplo for building up hills and stuff, but I might reconsider. The Star Wars duplos look fun!

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Hayato January 9, 2019 at 1:47 PM

Interestingly, our kids don’t have much Duplo. They started on Lego early because of my collection and because the younger ones wanted to imitate their older siblings. According to the kids, Duplos are great for building really tall towers and then smashing them. 😀

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LegoMom January 9, 2019 at 2:07 PM

Are the castle sets still available? They look very good. Nice collection of ideas! Thanks for sharing.

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admin January 9, 2019 at 4:21 PM

The DUPLO Castle sets have been retired a long time ago, but you can find them on eBay. They are amazing! I own them all and highly recommend them. 🙂

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Tony January 9, 2019 at 2:21 PM

Happy to see that Duplo is used by AFOLs. It’s too bad though that they no longer sell earth tone colors. The castle and pirate sets were great for those.

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admin January 9, 2019 at 4:21 PM

Tony, you can get the earth-tone colored DUPLO bricks on eBay or BrickLink. They are still available, just not directly from LEGO. 🙂

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LEGOJeff January 9, 2019 at 3:46 PM

These are nice ideas. I don’t have any DUPLO, but I considered them for building up hills and platforms. I would prefer the darker colors though, like grays and browns. Even black. I think those are no longer available.

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Ed January 9, 2019 at 4:39 PM

This is great!! I know Lego have released Batman, Spiderman, Jurassic Park Duplo, etc. But have they done any official Star Wars Duplo, yet?

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admin January 9, 2019 at 4:43 PM

Oh! Good question! No not yet, but I love your idea! Would love to see a cute DUPLO Darth Maul! 😈

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Håkan Storsaeter January 10, 2019 at 9:08 AM

It should be possible to do some Custom Darth Maul with some patience and enamel paint, though…

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admin January 12, 2019 at 10:25 PM

Ah!!! The temptation of the Dark Side! 😈

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Agatha January 9, 2019 at 5:41 PM

Great post! Thank you! I collect Lego cats (both domestic and wild) and all Lego sets, including Junior and DUPLO, that include cats. I especially love the dollhouses, one of my favorites being the Duplo Play House (10505) because of its modularity. Also, I love the Lego Junior and DUPLO sets because they come with printed pieces as opposed to stickers. Thanks again for this great and inspiring post!

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admin January 9, 2019 at 10:19 PM

Ahhh… I love LEGO cats too! And I agree, all those printed pieces are awesome! 🙂

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Håkan January 10, 2019 at 9:21 AM

Almost all of my Lego cats are white, monochrome kittens, except for occasional Friends cats. I should try to get some more variety, although the rarer cats tend to be quite expensive on Bricklink…

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admin January 12, 2019 at 10:27 PM

I think these days pretty much all animals come with proper printing, so if you wait a bit, I’, sure you will be able to get them for better prices (or find a small set with them). 🙂

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Legostuff14 January 9, 2019 at 6:19 PM

Giving age limits is like giving a limitation to your imagination, their isn’t one. I know for safety and product regulations companies have to do by law. So I’m all for adults using various building toys for their creations.

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admin January 9, 2019 at 10:20 PM

Very true. There is no age limit when it comes to creativity! 😀

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Håkan January 14, 2019 at 5:36 PM

I wonder whether eating a part would count as creative…

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Legostuff14 January 9, 2019 at 11:42 PM

The other thing that I don’t like is when toy companies separate toys boy and girl category. If a girl wants play with a toy for boys , there is nothing wrong with that and vice versa if a boy wants to play with a toy made for a girl it’s also ok. I believe that it broadens there perspective on life and experience. It’s is always wise to educate yourself on both sides .So, we can understand one another. So, on that note, I’m thinking of collecting the friends series. Trying a change of pace of just Ninjago ,Star Wars and City.

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Håkan January 10, 2019 at 9:13 AM

It’s a shame Elves was cancelled. My favorite girl-oriented/ mini-doll theme, so far. I wonder if there’ll be some more spin-offs of the Sweet Mayhem/ Systar theme from TLM 2. As an old spacer, I think it might come out interesting.

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admin January 12, 2019 at 10:25 PM

Friends is actually really wonderful. Sometimes the color combinations are a bit garish, but those can be changed. The interiors and accessories are usually excellent. 🙂

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Håkan January 10, 2019 at 9:19 AM

Hmm, these Duplo builds easily come out a bit gimmicky, although the Iron Builder ones are quite cute.

If you’re into themes such as City and Cyberpunk, I think the decorated parts could occasionally be useful for signage and similar, though. (I think Duplo also has a few unique colors, although they might be quite hard to work seamlessly into builds…)

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