It’s Not You, LEGO. It’s Me.

LEGO Organization

I almost gave up on LEGO.

I noticed that Eli was never playing with his LEGO sets anymore. As sad as it made me, I was almost resigned to the fact that Eli wasn’t a LEGO fanatic and that it might be time to part with most of them. Then three things conspired to make me realize that it wasn’t LEGO. It was me.

The first was Christmas. We bought Eli the LEGO castle as his big gift. You might think it’s strange to get a kid who hadn’t shown much interest in LEGO a $100 set.  But I’d seen him linger over it in the catalog, and I know that he enjoys play where he can act out scenes, either with super heroes or minifigures.  It seemed like a way to get him back into building with LEGO. Additionally, it would take him a decent amount of time to build, and it had the potential to have lots of play value after it was built.

I was right on the first count.  He was excited about it Christmas morning and started building it soon after.  And this brought about the second thing that brought his LEGO building back to life.

He needed a place to build the castle where he’d have good light, ample work space to sort and build, and it needed to be somewhere where it wouldn’t be in the way if it wasn’t moved for quite some time.  That perfect place ended up being the desk in his bedroom.

It took him a couple of weeks, but he plugged away at it a little bit each day.  Sometimes he’d wake up and work on it.  Sometimes he’d build in the middle of the day.  Often he’d build before bed, a great way to settle him down for sleeping.  And just as I’d hoped, he continues to play and act out scenes with the finished castle.

The third thing that saved LEGO was the Polar Vortex. Thanks to frigid temperatures, the kids have been playing in the basement more frequently. This is another way of saying our basement was trashed. Lest the kids enjoy snow day #5 too much, I made them help me clean the basement.

In our old home I came up with a great system for organizing LEGO bricks for younger builders. In this home, I kept all of the LEGO bricks in the basement.  Eli has a little case he keeps in his room with his minifigures and a small assortment of bricks. Looking at those bins during our cleaning spree, I thought about how often he plays with his minifigures in his room – fairly often. What if I brought all of the LEGO bins up to his room?

I think I have my answer.

Life with boys: a sea of Legos. #keepinitreal

LEGO free play

This has been the scene in Eli’s room (and spreading out into the hallway) since the move.  He is free-building every single day.  He wasn’t over LEGO. He was over the idea that in order to play with them, he had to go to the farthest, coldest recesses of the house! And who can blame him?

Next week I’m going to delve further into the subject of how and where kids play, because I think it’s a great topic. My experience with LEGO, coupled with other observations I’ve made over the years, leads me to believe that we have a big impact on the kind of play our kids engage in. If you’ve ever wondered why your kids don’t play a certain way (independently, imaginatively, artistically, etc.) or why they don’t play with certain toys, this upcoming post will be for you!

LEGO Robin

In the meantime, I’m so glad Eli and LEGO are back together again.



  1. […] week I talked about our near break-up with LEGO. That experience led me reflect on the impact we, as parents, have on our kids’ play […]