I’m a Lincoln Logs girl. I grew up with Lincoln Logs, and my mom still has my original set in the (very much taped up) box that the wee ones now play with. So when it came time to play with and test out the new Lincoln Logs® Redfield Ranch that’s available exclusively at Toys ‘R Us, it wasn’t the wee ones who got to play with it and put it together. It was all me.
Now that isn’t to say that I won’t let them play with it going forward. I will. But I’m still a kid at heart, and sometimes I like to play with the toys, too – without any interference from children who think they know better. I don’t remember having the option of different Lincoln Log playsets growing up. There was simple the one box with the different pieces that you could piece together in a variety of ways. Now, it’s all fancy, and the Redfield Ranch fits right in.
There is so much that has changed, but I loved seeing that the logs are still logs made from wood and aren’t plastic now. So many toys have gone completely plastic, but Lincoln Logs is one of those nostalgic toys that needs to be genuine and made of wood. There have been improvements, however. Remember the plastic clips that you had to feed the wooden slats into to make the roof? It was a painstaking process and inevitably, some of the slats would fall out or it wouldn’t be even or something would happen. Now the roof is premade. And there are windows and doors, too, rather than just holes.
And my favorite change (as a parent anway) has to be that the container is now a plastic log. There is a lid in the top that hinges open so you can store all your Lincoln Logs inside – and there is room for a little more than just the Redfield Ranch inside, although not much – that snaps securely closed. No boxes that fall apart or won’t stay closed leading to lost pieces and unhappy children. Plus, I think it’s pretty cool looking, too.
When I got ready to build my Lincoln Logs, I was happy to see that everything came ready for me. The connector logs were all in one baggie, making it easy for me to grab them as I built, and the longer logs were in a second bag, with the plastic pieces in a third bag. Having them in bags also means that the pieces don’t get knocked around and dinged while being transported to the store, so all 124 of my pieces were in perfect shape when I was ready to go.
Once I started to build, it was pretty easy. I’d say the entire ranch was up and ready to be played with in under ten minutes. My muscle memory of how to position the logs as I’m building was not lost over the years, apparently, and Lincoln Logs are as forgiving as ever when stacking them. You don’t have to be perfect, which means that this is ideal for younger kids whose fine motor isn’t quite what you might need for some other building toys. The instructions have no words, which means that non-readers can follow them, although an adult may still need to help interpret for new builders.
Best of all? When I got my building almost complete, I realized I’d made an error. Or rather, three errors. I’d forgotten to put in the windows and door on the first floor. I’m just not used to having them! Fortunately, Lincoln Logs are sturdy enough that I was able to simply lift off the second floor in one piece and set it down, add the missing pieces, then lift it back into place. There aren’t many building toys that won’t break if you try to remove a section. Needless to say, I can see this making life much easier for Mister Man – and any other child prone to frustration.
The only thing I didn’t really like about the toy and its setup was that the doors – both the front door to the ranch house and the gates on the entrance to the ranch – are not assembled when you open the Lincoln Logs container. You have to put them on yourself. The door isn’t super easy, and I don’t see the wee ones being able to do it without adult help. The gates go on much easier, but there is nowhere in the instructions that tell you to assemble the doors or gates nor do they mention which way the gates should go on. I ended up guessing based on the photo, but I can see that frustrating some children.
The $39.99 (suggested retail) Lincoln Log Redfield Ranch set is designed for those 3 and up, which makes is much more accessible to young kids than many other building toys. And because there are so many other things you can build and create with Lincoln Logs to take apart and redo and create anew, it’s a building toy that grows with kids much more than other toys. At 8 and 10, the wee one still enjoy pulling out Lincoln Logs and playing with them. I adore toys with staying power.
There are also other suggested building creations that you can “create on your own” that are pictured in the instructions but that don’t have their own set of instructions. I’d love to see some additional instructions to help make those or at least a link to a website that walks through them on the instructions. I have full confidence in Mister Man’s ability to recreate those buildings, but I know not every child is able to do that. The more variations available, the more kids will play with a toy, and this is a great way to make that addition.
I’m headed back to go create some of those other variations myself right now though. Maybe tomorrow morning when the wee ones wake up, I’ll let them play, too. Or maybe not. After all, this is a pretty cool toy, and I know they’ll still have a blast playing with the Lincoln Logs Redfield Ranch even if I keep it my secret for awhile longer.