A Fire Dragon Bed for Azari

Cora would like to share a Lego idea she created. She said,

“I got inspired by the dragon’s foot pieces to put them on beds. I put those on just for decoration. So the original elf beds only had a pillow but my bed has a claw as part of the pillow and foot piece for the Elf’s feet to catch onto. These help them stay on the dragon but can also help them lay down without falling.”   

Cora is prepping other ideas to submit to Lego Ideas like the dragon trap below. She wants them to make her toys so other kids can play with them, and she can get free Legos.

  
 

Advertisements

Adventures in the Land of Lego

Parents of every generation spend time reminiscing, comparing memories of their  childhoods to the experiences of their children, worrying that something is missing. Oftentimes my friends and I lament our “good old days” when we ran around the neighborhood without hawk-eyed helicopter parents tracking our every move, when there was just one phone in the house–attached to the wall by a short cord–which everyone in the family shared, and MTV played music videos 24/7.

Like our own kids, we recall playing with Legos. The Legos of our youth consisted of a bunch of bricks in varying shapes and sizes and a few mini figures that we transformed into our own imaginary worlds. Today most kids purchase Legos in kits with themes, often tied to movies and other mass-consumed cultural icons like Harry Potter and Disney Princesses. There were few blueprints for what to do with Legos in the 1980s. Today, kids follow step-by-step instructions for what to make with them, and often that’s as far as they’ll go. They beg for a kit, build it once, and set it on a shelf to be admired like an architectural model.

This isn’t the worst thing in the world. Following printed instructions kids practice literacy skills, learning to read the visual plans and follow directions. In displaying the results of their efforts, they practice the skills of art collectors making choices about where and how to show their work. What they do not do is explore their own ideas.

When my step-son George was younger he was really into Lego Star Wars. He asked for large kits for birthday and Christmas presents. I remember him building the kits according to the directions upon receipt. But he spent more time using Sharpie markers and scotch tape to give each Storm Trooper its own color-coordinated uniform and watching YouTube videos to learn how to transform individual components into various types of weapons his troops could employ. Once, he made me a birthday card out of Lego. I know there’s a photo somewhere…

While I initially tried to keep Cora’s Lego collection to the classics while she begged for some of the Lego Friends kits, made and marketed for girls. She learned to follow the instructions to build the kits as they appear on the box, and she enjoys this so much that she takes some of the kits apart to rebuild them. I think she likes the structure this process provides, as well as the results. I can relate – sometimes it’s nice to follow a recipe, other times I like to throw a bunch of ingredients together to make a new recipe.

Cora seems to enjoy deconstructing the kits, piece by tiny piece, as much as she enjoys putting them together. This takes time and because she’s always been more of a big motor muscle skills kid, I know she’s learning just as much through this process – sitting quietly and separating the small parts with her hands.

She’s also been recombining pieces from the sets to create her own creations – some reflect a narrative in development while others are more like color field experiments in three dimensions.

While this can make it frustrating to find all the pieces when she wants to put a kit back together, that’s part of the Lego Adventure–sifting through the bins, looking for just the right brick. And when you can’t find that one, identifying and settling on a substitute. Problem solved, through creative reinvention.

 

 

 

 

Save

Save

Permission to Play: Day 3

DSC_0516George Szekely documented set-up artists, cabinet artists, and home chore artists.  I can relate to the activities he observed in children who get creative and aesthetic satisfaction from carefully arranging objects in fun and functional ways.  So often my play with the kids takes the form of sorting, organizing, and displaying their toys.  It’s not cleaning, it’s play.

I get pleasure from seeing all the Playmobil people collected in a single container or the Legos in color-coded piles.  I like hanging the dress-up to invite new character development.  And I love organizing the spice rack and fruit and veggie bin in the play kitchen.  I know these things will not stay neat and tidy for long, and I’m okay with that (for the most part).  For me, the set-up is the game.  And imagining how my work will enable the kids to play more efficiently, if you can imagine such a thing as efficient play, gives me great gratification.

DSC_0512