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Lego Letdown

Ok, so I know I’m not the first and won’t be the last to lament the modern-day Lego, but my daughter put such a fine point on it this weekend, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to opine.  When you and I were kids, Legos were, well, Legos. They were colored plastic bricks in half a dozen colors in a dozen shapes and maybe if you had the advanced set, you had some axles and wheels and maybe a gear or two. No instructions necessary. Just go ahead and build something, kid. Today, Legos are kits. You get a box of pieces that make something very specific –a Star Wars spaceship, a fire station, a Ninjago something-or-other, a girl and her recording studio. My daughter has now a decent collection of the Lego “Friends” kits. A nod to the fact that apparently things have to be pink or purple or about fashion, pop music or baking to be of interest to girls — but I digress.

Megan was looking for something to do on Saturday afternoon and my husband suggested, “Why don’t you play with your Legos?” Her response was “I already did it,” meaning, she has already built the Lego Friends Cafe, and that was that. And this is from a child who loves pretend play with Polly Pockets, Playmobils and the like. For her, the clear point of the Legos was to follow the instructions, build it and be done. There’s no creative part of the experience, no imaginative play, nothing.

The idea that Legos are a “one and done” toy is just so disappointing. I suppose they know what they’re doing from a business perspective, because, at least with boys, Legos seem to be as popular as ever. I have friends whose sons have thousands of dollars of Star Wars Lego models. Kids have Lego parties, and there are Lego clubs at school. But Legos just aren’t what they used to be, and as a mom who remembers a childhood of building trucks and houses and schools and boats and cars from the same single set of Legos, I lament the state of Legos today.

We were at a small birthday party for my daughter’s friend this weekend. Every child there bought him Legos. Except mine. And I am proud to say that the one present that got opened and played with right then and there at the party was a Playmobil Speed Glider.  Lego and I were once great loves. Now, I’m sad to say, my love has lost his luster.

3 comments

  1. Brenda January 29, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    We have a little sibling who loves to “wreck it!” My 5-year old then has the (frustrated) opportunity to build his legos again and again.

  2. MediaMom January 29, 2013 at 3:16 pm

    Brenda — I never thought of that! Perhaps I’ll have to employ my 2-year-old for that very purpose 🙂

  3. Profile photo of Amy

    Amy January 29, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    I felt this same exact way when Lego Friends came out – and even the same about the boy versions that are more one-time than repeat. But my thoughts began to change a bit on this. It happened over holiday break when my daughter was home with a sitter. She spent 3-4 hours building her new Lego Friends house. And has since been playing pretend with it every day. Granted I liked it better when she was using my husband’s classic Legos (bins given to us from my mother-in-law) to make a whole space station hospital using her imagination. But, you know, she did the same thing – built and then played pretend for days. So I’ve changed my mind on this because playing pretend is way better than what she would rather do all day – watch TV!

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