Let’s face it, the number of LEGO Duplo options out there can be completely overwhelming.
But all this variety means that you can find something for nearly anyone. If you’re looking for a set to support STEM learning, we’ve identified five excellent ones.
We think the best DUPLO set for 1-year-olds is LEGO DUPLO My First Fun Puzzle; and our top choice when it comes to toys for toddlers is LEGO DUPLO My First Number Train.
We’ve chosen these sets because they are both simple and versatile STEM learning toys, supporting math, building, and counting skills, yet they are enough to encourage and reward creativity. They can also help with the transition to traditional LEGO since they have minimal specialty pieces and use the same building principles where the blocks make up the shapes.
So if you’re also looking for a set to support STEM learning for your baby, you should definitely get one of the best LEGO Duplo sets for 1-year-olds and toddlers like the ones we’ve listed below!
Best LEGO Duplo Sets 2023
1. LEGO DUPLO Mickey & Minnie Birthday Train
LEGO DUPLO Mickey & Minnie Birthday Train
The best overall pick that offers building, role play, decoration and learning numbers.
When you hear “LEGO,” you’re bound to think of tiny bricks that allow for tons of open-ended, intricate designs. Well, don’t get disappointed with DUPLO — all of its sets offers some of that, but much simpler and bigger bricks to be better manipulated with tiny hands. (Also too big for mouths eager to try everything!)
With bright colors, simple but fun animal designs, and a train theme, this set checks all of the toddler fun boxes while offering valuable STEM learning in the process. This set is great for encouraging fundamental math concepts like numbers and counting.
But the reason it’s a good gift for just about any child is one word: Disney. Admittedly, there’s not much to build here even for a toddler, so the emphasis is on stacking and re-stacking the birthday cake and number bricks. And of course, role play with Mickey, Minnie, and Pluto.
This is a great starter set that can kick off a new DUPLO collection or add fun colors and patterns into an existing collection.
2. LEGO DUPLO My First Number Train
LEGO DUPLO My First Number Train
An educational toy offering fun experiences in engineering, math, driving, and reading.
Anyone noticed how obsessed with trains an average toddler is?
Well, this set taps into that interest and builds on it.
The LEGO DUPLO My First Number Train is our top choice for toddlers. This set has a fun moving train, colorful blocks with numbers 0-9, plus child and cat figures. It’s a great educational toy offering fun experiences in engineering, math, driving, and reading.
Your kiddo may be little, but they are not too little to get a basic feel for these concepts.
Like our top choice for 1-year-olds, we also love that it’s a relatively simple set that can be put together in many different ways while also integrating with existing (or future) DUPLO sets.
3. LEGO DUPLO My First Bricks
LEGO DUPLO My First Bricks
Comes with idea cards that give kids a starting point to help them learn how to build realistic-looking objects with LEGOs.
The LEGO DUPLO My First Bricks – Building Kit for Toddler Play and Pretend Play is a really fun starting point for any young child’s STEM toy collection. This set is quite a bit bigger than our first two choices, which could make it a bit intimidating for younger children. But it comes with idea cards that give kids a starting point to help them learn how to build realistic-looking objects with LEGOs.
Because this set isn’t themed, it offers a lot more opportunity for creativity than most other sets, which is a great learning outcome. We also love that the idea cards are simple and recognizable objects, making the process fun and accessible.
4. LEGO DUPLO Brick Box
LEGO DUPLO Brick Box
Lets kids design the playground of their dreams complete with slides and a bouncy car ride.
The LEGO DUPLO Large Playground Brick Box is another great educational toy for the young one in your life. If your toddler is anything like mine, they will LOVE the playground!
This set lets kids design the playground of their dreams – complete with slides and a bouncy car ride – and then let their little lego buddies play all day!
Little ones can learn to make the structures in the photos, and then get creative about how they are connected. While having fun and getting creative, they’ll be playing architect, engineer, and physicist.
5. LEGO DUPLO Classic Creative Animals
LEGO DUPLO Classic Creative Animals
A great introduction to matching colors and shapes, and following a guide to build a specific shape.
The Classic Creative Animals by LEGO Education DUPLO is a fun set for interactive play with older kids, groups of kids, or adults and children. This set has a bit more structure if playing the game, but it still leaves lots of room for creative play and thinking.
This particular set hits a bunch of STEM concepts, especially math and science themes. It’s a great introduction to matching colors and shapes, and following a guide to build a specific shape. Because the shapes themselves are animals (and some plants too), the set also offers opportunities for kids to learn about biology. And like our other recommendations, the pieces will integrate well into existing DUPLO collections.
What to Consider When Buying a LEGO DUPLO Set for Your 1-Year-Old or Toddler
Factor 1: Simplicity and Versatility
In researching DUPLO sets for this article, I found that there are sets that are mostly bricks that can be made into shapes, and there are sets with tons of specialty pieces that make a specific object. While both certainly have value, and the child’s interest should always come into play, I tend to think that a simpler set, with fewer specialty pieces, will be fun for longer, inspire more creative thinking and playing, and grow with the child.
Factor 2: Child’s Interests
LEGO makes themed sets for everything: movies, objects, habitats, and so many vehicles. If you know the child you are shopping for has a specific interest, it’s almost a guarantee that there is a set that fits the bill.
Factor 3: Child’s Age
Smaller children may be intimidated by large block sets that don’t have obvious outcomes. I’ve observed this with my own toddler, and would recommend starting with smaller sets (like the one we recommend for 1 year olds!) with younger kids.
Contributor Allison is a biologist, educator, and mother with a passion for making STEM accessible to everyone through her writing and teaching.
Last update on 2023-12-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API