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.