So here’s a bit of a different review on the blog – my very first LEGO Duplo review!
It’s currently Chinese New Year and LEGO have upped the ante on sets celebrating the Lunar New Year in 2021, and I recently had the opportunity to review the third and final entrant this year (after 80106 Story of Nian and 80107 Spring Lantern Festival) – 10943 Happy Childhood Moments.
It’s the first Chinese New Year-themed Duplo set, and I just so happen to have a 4-year old who thoroughly enjoys building with Duplo, so this was a very way to bond with my daughter.
This arrived in the mail a few days before Chinese New Year, so the timing couldn’t have been more perfect, and we were able to build it a day before Chinese New Year, which was extra special.
Photos were taken where the set currently lives – on my daughter’s LEGO/Duplo table! It’s an Ikea Flissat in case you were wondering.
Special thanks to LEGO Australia for the review opportunity
10943 Happy Childhood Moments Set Details
The Happy Childhood Moments is pretty much a Duplo version of 80101 Chinese New Year’s Eve Dinner – with many of the same moments captured, and even the same family setup!
It primarily depicts a family (husband, wife and their kids) visiting their kids’ grandparents home for Chinese New Year, and staying for an extended period of time as they are probably travelling from afar.
While the primary-theme is based on Lunar New Year, the set has an alternate B-Model, allowing it to transform into a Kindergarten which allows this set to be relevant all-year round.
Like its LEGO counterparts, this set is especially great for parents who want to expose their toddlers to Lunar New Year traditions (whether you celebrate them or not), and to also mark an important milestone such as going to Kindergarten/Childcare.
As you may expect, we have plenty of Duplo at home, and my 4-year old seamlessly switches between both LEGO and Duplo (Duplo is great for free building + LEGO is better for roleplaying/storytelling) – so she was very eager to get into this.
Here’s the contents strewn on our floor.
Here’s the completed primary model, which has the grandparent’s house split into 3 modules – the main dining area/bedroom, a lounge room, and a bathroom with some smaller builds such as a playslide accompanying it.
But before we get into the build – some interesting elements! Here’s just a selection of some Duplo elements I found interesting.
The set comes with a large variety of plates with food (a mixed rice dish, white glutinous balls called Tangyuan, Jiaozi aka potstickers in West, and most excitingly, baskets of steamed dumpling buns!
There are also some cool Chinese elements such as red lanterns, a red teapot, an abacus, a chart with 1-10 in Chinese, ceramic cups and scrolls with Chinese idioms/riddles on them.
The set also comes with a variety of fabric pieces, with some really cute patterns like bunnies and whales on them for different types of blankets, tea towels etc.
There are also 2 hongbaos or red packets which need to be folded in half to look like an actual red packet. As they’re fabric, they don’t hold their shape when folded, and it was a little disappointing that they weren’t actual envelopes.
But still, I’m really digging the patterns and how well they relate to the set. Also that whale design is super cute and I hope it’s not the last we see of it!
Happy Childhood Moments includes plenty of Duplo figures – you get a husband and wife, their 3 kids, and a set of grandparents.
It’s a little unclear, but my guess is that the main family is meant to only comprise of 4 people – the girl is actually the same character, just in a different yellow outfit for the Kindergarten alternate build, and in a pink polka-dot dress for Chinese New Year.
The mum is outfitted in a gorgeous red cheongsam/qipao that’s perfect for the season. It’s a bummer that the dad does not have a red outfit, and I would imagine he would get a dressing down from his parents for not wearing bright colours for Chinese New Year.
Here are the grandparents – who have grey and white hair each, and glasses. We have a few Duplo figures in our collection, but this is the first time I’ve encountered “elderly” characters and ones with glasses fused to their face for that matter.
The grandmother is dressed in a gorgeous pale blue cheongsam with white and orange flowers.
I think the selection of minifigures are great, and looking at our stash of Duplo figures, I’m really happy to add more options that are notably close to the way we look.
It’s something really important for kids to see themselves in the toys they play with, and I witnessed it first-hand as my daughter was able to instantly identify with the little girl included (she says it’s a version of herself), without any prompting.
Here’s a look at the lounge area, which has these new cushion-pieces set up for families to just relax and connect with one another.
On the walls are Chinese characters that represent idioms. I can’t read Chinese, so enlisted a friend to help translate..
The phrase on the left has a bamboo in gold print, which loosely translates to letting people back home know that you’re safe. The bamboo is a reference to ancient tradition, before paper was readily available, people used bamboo to write letters on.
The phrase on top loosely translates to “a lucky star shines on you from above” and the phrase on the right means 5 types of prosperity arrive at your door. The phrase on the right also has an upside down “Fu” character, which is often stuck on doors to usher in good luck.
Food is a massive part of Chinese culture, and these plates with food printed on them – crabs, potstickers and tangyuan are just brilliant.
It’s still only February, but I’m calling it now – these Duplo dumpling buns in the steamer basket (stackable like the real thing!) are the best element that LEGO will produced in 2021.
If you’re a fan of dumplings, you’ll be screaming with joy at how perfect these are.
This new bright red teapot, and blue and white ceramic cup are also great new accessories – the serving of tea is a really important ancient Chinese tradition, especially serving tea to your elders.
I’m really glad that this aspect of Chinese culture was captured in this way – and that Koi print on the cup is fantastic as well.
In the main area, there is a small kitchen, and a dining table where the family can sit to eat tangyuan together.
The round shape of these glutinous balls are meant to represent familial connection and unity, so eating tangyuan on the 15th day of Chinese New Year is a very important custom to observe with your family.
Another great new element introduced that is a very important part of Lunar New Year is this stack of Mandarins. The giving and receiving (and eating!) of mandarins is another important custom, not just because they’re in season, but because the Chinese word for mandarin oranges also sounds like the word for gold “kam”.
I really like these lanterns introduced – they’re fused to this rubbery flexible line which allows them to dangle and look natural, but also hold up to rough play and they feel incredibly hardy.
On the upper level is a bedroom for the kids with two cots set up and a stuffed panda bear on a table to keep them company.
It’s pretty cute, and reminds me of times I used to travel to my hometown for Chinese New Year, and spend a week or so in my own grandmother’s home – a very common practice for most families.
Here’s how the main section of the home looks from behind.
Another really cool accessory included is this bright red rocking horse which is meant to represent a Qilin, a mythical creature that has dragon, goat and horse features!
which appears to be some sort of horned animal – I can’t quite make out what it is – a unicorn, a goat? Why does it have scales?
Thanks Vector for pointing it out!
Lastly, we have a small bathroom, which has its own toilet, a sink and a bright yellow bathtub!
Great for teaching toddlers to potty-train!
The transparent blue pieces behind are really aesthetically pleasing, and add to the overall Chinese architecture of the grandparent’s home.
Here’s the completed set! I like the plethora of food, and all the playable accessories.
The cushions are a little hard for the Duplo figures to sit on as they slide and fall off more often than not, but all in all, it does really capture my childhood memories of returning home to my grandparents for Chinese New Year.
Next, we have the alternate B-model – a kindergarten setup, which doesn’t use as many parts as the main build.
It’s really ingenious to include a b-model to prolong the longevity of the set beyond Lunar New Year, and also to mark a pretty exciting milestone for toddlers – going off to kinder or childcare.
For parents who are about to send their kids to kindergarten, or pre-school, this set makes for a great way to ease them into it, by roleplaying and showing them all the things they can expect from being in a classroom.
The classroom is the centre of the build, where the kids can learn their numbers and counting in Chinese, and there’s that handy abacus behind as well.
Another module has a bathroom (sans bathtub), where kids can again learn how to potty-train and wash their hands in the sink.
There’s a little section where food is prepared and dishes are stacked up, manned by this lovely old lady who I’m guessing is the kindergarten’s chef.
There’s a big play slide as well for outdoor play – something that all kids look forward to when they go to kindergarten!
And over on the right, another section where kids have naptime, sleeping in cots next to each other – just like in daycare!
The entire setup is a lot more basic than the main model, but as a learning tool, especially for parents that are nervous about sending their kids to kindergarten, I can see a lot of value with teaching and roleplaying what you’d typically expect in most childcares, which will be really handy to mentally prepare young toddlers in a very fun way to get them excited!
What I liked:
- A great learning tool that’s fun for toddlers
- A fun way to expose toddlers to Lunar New Year customs
- Plenty of cool new Duplo accessories and elements
- Large selection of Duplo figures
- Lots of value and replayability, especially with the kindergarten B-model
What I didn’t like:
- Set is a little pricey, so can be out of reach for some families
- Manuals do not come with any explanation of Lunar New Year customs out of the box
Happy Childhood Moments is quite a poignant title for a set. Reflecting on my own “happy childhood moments”, especially those surrounding Chinese New Year, which are still vivid in my mind, I was able to reminisce on year’s past, and just how much I looked forward to Chinese New Year as a kid.
In particular, memories about traveling interstate to visit my paternal grandparents, the long lazy holidays and hoping that my hongbao haul would be larger than the year prior so I could buy a new toy or video game.
Now that I’m a parent, being able to connect my daughter to these traditions, was a particularly special one, doubly so because we aren’t able to travel this year to visit our family and loved ones.
I’m really glad that LEGO have opted for a Duplo set to commemorate the Lunar New Year, and to many Asian parents, 10943 Happy Childhood Moments will be a must-buy, in spite of its pretty expensive price.
It’s a unique (for now) opportunity to connect children to their cultural heritage through educational play, and like the LEGO Chinese Traditional Festival sets, is packed with all sorts of great details about the customs and traditions observed.
I also enjoy the alternate build, which allows parents to transform the set into a whole new experience, so toddlers don’t get too bored.
The only downsides I can think of is the price – it’s a hefty investment especially for a toy meant for a 2 year old and in this economic climate, it feels like a luxury to pay this much for a set, but based on what you get in the box, I think the value is mostly justified.
This is a special set, but not for everyone. Obviously, if you don’t have a toddler, the set won’t be particularly relevant but if you do, or are buying a gift for a nephew, niece or friend, I can absolutely recommend this set for its cultural educational value, great Duplo figures and fantastic array of new elements.
For next year, I’d love to see more Duplo sets like these, hopefully at a more accessible price-point!
Rating and score: 4/5 ★★★★✰
Build  – It’ a Duplo build, so perfect for toddlers and young builders. Love that you can tear it down and rebuild the B-model
Real Value  – The set is a little pricey here in Australia (it’s slightly better in the US and UK), but all the contents, new elements and more justify the price
Innovation  – Not sure how I’d evaluate Duplo innovation, but the new elements and lantern element in particular are pretty neat. As a storytelling toy, big plus.
Coolness  – It’s a Lunar New Year-themed Duplo set, the first of its kind so yes, very cool.
Keepability  – As part of a specific seasonal theme, this will likely keep its value, especially if it has a short shelf-life. The inclusion of so many interesting elements will also bode well for its long-term value.
Thanks for reading this review of 10943 Happy Childhood Moments! It was pretty interesting reviewing a Duplo set for the first time and I hope you got something oit of it!
To learn more about other LEGO Chinese New Year sets, check out my guide to all the Lunar New Year sets released so far!
10943 Happy Childhood Moments is available from LEGO.com or your local LEGO Brand Store.
Special thanks again to LEGO Australia for sending this set for a review!
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