This week, I'm writing about one of my family's favorites (yours, too?): Lego! See the other posts in the series.
While Lego as a
habit obsession toy can get expensive, most families find that it's worth it. If you didn't experience (and love) Lego as a child, let me share some key concepts to keep in mind:
- Open-ended play: All construction toys benefit a child's creativity and selective attention while they use their imagination and do story-telling. Lego serves a dual purpose: kids can either use loose bricks and their imagination or follow the instruction booklet (which is another skill, and the non-language-specific booklets are a great teaching tool). Each set, like the house above, can be taken apart and re-made into thousands of creations. In this age of over-scheduled children, unstructured play is so important!
- Manual dexterity: Whether you begin with the larger Duplo blocks for toddlers or start your 5- or 6-year-old on the standard bricks, children practice hand-eye coordination and increase their fine motor skills while playing with Lego. Be careful about offering the smaller bricks to children who do not have the gross motor skills to play appropriately (plus the choking hazard).
- Value: Coming from the age of toddler toys, the price of Lego may seem exorbitant, but consider that most Lego lasts for generations. I know many families who pass down Lego from parents to kids and even further. Consider Lego an investment and take good care of it, and teach your children to do the same. It does have resale value, should you choose not to keep it in the family.
Tomorrow we'll talk about the best ways to buy Lego for less. But today, let me point you toward some freebies out there to help add value to your investment.
Magazines for Kids
Have you signed up for the FREE Lego Magazine subscriptions? For kids 6 and under, get a 2-year subscription to Lego Jr. Magazine. For older kids, get a 2-year subscription to the Lego Club Magazine. My son loves getting his own mail, and now that he's reading, he calls these his “comic books” and goes back to them often.
Lego Mini Builds
The first Tuesday of each month, Lego Stores hold a FREE Mini-Build at 5:00pm for kids ages 6-12. The next one is on November 2nd, and it's this cute Thanksgiving turkey. Check your local store for
You can view, print and download many years' worth of Lego pictures and instructions at the Lego website. I've even seen them turned into a creative, frugal birthday gift over at Pink & Green Mama. She printed some out and made a special binder for the birthday child.
Lego Fun Online
My kids like Lego 365, a blog where an elementary school teacher is taking one photo per day (for his second year, actually). It's Lego people in funny poses and places, all done with excellent photography. It inspires my son to create new worlds for his Lego people, which leads to more story-telling.
Every once in a while, I'll check out some videos on YouTube and let the kids watch them. Be very careful about just searching on YouTube when your kids are sitting nearby (always check things out before letting them watch). There is a lot of fun Lego-mation (what they call Lego stop-animated movies) to watch; lots of movie scenes and music videos re-done in Lego. Some of my favorites are The Beatles' I Saw Her Standing There and The Simpsons Intro done Lego-style.