Three out of four children feel that there aren’t enough toys that represent them, according to the LEGO Play Well Study 2022 conducted across 35 countries.
As a response to this, The LEGO Group has reimagined the LEGO Friends Universe, and introduced new diverse characters to help children feel more represented during play.
The brand-new characters include multiple skin tones, cultures, physical and non-visible disabilities, and neurodiversity.
New sets and series launched will feature characters with limb difference, Down Syndrome, anxiety, vitiligo, and a dog with a wheelchair.
These new characters also explore and work together to overcome modern challenges that they face, passions, obstacles, and differences, all while trying to create friendships.
To further make the entire Friends Universe as relatable and representative of the real world, the LEGO Group will also refresh the storylines of the LEGO Friends TV show to develop the characters narratives to ensure they’re more relatable and inclusive.
Review of the new LEGO Friends sets
My four-year-old, who has been playing with Duplo sets and now Lego sets, often uses LEGO figures to represent himself during playtime.
As a Chinese boy with no disability, he has generally found it easy to relate to his toys.
While the new characters won’t help him to find playtime and toys more relatable, I see them as a great tool to introduce the idea of inclusivity to him at a young age. It makes the conversation around it more natural and easier for him to comprehend.
He currently has friends of different skin tones but doesn’t have the opportunity to meet people with limb differences or are neuro-diverse. I hope the exposure through toys at a young age will make him more aware of diversity in the world and to embrace differences, making him more ready to make friends who may be different from him in the future.
The new LEGO Friends sets include the following:
- 41724 Paisely House (S$69.90)
- 41727 Dog Rescue Center (S$89.90)
- 41728 Heartlake Downtown Diner (S$44.90)
- 41730 Autumn’s House (S$119.90)
- 41731 Heartlake International School (S$159.90)
They are available across LEGO Certified Stores, LEGO Official Store on Lazada, Shopee, Amazon, as well as major retailers and department stores in Singapore. A LEGO Friends TV special is due to air in February 2023, kicking off the new TV series.