ninjango.jpgThere’s so much effort that goes into putting together an intricate LEGO set. So it’s no surprise that the kids will want to be able to get some valuable playtime with it afterwards. And no set offers such great after-play opportunities as vehicle LEGOs, which come in many different forms to suit many different ages.

LEGO sets are available in general groupings, like City, Classic, and Friends, as well as in licensed sets, like Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and DC Universe Super Heroes. But one thing all sets have in common is that a vehicle of some sort—often times several—is among the options. Whether that’s a sports car, a truck, an airplane, or some other type of moving contraption, vehicles are a staple part of the experience.

In the LEGO City set, for example, there’s everything from a racing bike transporter, to a city snowplow truck, service truck, dune buggy, trailer, ATV patrol, cargo train, excavator, bulldozer, helicopter, camper van, fire truck, and even a prisoner transporter should the kids want to play a highly realistic version of cops and robbers.

 lego city bulldozer.jpg

The camper van – ideal as we start to think about summer vacation—even comes complete with a canoe and oars, plus life vests and coffee mugs. The doors on the van can actually open, and there’s a spot to put the canoe on the roof while the kids are “driving” the van to the desired campsite.

Leg city camper van.jpgThe LEGO City Bulldozer 

I had the chance to try out the bulldozer set, which is a highly realistic replica of the demolition device, complete with two mini workers, and even a building section to demolish.

Suitable for kids aged 6-12, I had fun putting together all 384 pieces with my 3-year-old son, with plenty of supervision, of course. There are tons of tiny, intricate pieces, stored in three large bags (with smaller bags inside for the extra-small pieces) and step-by-step visual instructions on how to put everything together. You’ll want a nice, clean surface on which to work. And a place where you can easily set things aside to return to another day—it’ll take an hour or more, so you might want to put it together over a few days. The chain-links for either side of the bulldozer wheels is a painstaking process on its own, since you have to link every piece individually (42 on each side.)

Once together, the kids will have everything they need to zoom the bulldozer into the building piece (or other LEGO creations), including a moveable blade and ripper, two dynamite sticks, jack hammer, hammer, sign, wheelbarrow (to clean up the fallen bricks, of course), chain, loose bricks, and ear defenders. The bulldozer itself measures 10 cm high x 19 cm long x 11 cm wide.

The great part about this is that, once you have the bulldozer finished, you can play with it with virtually any LEGO set you want—maybe make a massive building complex that you can knock down and rebuild. It’s a great toy that can be used across many sets and creations.

ninjago jungle raider.jpgNinjago Jungle Raider 

In the Ninjago series, based on the Ninjago Masters of Spinjitzu TV show, there’s a copter attack and garmatron. I gave the Jungle Raider a go. This set is ideal for kids aged 7-14, but only has 188 pieces, making it a bit more manageable.

I put it together with my 11 and 9-year-old nieces, who both found it “cool, awesome, creative, and fun,” in their words.

The Jungle Raider set helps re-create scenes with character Lloyd and his vehicle. It comes with two minifigures and a selection of weapons and accessories, including the Anacondrai stone pillar with two swords, gold chain, and Jade Blade. The idea is that kids who are fans of the show can recreate scenes. But even if you aren’t familiar with the show, you can let your imagination run wild and have some fun with the scenarios. Use the Raider’s large, rubber tired and built-in suspension to zoom through the jungle and fight with the sword or dagger. There’s also a dual shooter that will actually shoot out LEGO pieces when you need to defend yourself against the enemy.

More LEGO Vehicles

LEGO Technics customized pickup truck.jpgBeyond these, more vehicles abound. In the LEGO Creator series, for example, you have go-karts, racer cars, sea planes, and even an emerald express train. In LEGO Friends, there’s Mia’s roadster, and a vet ambulance to transport sick animals from the vet clinic. In Galaxy Squad, there’s a space vermin vaporizer (I swear, that’s a thing!), and in Juniors, a garbage truck and Spider-Man car. 

With Star Wars there’s the Imperial Star Destroyer, of course. Under the DC Universe category, you’ll find vehicles like the Riddler Chase Batmobile; and with Marvel Super Heroes, there’s the Joker Steam Roller.

Even the Technics line has vehicles, like the customized pick-up truck, off-roader, and champion racer, most of which are battery operated to add another element to the experience. The customized pickup truck is a big undertaking—it has 1,061 pieces. But once complete, it makes a realistic replica, with a V-6 engine, hinged doors that open, and a truck bed that can be tipped to deliver loads. And with the 8293 Power Functions motor, which is sold separately, you can make it motorized, and even add working headlights. It’s a great way to get the kids familiar with the inner workings of a car while building fine motor skills, not to mention patience and determination to complete such a massive project build.

Bottom line

Vehicles are a big part of the LEGO experience, and add a fun element to the after-play portion. They’re also fun to put together, particularly with sets that are truly realistic-looking, like Technics. And with such detail, kids get to experience every part of a vehicle, and learn what makes a snowplow, for example, different from an ATV patrol, along with each vehicle’s purpose. Add a bunch of vehicles together, and you can create your own civilization, complete with first responders, super heroes, racers, and planes.

Check out the extensive LEGO sets available at Best Buy Online, many of which include vehicles of all kinds.