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Little Boys and Lego Woes

My little boy (see photo) loves Legos. Okay. What 7-year-old boy doesn’t?


However he loves them for about 10 minutes. Or as long as it takes him to put together the elaborate “puzzle” of pieces via the boxed instructions. And dang, he’s unbelievably good at putting them together with picture-instructions and no words! (A grown-up’s worst nightmare.)


Then they’re cleaned up.


Fast forward to after the cleanup.


They sit in a Lego graveyard, and he never builds with them again. That is, until a new box of vacuum-destroying pieces show up. He received a huge K’NEX  rollercoaster set for Christmas and spent the whole holiday break putting the monster together, but got frustrated at the last step—and it’s sitting in a corner, only nearly-finished.


Will the same thing play out again and again? Once he “puts the puzzle” together, will that will be the end of it? Take it apart, load it into a bin, and forget about it?


Because we are running out of bins.


Is my kid the only one who loves building with a new set… only the first time?


I’m thinking we should track down the puzzle glue and weld these various contraptions together for display on a shelf (at least then they’d get some decorative use!). Oh, but the mom-voice in my head says: “Don’t do it! Think about the dust it’ll capture. And what will you do with the Lego City when he heads off to college? Who wants hand-me-down Legos all glued together!?”


Beyond Legos, where else will this lead? With all the dirty laundry he piles up around his room, should we create a statue of stinky clothes? (Or a mountain of forgotten, lost and half-mated socks?) How about a special shelf devoted to depressed board games with orphaned pieces? No.  I’ve got it. We’ll create a shrine to his messiest (and most loved) science projects. The Bubble Bonanza. The Volcano of Terror. And of course the Stinky Cabbage Color Experiment!


That shelf is gonna be crowded!


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#9 Hazel 2012-06-26 19:35
I think the problem starts with having sets to make specific items. When my kids were small( about 35 years ago) they spent hours, days and week with lego inventing new ideas. When the idea comes ready made it can limit creativity, Of course its good for Lego business, cos parent such sets seems more desirable.

Maybe the solution to the lack of interest which could "shock" this child into renewing his interest in the lego building would be to dismantle what hw has made and remake it into many other things,,, a joint project, Its funs for parents too!
#8 Amy TB 2012-01-26 04:31
My aunt had boys who loved to play with Legos growing up. She had a room in her basement for their toys. She bought tool organizers at Menards with the clear drawers in them of varying sizes and put them in the room. The boys sorted the Legos by like size, shape, and color and put them into the drawers of appropriate size. We have done the same thing at our house. They have several "Space Police" sets and we put all like pieces together in the drawers so that way they are sorted so they know what piece is where, but they can still be creative. The problem I have is my five-year-old can't pick them up and put them away at home, but at school he has no problems. HELP!
#7 Amy 2012-01-26 01:33
I am with you. I have three sons and they LOVE to take all of the pieces (after they build the set) and mix and match them. Spongebob's crabby patty shack turns into the fort for star wars and Indiana Jones and the famous Lord Garmadon flies the CITY plane to save other mixed mini-figs. I love the fact that they can take creative toy pieces and REALLY use their imagination- they do take it to the next level!

As far as the cleanup goes, I am also the creator of a cleanup and storage solution called Lay-n-Go. I got so tired of the bin and basket DUMP and the old sheet trick, that just did not cut it, that I invented an all in one solution for easy storage and quick clean-up. It makes it fun for the kids, because they can now find all of their pieces, and makes it even more enjoyable for the parents beacuse the cleanup is a cinch...literal ly! Play for hours....clean- up in seconds. Check it out: www.layngo.com. Hope this helps some of you. Playfully yours, Amy
#6 Christy @morethanmommy 2012-01-26 00:56
Maybe he only plays with them once because he thinks there is only one RIGHT way to build them. My kids (I have a boy & a girl) build a set and then all of the pieces go in the Lego bin, where the kids are constantly coming up with new creations. Leaving the Legos segregated by kit makes it hard to be creative with the pieces. I also think we send kids the message that a certain piece goes in a certain set to be used a specific way, rather than really supporting open-ended play. You can also issue him a challenge with the collection of bricks - hey, can you build a really cool plane? How about a picture frame? We also encourage our kids to combine toys, so the Lego bricks might make a garage for the Hot Wheels cars, or a playground for the doll house dolls. I'm totally writing a blog post about this. =}

Instead of buying yet another set of non-creative instructions, you should check out the LEGO Master Builder series. Each set comes with some pieces and instructions for being creative. They teach kids about perspective, planning a model, and and encourage them to come up with ideas of their own. There's a starter set and then a subscription series (I think it has 5 or 6 kits) that come every other month, I believe. My kids are still too young for that, but your son is probably just about the right age.
#5 Carissa Rogers 2012-01-26 00:21
Tonya I hear you... the foot pain alone from Legos should be a warning label on the box!

And Adrian, I LOVE the idea... I'd like for my kid to be creative enough to just sit down and create... but honestly if he has (wordless) instructions and a game plan he does so well and can sit for hours working on it.

If you find the amazon link will you share it with me? PLEASE!!
#4 Adrian 2012-01-25 20:25
I HATE Legos for just that reason and I've boycotted them for years. The items are so specific and they will lose a few pieces and can no longer build the item. It's frustrating and I think it stifles creativity.

However, I discovered a book on Amazon that addresses this situation. It has patterns for a BUNCH of different things they can make by combining pieces from all these little specific sets to make cars, robots, houses, etc. It's very cool and it's given our Lego collection a whole new life.
#3 Tonya Staab 2012-01-25 18:38
My house is currently COVERED in Lego. And by covered, I mean C.O.V.E.R.E.D. in them to the point people are hopping around the house holding a foot in agony after stepping on several :-).

My son is obsessed by them at the moment, the problem being that I will sit down and help him build a big elaborate kit, then once it's done I'll find him pulling it apart and starting all over again and wanting help AGAIN!
#2 Carissa Rogers 2012-01-25 18:36
Ohhh NOW We're talking! Good idea.. Lego/K'nex/Linc oln log decor anyone?? Thanks Jen!
#1 Jennifer B 2012-01-25 18:29
Hmm I wonder if there are other fun things you can do with them. I be Pinterest has some ideas like decorating or using for every day useful items???

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