We all remember this time of year as a child – still playing with our toys that Santa had stealthily delivered, dreading the Monday when school would start again. These days kids are zombie-glued to their Nintendo DS or an iPad mini. But I believe a child deserves and learns more from hands-on toys. As a child of the 80’s, my attention span was only marginally longer than that of my nieces and nephew, but one toy that could harness my energy and creativity like no other was a set of Legos. This marvelous Danish invention allows a kid (or grown up) to build and rebuild, design and redesign and truly have endless possible creations right in their hands.
Invented in 1949, the simple plastic block, or Lego, has grown to be incredibly popular, sparking fantastic designs from pirate ships to spaceships, digital games and even themed amusement parks. My lucky nieces and nephew have eight huge Rubbermaid containers of mine – filled to the brim with Legos – to play with every time they visit the grandparents. And, much to my mother’s dismay, they end up all over the floor just as they did when I played with them.
The beauty of this ‘toy’ is that it encourages thinking, trial and error, and hands on work, rather than staring at a two-dimensional screen. The colors, shapes, textures, moving parts and infinite creations with Legos allow a child – and uncle – to learn about architecture, physics and even mathematics. Most importantly, Legos encourage and feed creativity, something a child can simply never get enough of. What was your favorite creation?