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Bloody Lego!!!

Used to be that lego came in big packs with multi-use bits, wheels, axels, thingy-ma-bobs, and you used your imagination to build all sorts of wild and whacky creations from flying houses to racing cars with swimming pools in them (or maybe that was just at our house)...

These days you can basic tubs of blocks in varying sizes, shapes and colours. OR, you can buy purpose build "scenes", more often than not designed as merchandising from blockbuster movies...

This has caused a huge debate in our house, because my wonder Dh never actually had much lego as a child (if any at all), and as well as this, he was an only child who never had to share his toys. He was a rule follower who didn't think laterally in play (or at least that is the impression I've gotten from what he's told me)...

So, we've invested a fair amount of the toy budget in lego for the boys. I love that they play with lego... At first we got them a big tub of bricks, and since then we've added scenes from Star Wars, Pirates, Indiana Jones, Racing, and so on...

Dave is always all for helping the boys reconstruct the scenes on the boxes - he also encourages them to keep the boxes and the instruction manuals (keeping the manuals, I get that, the boxes, not so much)...

Today though, after years of these "scenes" sitting on top of the boys shelves, decoratively gathering dust, Dave discovers that Erik has brought down one or two scenes and deconstructed them to use the parts to create something NOT on a box or in a manual... Dave wasn't terribly impressed. Partly because now the pieces were being mixed in with the general brickage of the lego tub, and partly because Erik has (probably rather cleverly) decided to dismantle "Luey's" scenes...

Oh, and that's another thing... For Christmases and birthdays, we've given each boy a set, which Dave now views as "Erik's Lego" and "Luey's Lego"... To get Dave to see that it isn't actually condusive to family peace and harmony to label the lego in this way, is like trying to push molten excrement up a steep slope, I tell you!

So, according to Dave, we should spend small fortunes buying lego scenes that are then built and set high on a shelf and not played with for five years in case they fall apart or get mixed up. And there should certainly be no sharing of the lego because that only leads to fights...

ARGH!!! Can't the good people at Lego see that if they only provide tubs of plain bricks and purpose built scenes, they are encouraging people like my Dh to prevent their children from using their imaginations???

So, there has been much debating going on in this house, this morning.

I believe Erik should be free to mix and match all the Lego pieces and use his imagination, and then if he or Luey wants to reconstruct a purpose built scene, they can refer back to the manuals for those activities. I also believe that while each boy might be the individual recipient of a "scene" of Lego, that all Lego is the common property of the age appropriate children (otherwise, Erik and Luey will be moving out of home with their individual scenes of Lego at age 18 and Ari will never get to play with that stuff, for example)...

Is that unreasonable???

Comments

Juniper said…
Sif, to be blunt (and rude LOL), re: the mixing up of Lego sets and normal blocks - *you* are right IMO. It is *ridiculous* to just set up the scenes and never put them down, just have them on *display*.

Once the Lego is given to DS, it is *his* to do with what he pleases. It is *his* toy yk? And like you said, they need to use their *imagination*! DS loves his sets, but also loves creating stuff from scratch, and he uses his sets to blend in with his general stuff too sometimes. *You* are right!!!

As for it all being "communal"Lego, well, that wouldn't go down well in this house, because DS takes a lot of care of his stuff, has bought stuff out of his own money, and knows where and what his Lego is doign at any given moment yk? So sharing wouldn't go down that well with this toy, because it is his *favourite* and is very important to him. But if it works in your house, good for you! Although, if Erik is taking apart Luey's scenes rather than his own, then maybe the sharing thing may not be working that well...

Sigh - I hate those mornings of debate LOL!
Amanda O. said…
I've got to agree... if it's their toys they should be able to do what they want with them - including play with them however their imagination leads them rather than just sitting as display pieces. If he's *really* concerned that you're able to sort out which pieces go to which set after the fact, take different colours of nailpolish or permanent marker and dob them on the underside of the blocks. General=red, Race set=blue, Indiana Jones=sparkly green.

The individual thing, I can see Jen's point but also yours. I do get where a 'special' gift or something one of them saved up to buy with their own money etc might be different. I suppose if you gave them both a set with the understanding that it was just two sets for both of them to use/communal property but each got to open one rather than both opening both, one big set for both vs distinctly X to Erik and Y to Luey as their specific property that makes sense. Also tend to think though if E or L aren't fussed by the sharing, it's not terribly helpful for Dave to impress a divide that doesn't exist to them. Things I'm sure we'll have to wrangle in years to come... LOL
Sif said…
I should clarify... Luey was there when Erik was dismantling his sets, he didn't mind that, and it is at the understanding that if Luey then wanted something from one of Erik's sets, he would also be allowed to scavange...

The boys definitely have toys that are *just* theirs. Even with sets like Thomas, Lego, Tracey Island, Collector Cards, Cars, Batmas stuff etc. the boys have their "special" things - like Jayne bought each boy a Lego knight a few years ago, and those are specific to each boy... However, the sets are NOT divided down the middle, or kept seperately, except for a few very special items.

Anything the boys have purchases themselves is also just theirs...

But in our house, and possibly because we have three (nearly four) children of the same gender who all share the same room, we have a much more communal, less individual arramgment with regards to toys - we HAVE to, we simply cannot afford to buy each child *their very own* of everything, and being brothers, who are of a similar age, their interests overlap so much.
Leah said…
Dave is "playing" with the lego like a collector - well a collector probably wouldn't get them out the box, but you know! I think this tendency is well tied in with the same beliefs and feelings about "stuff" that kept that scanner in your life so long - and well worth challenging in order for it not to be bequeathed to the children!

I think that stuff in our life needs to be carefully chosen, and then well used in order to justify both it's environmental impact, and place in our space ... if you wear something out that is GOOD, if it gets used in another capacity that's excellent, there's no loss/waste in that. It's stuff that sits by unused that is really wasted and it's potential lost, it's not "saved".
Sif said…
Yeah, I think you´re right about that... His parents are the same. Their house is full of lovely 'displays' - porcelain cats, Russian wall plates, etc...

Dave pretty much stopped playing with toys when he was 10 or 11, he then started reading and drawing, almost exclusively. He's already started collecting comics by the time he was 8...
Stitch Sista said…
OMFG I am roflmao. As an anally retentive only child myself even I saw there was no point in trying to keep the lego scenes 'separate'. All our lego is mixed together in a huge tub. F still has all the instructions and we can still build most of the stuff, but if we can't find a piece or one is lost we just substitute another.

Anyway sorry Dave, you're outvoted on this one!
Stitch Sista said…
Oh and yes IMO lego *has* to be a share toy...There really is no other way in a house with lots of kids.

(Not dismissing that they can each have a few things that are theirs (each of our kids have their own tub of 'specials' which they can share if they choose), but at the end of the day it makes so much more sense to pool the lego. Lucky for F, M isn't really quite as enamoured with lego as he is so it's not going to be a major problem)
Stephanie said…
PMSL - I love lego, I just hate stepping on it. Those little pieces HURT.

Tell Dave he is wrong wrong wrong. Lego (the company) encourages mixing and matching and whatnot. For the non believers they have it typed out in the Bionicle manuals ;) LOL

He would have a serious conniption at our place..don't even know where half the manuals are...
katef said…
ROFL... I think you've just been out voted on the blog Dave!
But seriously... do you know how much kids learn by putting together lego in their own way? I mean I know you get that Sif but does Dave?????
Spiralmumma said…
All i can says iz Dave would have conniptions if he came to our house. ALL Lego in one big 50 Litre placcy tub, no boxes or manuals kept, very little sticking to instructions, all freeform, all chaos :D
Spiralmumma said…
Oh and with Stephanie on the stepping on lego thing-I spend all day going "ow ow ow" sounding like a demented Homer Simpson ;-)

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