Lego – Where Did All of the Creativity Go?

My most favourite toy growing up was lego, no question about it.  These simple connection blocks entertained me for hours upon hours.  And, I believe these simple blocks gave me the opportunity and practice to use my imagination to picture the final product and work backwards to construct my compositions.

Why am I writing about this at my age?  (quit snickering out there!)

It all started more than 25 years ago when my parents packaged up the lego I had used for years, put it in a box and placed it in storage.  It was moved from house to house and about a year ago, I dug it out of my crawl space and opened it up.  It was time to share this “wonder toy” with my son, Brogan.

I’m not sure who is having more fun playing with it now, me or my son?  (There have been occassions where he’s moved onto something else and I continue to build until my project is finished.)

Most of my (ok, ok.. Brogan’s) lego is the standard building blocks.  My sister and I had names for each piece so we could say “pass me that yellow eighter over there,” or “do you have a red square?”  I’m trying to teach Brogan the same naming convention but I think that will take some time.  I do have a couple of specialty space sets that require you to follow the instructions in order to build them.  And that’s where my rant comes in.

Sure following instructions step by step is a great exercise for young minds.  It teaches discipline and patience.  It also shows that they need to take care of their things because a broken or lost piece may render the toy incomplete or worse yet, inoperable.

However, have you been to the toy department lately?  Go check out the lego display.  In all of the toy shopping I have done over the past four years I have not found one box of lego that consists of simple building blocks (not counting those mega blocks).  Every box on the shelf now is for a specially built item.  Put it together once and you don’t want to break it apart because it took so long to construct it.

I think it’s imperative to teach kids to use their imagination.  I mean that’s where “make pretend” comes in, right?  Then where has the creativity gone from building with lego?

My mom managed to score a big box of lego at a garage sale just last week that Brogan can now use.  And, I hear that there are the simple standard blocks at Legoland in Minneapolis (where we are going very soon).  I’ll be sure to pick up some of those bins there as well.

Sometimes the specialty sets are fun to build once and play with, but the imagination and creativity comes from building something out of simple, straight forward bricks and making something truly amazing from them.


About brianwawryk
PMP and Prince2 certified project manager.

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