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Category Archives: Building Toys

LEGO Star Wars and more: the best gifts with bricks!

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Is there anything we can really say about the furor around Star Wars: The Force Awakens that hasn’t been said? The early reviews say it lives up to the hype – and even if it didn’t, nothing could possibly stop the marketing juggernaut that makes Star Wars toys some of the hottest gifts this year. And even without a new Star ... Read More »

Building & Construction Toys: Highlights from our Holiday Gift Guide

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Build it bigger! Stack it higher! Make it more complex! Construction toys give kids great practice with motor skills, and challenge their creativity. Add moving parts and problem-solving challenges, and you can take a simple play concept to the next level – marble runs and contraption-building sets add intriguing new elements for older kids. Before we even get started talking about ... Read More »

LEGO Mindstorms EV3: real science for kids… and grownups!

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As we touched on briefly in our last piece on LEGO, the LEGO company is already in the midst of harnessing the academic potential of their toys, and you can read exhaustive research and see endless educational activities at the LEGO Education website. When you get to the middle school and high school levels, the crown jewel of LEGO education ... Read More »

2014 Holiday/Christmas Gift Guide: Best construction toys

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In a celebrated anecdote from his autobiography, famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright credited his childhood maple wood blocks (similar to these Standard Unit Blocks) for sparking his creativity. Wright wrote, “The maple-wood blocks are in my fingers to this day. These primary forms and figures were the secret of all effects which were ever got into the architecture of the ... Read More »

Building skills with LEGOs: the developmental benefits of bricks

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LEGOs have changed a lot since we were kids, haven’t they? Along with all the basic City and Creator series, and the open-ended LEGO and DUPLO building sets, we have zillions of licensed characters (Star Wars and Disney and hobbits, oh my!) and even LEGO original licensed characters, including the LEGO Movie, LEGO Friends, and Ninjago. Kids can’t get enough of those irresistible bricks, ... Read More »

Building excitement: new LEGO sets are on the way!

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Any minute now, some of the coolest LEGO sets released this year will be hitting the shelves of Magic Beans stores (and our website). Here are some of the highlights. LEGO DUPLO The Joker Challenge #10544 One of the neatest sets I saw at Toy Fair back in February was the new LEGO DC DUPLO line, which brings some classic ... Read More »

Mixing it up with LEGO Mixels

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The second wave of LEGO Mixels just showed up in our stores and a constant question we’ve been getting a lot is “what are they?” I’ll admit these adorable little monsters look a little odd. Similar to the LEGO Collectible Minifigures that have been very popular the last few years, the Mixels are one of LEGO’s newest offerings for smaller ... Read More »

LEGO Juniors: A grown-up LEGO superfan weighs in

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Jesse Lyons, our marketing whiz, is the guy to talk to when it comes to LEGOs: he hasn’t stopped collecting them since he was a kid, and he knows what makes LEGO-loving kids tick. Here’s his take on the new LEGO Juniors series. Take it away, Jesse! It’s not just your imagination, LEGO sets have gotten drastically more complex since ... Read More »

Magna-Tiles will be hard to find this year

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Every year, Magna-Tiles top our list of holiday best-sellers, and for good reason: they’re terrific fun for everyone, and are one of the rare toys that can captivate a preschooler or a teenager. But this year, they will be in very short supply — and for a very sad reason. Magna-Tiles are manufactured in Thailand, which has suffered catastrophic flooding ... Read More »

Do you Tegu?

Last night was the second night of Chanukah, and we gave our kids a 52-piece Tegu Block set. These blocks are a new arrival here at Magic Beans, and they’re addictive. They are wooden blocks embedded with magnets. The magnets are fully encased and powerful enough to support the weight of the wood without being so strong as to make ... Read More »