The Loveliness of Legos

By: Shannon Shull

Okay, so I know it’s a bit odd to call Legos lovely, but to me they are! The experience of “doing” the whole Lego thing is an absolutely, positively, lovely experience. Not only can it be considered play time, but it’s time in which your brain is challenged, your focus is put to the test, your creative juices start flowing and you become an engineer, architect and artist all in one. Let’s face it – it’s super cool to build with Legos!

Legos Collage

And, of course, building Lego creations is something I cherish doing with my kids. We play music or put on a movie and dive into a world of discovery as we engineer our creations. Fortunately, both my boy and my girl love to play with Legos. I don’t think I’ll ever grow out of loving them. I sure hope my children continue to be inspired and excited by them as they grow up, because I love the creative process of Legos.

There’s not a negative thing about them – except maybe when you accidentally step on them! Or how the price racks up! But if you’re like me, you hold out for big sales, utilize coupons and scour places like Craigslist to get the most for your money.

Lego Collage

When I was younger I went through a phase in which I wanted to be an astronaut when I grew up. Oh yea, I even went to Space Academy when I was in middle school. Upon attending the week-long camp though, I promptly discovered that math and science were not my strong suit and that I much preferred to “act” like an astronaut rather than try to become a real one!  (I’ll save that story for another blog entry!) But I will always have a fascination with astronauts and all things that have to do with space.

So recently, when my kids and I hit up a big sale on Legos, I was drawn to the Space Shuttle. My girl, Mina, and I engineered the Lego Space Shuttle which had 65 pages of instructions to follow! And it wasn’t even one of the mac-daddy Lego creation options. You really do feel like a puzzle maker/scientist/architect/engineer while putting these Lego creations together. No wonder it’s such a sense of accomplishment to complete the task and view this hand-crafted master creation.

Our Lego Space Shuttle

In sharing my fascination and adoration of this engaging, super fun activity to do with your kids, your friends or even alone, I was inspired to do a little research on the history of Legos and the educational benefits. You guys, this Lego thing really is fantastic.

In January of 1958, a patent was filed that would change kids’ lives and family floors forever. 1958 is the year the Lego brick was born. Since then, over 400 billion Lego elements have been made (62 bricks for every person on the planet!), and approximately seven Lego sets are sold each second. Each second, ya’ll! Now that’s impressive! The cool thing is that today’s bricks still have the same physical design and can interlock with the bricks made 50 years ago. And they’re still just as popular among kids and adults alike. The Lego is now over 50 years old and is still rockin’ kids’ worlds.

Sawyer with his Lego Plane

Here’s a cool trivia fact for you to lock away in your amazing minds… straight from Wikipedia:

“The Lego Group began in the workshop of Ole Kirk Christiansen (born 7 April 1891), a carpenter from Billund, Denmark, who began making wooden toys in 1932. In 1934, his company came to be called “Lego,” from the Danish phrase “leg godt,” which means “play well.”

How appropriate is that!? “Play well.” I love it and I can certainly agree that Legos inspire others to play well. Combining fun and learning, Legos are a truly undeniable teaching tool that develop fine motor skills, patterning practice, problem solving, teamwork, three-dimensional thinking – which they say is a precursor to physics! – and my favorite, creativity and imagination. I’m telling ya, you just can’t lose with Legos!

All this being said, whether you have children or not, go pick out a box of Legos and dive into this fabulous world of fun and inspiration.  I just can’t imagine one not enjoying the process. And hey, as a Lego Lover, you (or your child or any special person in your life) are learning important skills that can be applied in the professional world. Tons of engineers, architects, scientists, artists, teachers, have translated a love of Lego to a career full of design.  Now what’s not to love about that?  I’d say it’s a lovely thing indeed.   😉