I just reviewed my first Lego Friends set, Olivia’s Tree House, and based on my little girl tester and her mom, it is a PAL Award winner! Lego is known for listening to parents and designing products to meet their needs. In spite of some opposition by groups opposed to gender specific toys, the Lego Friends collection of 5 characters and scenarios such as Olivia’s House, Summer Riding Camp, Mia’s Puppy House or Heartlake Vet have been very popular with young girls since their introduction this year. The realistic figures with jeans skirts or workout clothes, bright colored blocks (with lots of pink!) and role playing opportunities make this a perfect toy for language learning and creative play. The opportunity to change the scene by moving bricks and accessories encourages an ever changing story. Here is my full review:

Olivia’s Tree House is part of a village of sets inviting young girls to construct and play with themes relevant to their experiences–a tree house, a city park cafe, cool convertible or modular house among others. When I brought the tree house set to a home, the mom said, “It’s so annoying they don’t have more Legos for girls!” She was delighted to see the result of Lego getting this kind of feedback and ¬†responding with sets designed for girls to enjoy construction and pretend play. Our little tester loved the detailed Olivia with her ruffled jeans skirt and heart tank top. She quickly picked up her pet kitty, rearranged the props for a little snack and bath in the tub, before climbing the movable ladder to take a peek from the top of the tree house through her telescope. There is plenty of opportunity to re-configure the set or rearrange the many roses, flowers, butterflies and ladybugs. When our little girl discovered the gem stones, she looked up and said, “We can pretend pirates are coming. They don’t even know they are here!” Good props encourage branching the story and thus encourage creative thinking and language.

Olivia’s Tree House was provided for review by Lego