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Nanoblocks vs. Legos: What Are They and Which One Is Better?

Personal Storytime: Legos and Nanoblocks Edition

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This is what the Nanoblocks set that I found at Goodwill looks like. Credit to Carousell

As a kid, I never really got into building block toys like Legos, just because my parents knew how much mess they could make on the floor. But now as an adult, when I saw the wide variety of Lego sets that my cousins had last Christmas, I finally decided to get my own set and try building one myself. I chose to buy one of the classic sets because I wasn’t that interested in any of the themed Lego sets (like Disney). When I took the time to build it, it was really easy to assemble, simply because of the instruction manual.

On the other hand, I recently found an unopened nanoblocks set at Goodwill for only $2, so I tried building one of those for the first time. It was such a great find because those things usually cost about $9 or more, so I’m really glad I found it!

Anyways, when I built this Nanoblocks set, I was surprised to see just how tiny these building blocks were. Because these blocks were little, it was kinda hard to pick up each one with my chubby fingers. I was thinking about using a tool like tweezers, but I didn’t have any. It took me about 2 hours to build, given that the instructions were confusing, but it was honestly worth it because it turned out exactly as pictured!

What Are Legos?

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This is what LEGO looks like as their logo/icon. Credit to Logo Design Love

Lego, stylized as LEGO, is a type of construction toy created and manufactured by The Lego Group, a Danish company. LEGO bricks are colorful plastic building blocks that can be easily put together to create a tower and many other things. LEGO bricks are connected to each other by studs at the top and holes in the bottom of the brick, commonly known as brick and knob connections. LEGOs are the most popular building toy in the world.

The LEGO Corporation was founded by Ole Kirk Christiansen, a Danish bread maker, in 1935. Christiansen originally made wooden toys for children in 1932, but he made and sold his first plastic LEGO sets in 1949. Since then, LEGO has become very popular and loved by people all over the world, children as well as adults. LEGO bricks come in many shapes, sizes, and colors. There are wheels, car monitors, and plants. LEGO bricks can be assembled in many ways. Vehicles and even buildings can be built with LEGO bricks.

All bricks in a LEGO set can match, no matter which set they come from. New bricks made today can fit old bricks made many years ago. LEGO has become so popular that people sometimes use the word “Lego” to refer to any type of building block. There are millions of LEGO fans and many LEGO conventions around the world. LEGO blocks have been used to create everything from giant replicas of famous landmarks (such as the Eiffel Tower and Mount Rushmore) to modern art.

LEGO Video Games

Many LEGO video games are made for different video game systems. LEGO video games are often LEGO-themed, such as LEGO Star Wars. LEGO Star Wars features five video games, with a sixth coming later this year. Other LEGO video games include LEGO Indiana Jones, LEGO Harry Potter, and LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean.

Television and Movies

A LEGO Cartoon Network show, Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu, aired from 2011 to 2012, and a second LEGO Cartoon Network show aired in 2013. In 2014, The LEGO Movie was released, starring Chris Pratt, Will Arnett, Elizabeth Banks, Morgan Freeman, Will Ferrell, and Liam Neeson. Since then, three other LEGO movies have been made, such as The LEGO Batman Movie, The LEGO Ninjago Movie, and The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part.

Theme Parks

Merlin Entertainments operates eight Legoland theme parks, the original in Billund, Denmark, the second in Windsor, England, the third in Günzburg, Germany, the fourth in Carlsbad, California, the fifth in Winter Haven, Florida, the sixth in Nusajaya, Malaysia, the seventh in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and the eighth in Shanghai, China. On July 13, 2005, control of 70% of the Legoland parks was sold for $460 million to the Blackstone Group of New York, while the Lego Group still holds the remaining 30%.

There are also eight Legoland Discovery Centers, two in Germany, four in the United States, one in Japan, and one in the United Kingdom. In 2013, two Legoland Discovery Centers opened in Yonkers, New York, and Ontario, Canada. In 2014, another one opened in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

LEGO Set Themes

Since the 1950s, The Lego Group has released thousands of sets with a variety of themes, including space, robots, pirates, trains, Vikings, castles, dinosaurs, underwater exploration, and the Wild West. Classic themes that persist to this day include Lego City (a line depicting city life in 1973) and Lego Technic (a line intended to mimic complex machinery, introduced in 1977).

Over the years, Lego has licensed themes from many cartoon and movie franchises and even some video games. These include Batman, Indiana Jones, Pirates of the Caribbean, Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Minecraft. Although some licensed themes, such as LEGO Star Wars and LEGO Indiana Jones, have had very successful sales, the company expressed a desire to lean more heavily on its own classic characters and themes, and less on licensed themes related to released films.

One of the largest commercially produced Lego sets is a miniature version of the Star Wars Millennium Falcon. Designed by Jens Kronvold Fredricksen, it was released in 2007 and contains 5,195 pieces. It was surpassed by 5,922 pieces of the Taj Mahal. A recently redesigned Millennium Falcon reclaimed the top spot for 2017 with 7,541 parts.

Pros and Cons of Legos

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This meme shows the difference between stepping on hot coals versus LEGO bricks. Credit to Know Your Meme

Legos are fun, but they’re not perfect. When you step on it, it really hurts. If the Lego bricks are cracked, they don’t work well. They are not good toys for young children, and there are many other reasons not to buy them. But with LEGO, you can build anything you can imagine and more.

Now that you know what Legos are, you may be wondering “what are the pros and cons of legos?” Well, I’ll tell you. Down below, you will find a list of all of the pros and cons of legos:

Pro: Helps Develop Small Motor Skills

Well, this is one of their main advantages. Growing children need this skill because it lays a strong foundation for their later development. Manipulating small pieces allows children to use their thinking power to figure out how to hold and place them in their correct size and shape.

Little hands rotate and twist fingers to gain dexterity and learn arm coordination. LEGO bricks also help children learn how to apply different pressure experiences, which is very helpful when children begin to write.

Pro: Builds Creativity

LEGOs come with specific instructions for building different themes or designs in each set. However, these LEGOs also encourage children to think differently and create products that are different from those mentioned in the instructions.
After knowing how to create basic shapes with the instructions provided in the kit, they can also start experimenting with creating other shapes. Their imaginations flared and they lost all inhibitions about trying different things with LEGO bricks. That’s when kids start thinking outside the box!

Pro: A Chance to Try New Skills

As children immerse themselves in the endless LEGO world, they learn the math concepts of symmetry, shape, and geometry. As they let their creativity take shape, they try to build new things – and sometimes the tower may fall, and the child tries again.

Pro: Helps Kids with Problem-Solving

While creating things out of these bricks, children can often be challenged by questions like “How do I create a slope? , Where do I put this brick? , Will this brick fit here? , How does a brick make a ceiling? , etc. By asking themselves these questions, they are driven to answer them as well, all through experimentation. LEGOs offer many possibilities and opportunities for children to find solutions to problems.

Con: Choking Hazard

Small Lego blocks are not recommended for children under the age of three, but can also pose as a choking hazard to older children, who still put objects in their mouths. It is important for parents to keep this in mind before buying a box of Legos.

Con: Hurts to Step on Them

If there’s one thing Legos are known for, it’s the stinging pain that occurs when you step on them in the middle of the night. There are so many small blocks that sometimes you miss a block. If you have a child who likes to spread out all of their Legos, it can lead to quite a mess. It can take hours to complete depending on how many Legos you have, and there are always some Legos you might miss.

Con: Modern Legos Can Stifle Creativity

Instructional Legos are fun for kids and offer many benefits, such as learning to follow instructions, but they also have a few downsides. Step-by-step instructions tell kids what to do, which can immediately reduce the benefits kids get from Legos. Kids won’t get creative and use their imaginations with these kits. They also won’t develop problem-solving skills because they just follow step-by-step instructions.

Con: Lego Sets Cost a Lot of Money

Legos may be a popular toy, but they’re really expensive for a reason. The reason they are expensive is that their quality, durability, flexibility, support, marketing, and networks are unmatched. In addition, the number of special parts included in their sets has increased significantly over the years, as has the availability of licensed products. These factors combine to create a high cost per brick. This is why many kids choose to request a LEGO set for their Christmas and/or birthday.

Why Are Legos Really Popular in America?

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A LEGO minifigure holding up an American flag. Credit to Little Bins for Little Hands

The popular phenomenon of Lego has been studied many times by psychologists. They came to the conclusion that people’s attraction to building bricks can be explained by three factors. First, LEGO building blocks are great for developing logical thinking and imagination. For young children, this toy also helps promote fine motor skills in their hands and fingers.

By assembling building bricks, children learn attention to detail and patience. In addition, when playing with LEGO sets, children have the opportunity to exercise their creativity and imagination. A child can arrange the blocks as he wants, with no limit to the shapes suggested by the manufacturer.

Second, the activity of LEGO building provides a wonderful form of relaxation, not only for children but also for adults. People focus on building with building bricks, instead of focusing on negative thoughts or problems in life. In the US, playing with LEGO sets has become one of the behavioral therapies for hyperactive children. LEGO also encourages fan-run communities, including clubs and builder websites, like Brick Pals. These sites help parents decide which series is best for their children with in-depth news and reviews.

What Are Nanoblocks?

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This is what Nanoblock’s logo looks like. Credit to Bluefin Brands-Bandai

Original Japanese mini building blocks manufactured by Kawada, a Japanese toy company, Nanoblocks are only 1/8 the size of the traditional building toy brick sets currently on the market. Nanoblocks are a great hobby, collectible toy, puzzle, and gift for 8-80 year-olds who have grown larger than their child-sized building blocks and are looking for a new addictive challenge.
Easy-to-follow color instructions and spare blocks are included with each set, in case you misplace a number. Each set of Nanoblock constructs inspires and develops creativity, problem-solving, and fine motor skills. With the smallest block measuring only 4mm x 4mm, NanoBlocks can achieve a finer level of detail in your finished designs that is not possible with full-size building bricks.
Due to their small size, the finished Nanoblock building sets are a great collection to display on your home desk. Building with Nanoblocks is easy thanks to the patented micro-design of each building block, allowing blocks to be connected and disconnected easily.
With over 300 models to build and collect, you’ll soon be on your way to building your own Nanoblock empire. Nanoblock sets are available in various sized collections, including their starter “Small Collection”, larger “Sights to See”, more difficult “challenging series”, and models bigger and more challenging in the “Deluxe Collection”. Whatever your preference, there’s something for everyone!

What Kinds of Nanoblock Sets Are There?

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This is the Squirtle character from Pokemon in the form of nanoblocks. Credit to Nanoblock US

The variety of Nanoblock sets includes original designs and licensed sets. The Miniature collection includes miniature designs of animals, musical instruments, and Christmas themes. All sets contain about 80-150 pieces. The Sights to See series includes designs for world landmarks and notable buildings with sets ranging from 200 to 600 bricks.

The Advanced Hobby series also includes notable buildings and monuments, but on a larger scale. The series sets are all over 2000 pieces. The largest set is the Neuschawanstein Castle Deluxe Edition, with 5,800 pieces. The fourth series is for girls with themes like weddings and birthdays.

Kawada has created sets based on various licenses, including The Adventures of TinTin, Pokémon, Shaun the Sheep, and Sanrio characters, including Cinnamoroll, Hello Kitty, KeroKeroKeroppi, and My Melody. A series of sets based on Disney characters are sold exclusively at the Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea theme parks.

Pros vs. Cons of Nanoblocks

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This image shows the Neuschwanstein Castle nanoblocks set and the small size when built. Credit to The Gadgeteer

Pro: Fun to Build

Nanoblocks can be harder to build than Legos, due to their small size. Bad placement can cause your tower to collapse. With Nanoblocks you can create more with less space and less weight. The 1,800-piece Titanic Nanoblock kit is so small you can recreate the entire Titanic right in front of the fridge. This is perfect for large and complex models!

Pro: Takes up Less Space

They take up less space and therefore create less clutter. Due to their small size, you can keep more Nanoblock sets than Lego sets in the same area. It also makes them more portable and convenient to carry. Therefore, you can buy more Nanoblock kits without having to turn part of your house into a toy store. Plus, you never have to worry about what happens to all of your child’s construction toys when you’re in a hurry to clean up, as you can fit Nanoblocks into small spaces.

Pro: Much More Affordable than Legos

Nanoblocks are much cheaper than Lego sets. For a fraction of the price of a Lego set, you can get a Nanoblock set that any child or adult can spend hours working with. Even large Nanoblock sets are affordable and often filled with a significant number of blocks.

Con: Very Tiny Bricks Are Easy to Lose

Due to their small size, they are easy to get lost in the house and harder to find whenever you build a set. When working with Nanoblocks, I strongly recommend tossing all the small bricks in the bowl, rather than on the table, so that you don’t lose any pieces.

Con: Not Very Good for Very Small Children

They are not well suited for younger children due to their tiny size, meaning that they can become a choking hazard for kids if accidentally swallowed.

History of Nanoblocks

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Even though Nanoblocks haven’t been around as long as LEGOs, they still have their own unique history. Credit to Medium

The Nanoblocks are made in Japan by Kawada Toy Company and released in 2008. Since their debut in Japan, they have now been exported to more than 31 countries. The term “nano” comes from Ancient Greek and means “dwarf” in English. Some people complain about the small size of Nanoblocks. However, this has made them very popular.

Nanoblocks were first introduced to the Japanese market in 2008 by Kawada. The Nanoblocks are distributed abroad by domestic companies, including Schylling in the United States and Mark’s Europe in France and Benelux. In 2010, Nanoblock won an outstanding performance award in the High Target category at the Japan Toy Awards for a plush toy set based on Neuschwanstein Castle. The following year, Nanoblock won the Grand Prix in the High Target category at the 2011 Japan Toy Awards for their Tokyo Skytree model.

LEGO vs. Nanoblocks: Which One Is Better?

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This photo shows the massive size difference between a LEGO brick and a Nanoblock. Credit to The Gadgeteer

Now that you know what Legos and Nanoblocks are, you might be wondering if there is a patent infringement case against Nanoblocks for creating a replica product similar to LEGO. The answer is no. To avoid patent claims, Nanoblocks are not compatible with Lego bricks. The Nanoblock is a quarter the size of a LEGO block.

Dimensions

The dimensions of Nanoblocks are 4mm wide x 4mm x 5mm high. For reference, a US cent is 19.05mm in diameter, so the Nanoblocks are one-fifth the width of a penny. The dimensions of standard LEGO bricks are 8mm wide x 8mm x 16mm high. LEGO offers many other shapes and sizes. The size of standard LEGO bricks makes them easier to use than Nanoblocks. Nanoblock is a quarter the size of LEGO.

Some people think that the small size of Nanoblocks makes them difficult to handle, especially for those who have a little difficulty with hand/eye coordination. Nanoblock kits should come with lots of extra parts because it’s easy to lose them.

Price

Nanoblock kits cost under $10 and go up. The most expensive kits, with thousands of pieces, sell for up to $250. LEGO sets cost around $20 to $25. The most expensive LEGO set is the Star Wars Millennium Falcon for $800.

Quality

The Japanese are known for making products of superb quality. The quality is exceptional. The LEGO brand has been around for a long time, and the quality is also exceptional.

Variety of Sets and Kits

There are dozens of Nanoblock sets and kits, from simple to complex. Nanoblocks continues to expand its collection of interesting model sets, but it doesn’t compare to the number of sets and model sets available for LEGO. LEGO has released more than 16,000 model sets and sets since the 1950s.
You can imagine the amount of work it takes to create such intricate models from tiny nano-blocks. Some people have too much free time. I really envy these people.

Age Recommendations

Nanoblocks are recommended for ages 12 and older. Lego bricks are recommended for ages four and older. Each LEGO package has an age recommendation based on the difficulty of assembling the kit. LEGO also makes a larger brick called LEGO Duplos for toddlers as young as two years old.

Kit Instructions between Nanoblocks and LEGOs

Like Nanoblocks, which is very small, the instructions for the Nanoblocks toolkit have small text fonts that make it difficult for people to read. You will need to use glasses and may also need a magnifying glass to read the instructions. Nanoblocks is a Japanese invention, so the English in the Nanoblocks guide isn’t perfect.

LEGO, a European company founded in Denmark, has been around longer and has more refined instructions and packaging materials. LEGO instructions in one set are very clear, and easy to read and understand.

Collaboration with Other Famous Brands

Nanoblocks has a partnership with Pokémon. There are Nanoblock toolkits that create Pokemon characters called Pokemon Nanoblocks. LEGO has partnered with many other well-known brands through innovative licensing partnerships. Some of the collaborative brands for LEGO are Adidas, Levi`s, and IKEA. There are many other brands that they have collaborated with.

Final Words

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This is what the SpyxFamily Nanoblock sets look like. Credit to Carousell

Even though they are similar, but different products, I would have to say that I prefer Nanoblocks to LEGOs because I love how tiny the bricks are, as well as how much more affordable they are than LEGOs. Despite the fact that there is a better variety of LEGO sets, I still prefer Nanoblocks because there are actual anime character sets for anime series like Spy x Family and My Hero Academia. Whether or not you actually like building LEGO sets and/or Nanoblocks, I’ll leave it to your own mind to decide which one is better.

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