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I’m a big sister to two brothers, an Auntie to a few nephews, and a mom to two boys, so I’ve had my fair share of experience with building blocks and sets. In fact I have always loved building with my boys and in my opinion building blocks in any form are one of the best toys for kids. I am also a huge National Geographic fan as well, from their magazine to their shows on TV, so when I was given the chance to review National Geographic Laser Pegs I was pretty excited.

I still really enjoy building with my boys, first with wood blocks when they were toddlers and because they’re now (almost) grown up, we’ve progressed into more difficult building sets with instructions like the National Geographic Laser Pegs.

I think kids love anything that they can build themselves, but the real bonus with these sets is that they light up too. Here’s what I found out when we tried out the National Geographics Laser Pegs Dinosaur.

Appearance

The box set comes with the instructions for the T-Rex on the cover, but there are 24 different dinosaurs you can build by downloading the instructions online at www.laserpegs.com. I checked out the site and was really impressed with how user friendly it is. You just choose the manual tab, and then the set you own, and you are given a list of all the instructions available. What I liked the most about this feature is that you can just follow along on your computer or tablet without having to print them off.

The building pieces look like any typical locking building blocks, but there are also the laser pegs, which are the specific pieces that allow the finished product to light up. Last of all is the triangular base that the built T-Rex stands on with a power button to change the light up settings. The base also comes with an adapter cord in case you want to plug it instead of using batteries. This is an added bonus because I can’t tell you how many times my kids have needed batteries for a toy and none were to be found anywhere in the house.

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The construction pieces are very similar to their popular counter part brands and stick together fairly easily. The blocks for this set are all clear, which can make finding your block difficult, but some of the sets come with different colored bricks which makes them easier to find. I found it best to seperate the same pieces into seperate piles before starting to make building simpler.

The instructions for building your dinosaur come on one very large fold out piece of paper with numbered steps to follow so you don’t get lost. This may be frustrating for the younger builder since you have to take your eyes off the page to build each step so you have to make sure you remember the number you are on as well. I think a booklet format would definitely be easier to follow along and there should be less steps per page.

Testing

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The building process for the T-Rex was quite easy once I seperated my pieces and realized you actually build each body part/limb seperately, then attach them all together at the end. Once you have completed each seperate appendage, they all fit together easily by the laser peg pieces.

Building each part/limb seperate makes it easier for the younger children and you get the excitement of putting the legs, arms, body and head together to see your final product. My boys and I had a great time putting it together, and we had to add the batteries and find the darkest room in the house to try it out.

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For us, the best part of the National Geographic Laser Pegs Dinosaur was the light up function. The first power setting is by far the neatest of them all since it’s sound activated. Not only do they get the joy of building their own toy but they then get to interact with it too. My youngest son loved talking to it and watching it respond by flashing its lights. The other settings go from continously glowing to flashing at different speeds and intervals.

It looks even better in the dark and I think having it on just the light up setting would make a great night light alternative and that’s where the adaptor cord would really come in handy. If your kids are anything like my boys who like to build a set and leave it built to play with, then they will love the Laser Pegs as well.

One downfall was the “batteries not included.” Just my opinion, but I think all toys these days should come with batteries included. Luckily it takes “AA”s and most people probably have some lying around, but be aware: if you’re buying the laser pegs as a gift, be sure to grab some batteries or a rechargable battery kit to go along with it.

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Overall, I think the laser pegs are a great building toy. These are a great addition to any kid’s building sets, and they’re really versatile because they’re compatible with other construction kits such as Lego. With this compatibility I think it is endless what kids can imagine and build. These building sets with their light up feature will even appeal to the older builder. The landmarks and archaeology set looks pretty fantastic, and I know a few grown ups in my life (myself included) who would have some fun with it.

There are also many other Laser Pegs sets available so there’s something for every child. My boys went through the typical stages of loving cars, trains and planes and the laser pegs has sets for all of them. My youngests latest phase has been dragons, and the dragon set looks pretty amazing. Now that we’ve tested out the T-Rex, I’m sure he’ll be asking for it soon.

To find a set your child will love, check out all of the Laser Pegs sets available at at Best Buy online.