Kids love video games, but let’s be honest, we'd all like to see them break away from the screens and play with actual toys that spark imaginative play. Why not compromise with some interactive video game-themed Lego sets that bring one of their favorite games, Super Mario Bros., into the real world? They can have fun building these sets, then use them to reenact their favorite scenes from the games. With enough bells and whistles (and LCD screens) to keep kids engaged, these Lego sets are a great blend of creativity and tech. Even better — several of them are on sale right now, so you can scoop them up in advance of the holiday rush.
This expansion set might be a bit of a misnomer — it can stand alone, too, and it's seeing a mega sale right now at 46% off. Considering that neither Lego or Nintendo products go on sale often, this is a truly great chance for savings. It's a 231-piece set that's easy enough for a young kid to put together without much help from the parents, too!
"The kids love this and was surprisingly easy to assemble. Love the Lego Mario app where it shows you every step more visually in depth. Great product and could purchase more different ones," said one parent.
To get started, a kid needs, well, a starter pack. This one packs in a few platforms; it comes with Mario, some enemies for him to squish, and, of course, a famous warp pipe! The little screen in Mario's chest shows power-ups and makes the right noise to accompany each action, so it truly feels like playing the game in real life.
One dad says it's "incredible," "so cool" and he'd "give it more stars if I could." This shopper gave it to their nephew, but "was pleasantly surprised to learn that the figure makes sounds and even the eyes are digitally blinking." This grandparent says it's "well worth the money," and right now you can grab it for only $48, a 20% discount from its usual price of $60.
But what if Mario isn’t a kid’s favorite character? What if they’re a younger sibling and identify more with Mario’s brother Luigi? Well, they can have their very own starter set with the green-clad plumber. This one was released more recently so it’s not always as cheap as the original sets, but fans of games like Luigi’s Mansion will still be thrilled to check it out, especially when it's on sale for $48, down from $60.
Once a kid has got one — or two — starter sets they’re going to want to expand their little LEGO plumber’s adventures, and they can grab a set like this adorable house that comes with a hammock and Mario’s best friend, Yoshi! It's $24 right now, 20% off from its usual $30 cost.
This shopper loves the set because "it's so cute!" And this parent really enjoyed the app, because "it keeps track of your coins and has your little Lego Mario Land from the sets you have and you can see other people's courses too. Is it an extra step, absolutely, but I feel like Lego made it so you had to get the app so you can get the full Lego Mario experience [...] my son loves it and I'm definitely getting more."
When kids have their head in the clouds, why not meet them there with this Sky World expansion kit, which brings plenty of troublesome enemies into the orbit of our heroic plumber brothers. It will add hours of fun!
Even fans of the tough Sumo Bro won’t feel left out, thanks to this tipsy tower set that lets kids take down their mighty foes by having Mario or Luigi jump on the levers — that they build themselves, of course. There’s so much to do with each Mario set, and this particular challenge is well-priced at Lego Super Mario Boss Sumo Bro Topple Tower Expansion Set right now, a 36% discount.
One grandmother who bought it says, "Toys are different these days — there are bar codes to swipe as you play, and apps must be downloaded which this grandma knows nothing about, but thank goodness my son does! His son liked it."
Looking for a few stocking stuffers? You can power-up Mario or Luigi thanks to these affordable costumes that will allow them to gather more coins as they traverse the courses your child has built, as well as adding some extra charming sound effects. Ever wondered what Mario sounds like as a bee? You can find out with this $8 accessory for the basic starter sets!
Kids love it, with this customer's child finding it "'fun to be able to change Mario around." And one grandparent was thrilled: "I absolutely love how these Legos interact with each other. I was amazed how they are like playing the online game. My grandson loves them all."
Finally, when the child in your life is ready for an even bigger challenge, you should pick up this Reznor Knockdown expansion kit that adds a whopping 862 pieces to their existing Super Mario Lego setup. It adds more characters like a blue Toad and two frightening rhino-like enemies for the plumber to avoid.
It may seem daunting, but one grandparent bought it for their six-year grandson, who "built this on his own" for his birthday. And it’s only $48, a 30% discount from its usual high price of $70.
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The reviews quoted above reflect the most recent versions at the time of publication.
We’ve got your holiday shopping list covered with fantastic gift ideas for everyone on your list. You’ll find expert picks on the best tech gifts on Engadget, the best gift ideas for car lovers at Autoblog, gifts for the young (and young at heart) at In the Know, and picks for just about everyone else on your list (moms, dads, teens, nurses, you name it!) in Yahoo’s holiday gift ideas section. On AOL, you'll find for gift ideas for seniors shopping for moms, dads, teens and toddlers.