This parenting podcast host tested the season’s hottest toddler toy

Believe it or not, Evanka Osmak—co-host of the "Moms in the Middle" parenting podcast—is brand new to the world of LEGO Duplo. Read her honest review just in time for the holidays!

Photo: Sandro Altamirano

I’m always on the lookout for activities that my two-year-old son, George, and I can do together—and when they don’t involve a screen, I consider it a big win. LEGO Duplo to the rescue!

I didn’t grow up with Duplo as a child, so my toddler and I are exploring this activity for the first time together. This alone made getting the opportunity to try out Mickey’s Vacation House, one of Duplo’s newest toy sets, a really neat experience, because neither of us knew what to expect. As soon as we opened up the box, I could see the appeal for young kids. The first thing I pulled out of the box was the instruction booklet, which my son immediately grabbed and pretended to read.

Moms in the Middle parenting podcast host Evanka Osmak and her son George play with LEGO Duplo on the living room floor
Photo: Sandro Altamirano

Once we got to building, I was really impressed with how manageable the pieces were for both of us. His tiny hands could easily hold the pieces and lock them into place. We started by laying out all of the pieces, and discussing the shapes, sizes and colours. George enjoyed scattering them all over the room and playing hide and go seek with them. Not sure that made the building process any easier, but it definitely added to his giggles and overall amusement.

What I like most about the Mickey’s Vacation House set is that we weren’t just putting blocks on top of each other; it was more like piecing together a puzzle. Not only was the ex-engineer in me super geeked out watching the house come to life, but my son got a thrill out of building the house brick by brick—or rather, Duplo brick by Duplo brick! He needed a hand here and there, particularly with placing the pieces in the right spots, but we worked together and built the set pretty quickly. The booklet was very helpful and easy to navigate. Even George was able to flip through it and recognize the pieces.

Moms in the Middle parenting podcast host Evanka Osmak and her son George play with LEGO Duplo on the living room floor
Photo: Sandro Altamirano

One thing I didn’t expect was how this exercise brought out his attention to detail. We were putting on the roof pieces and out of the blue he said, “Actually mum, I think there should be NO snow!” It took me a minute to realize the roof was reversible for summer vs. winter. Not only is this great for future use, but it’s something I totally would have missed had he not pointed it out.

George also recognized the famous characters right away. No matter their age, everyone knows and loves Mickey Mouse. Also included in the set were Minnie, Goofy, and Pluto, plus an airplane. Long after the house was built, we spent a good amount of time flying the plane, taking turns with Mickey’s friends at the wheel. (Although my son did accurately point out that Goofy was behind the wheel on the box and should be in charge.) There have been days when we haven’t even built Mickey’s Vacation Set; he just wants to fly the plane. I’m down with multi-use toys!

Moms in the Middle parenting podcast host Evanka Osmak and her son George play with LEGO Duplo on the living room floor
Photo: Sandro Altamirano

I wouldn’t be a mom if I didn’t mention clean up time. I had this nightmare that we’d be finding tiny pieces under couches and rugs for months, but thankfully the Duplo pieces were easy to spot—even after George knocked the house down, demolition-style.

So, all in all, our first foray into Duplo was a hit. We built the house for the first time on a Thursday night, and the following morning, George was already asking, “Can we play with Duplo?” It’s safe to assume we’ll soon be buying more sets… And we now have the perfect answer for when George’s grandparents ask what he wants for the holidays!

Read more:
This is the best toddler toy to gift this holiday season
How my family of five kids learned to bond and connect through play
These toy sets are the answer to all of your holiday gift-giving worries

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