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I absolutely HATE what Lego's have become!!! Anyone else? (vent)

post #1 of 71
Thread Starter 

I bought my 5yo a bin of lego pieces.  He really liked it!  So on various gift occasions, he has recieved other "kits".  And OMG -

I hate them!!!  To me, Legos are about freebuilding.  Not anymore! 

 

Now they require elaborate directions on exactly the "right" way to put them together (a car, a boat, a helicopter, etc.)

 

I have sat with my son to do the $6 cars. maybe 50 pieces.  But it takes a lot of time!  I show him the picture, and we identify the difference between the current and previous steps.  Then he finds the piece and builds it.  It is nice, but a time consuming parent activity that ignores other family members.

 

Well. when DS asks dad or grandpa to help, the grown up reads the directions, finds the piece, puts it on, cusses about doing it wrong, and gets frustrated.  TOTALLY not fun for my 5yo to sit there and learn how to NOT ENJOY something.  DH is slightly ADHD and definitley not into engineering things, like DS is.  No matter how many times I gently say - let DS do the work - the men in my life can't seem to comprehend that.

 

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!

 

Oh - and to make matters worse, I can only imagine what the $45 lego thing is that is on its way from Uncle for Xmas.  Probably some horrid 500-piece nightmare.  I would LOVE a bin of free-play legos, but I just want to puke at the thought of my little boy not being able to enjoy his toy because the grown ups are going to suck the joy out of his favorite activity (building things).

post #2 of 71

Open box. Pour into bin. Nobody says the kits have to remain separated from the other legos winky.gif

 

DH was WAY into legos as a kid (actually, he still has a lot of his old legos). DS is just starting to get into Legos. I grin and bear it because it's sooo not my thing. However, ds received a few kits for Christmas. He just asked me to open one and help him set it up..... a couple hours after dh left for a work trip for the week. Grrr. I would have much rather had dh help ds with it, but that wasn't an option so I did it.

post #3 of 71

Lego kits have been around for decades. If your DS doesn't like the kits, ask people who buy presents not to get the kits. There are generic Lego's as well.

 

My DS, like my DH before him absolutely adores these kits. He puts together 500+piece kits all the time by himself, following the picture directions. It thrills him to no end. I *am* glad that I don't have to sit by him and help while he does this, because I find it to be frustrating, but he loves it. Different strokes, I guess.

 

post #4 of 71

I think you're overthinking this.

 

Just take away the directions and encourage him to free build.  He will have lots of interesting pieces.  You can get add on kits that show have different pieces that allow you to make even more moving things with what you have.  Right now it sounds like your son is at the beginning stage of lego building.  Are you getting kits that are too hard for him?  There is a learning curve but it's like any other thing--once a child learns the basics of (fingerknitting/beading/working with clay/a game/lego building) then the kits go together much faster because they only need to pay super close attention to things that are unusual--and then ONLY if they WISH to make the final project look like what's on the box.

 

I see a lot of parents end up a) micromanaging the process and frustrating their kid, b) getting kits when the kid is not ready for kits, or c) getting inappropriate kits for their kid or d) giving the child the impression that they MUST build exactly what's in the kit or that they can't mix and match.

 

Your kiddo is only 6.  To be honest, I would just try to keep it simple.  It would also be kind to invest some time to teach him how to read the directions for himself, and to help him work out a system (some kids sort, some don't, ect.) for when he wants to assemble a kit.  And to encourage him to always use the pieces as he wishes for free play and that if he's getting frustrated that's okay and normal (and part of learning how to build bigger projects, even grownups sometimes have to redo stuff!).  Some kids really do need to be told that freebuilding (even with kit parts) is great and fun and to be encouraged (you might have to mind what dad and grandpa say to him, are they hyperventilating about him mixing pieces?).

 

My boys are lego fiends.  They're 7, and regularly put together high level kits--but they've also been lego building for years, and the first couple of years were freehand and/or through workshops where they were given projects (but not from a kit).  I too introduced kits too soon, and it was disastrous, so I just put them away or gave them to them as "ideas" but told them to just build whatever they wanted.  These days they like to put together the kit as it's supposed to be, then take it apart and then reassemble with other things (the Hogwarts Castle and AT-AT they got as Christmas gifts were built and then taken apart and now they've combined the pieces into what hubby and I call The Borg Castle because it's all mixed together as one structure with a bunch of varied lego people all mixed up inside it.  :D).

 

Legos haven't become anything more than what you make of them.  A lot of folks find enjoyment from the kits, it's almost like model airplanes or whatever.  Others love freebuilding.  Many people like to do both and then merge.  If you guys have anything like a BrickCon around you, it might be fun to take your son, so he can see the creative ways that other kids, teens, and adults have put together set pieces in creative ways.  Or you can probably find a ton of pics online.

 

Relax.  Legos are still fun.  If sets stress you out, then either don't buy them, or repackage them, and ask your loved ones to do the same.  At his age, it's probably more cost-effective to buy a treasure trove of mixed up pieces from ebay/craigslist/garage sale or get a baggie of mix and match pieces at the lego store than a bunch of kits unless your son enjoys them and you're willing to invest some time in helping him learn how to do it.  The lego police will not come and arrest you if you switch Luke Skywalker's head with Ron Weasley's or put a bunch of car wheels on top of a spaceship.

 

ETA:  Yikes, for some reason 6 was the age stuck in my head.  I see your kiddo is only 5. My boys were given their first pile of legos at 4, they weren't really ready for kits until 6ish and had done some freebuilding projects both at home and via a really cool camp that our parks and rec offered.  Once they hit 6.5 they could assemble simple kits without assistance, and rapidly went up to more complicated kits but they still enjoy simple ones as well.  I would use the "age guides" as less about what age the kid should be and more an indication of complexity.  And as always be ready to advocate for freebuilding if other adults tell him he needs to do it "right!"

post #5 of 71


yep, lego kits are not a new thing.  Your DS is only 5, so I can see why he/you might want only the bricks or mixed sets, but as they get older and want to build more intricate things, the kits can be really nice.  My almost 8 yr old has some star wars sets (if you think $45 is a lot, try $100+ for the special ones).  It just wouldn't be possible to make the same space ship or whatever out of regular old lego bricks.  You need the specialized pieces, that tend to only come in the designed kits.  Following all the directions carefully is like putting together a 3D puzzle - it's still creative and imaginative and fun - but it also takes a lot more thinking power (IMO) than just making something from scratch with a bunch of random pieces.  It's like building a model car, or similar.  *I* would not have the patience or desire to sit and do one, but my very advanced DS certainly does - and he enjoys it, which is what matters the most.

post #6 of 71

Take some deep breaths!

 

These are Legos, not a rocket to the moon. If you don't want to sit there and put it together by the directions, then don't. Let your son figure out how he wants to play with the Legos.

 

With my son, we build it by the directions one time and then it all goes into a bin. He builds all sorts of stuff that he imagines and then executes. Our only problem is when I do the same, he tells me I'm not doing it right. Um.....eyesroll.gif

 

This is one of those times you are probably over-thinking and need to step back for a moment. I've already had three of those today! Just part of the parenting....

 

hug2.gif

post #7 of 71

Well, I think Legos can be both-a "free-building" activity and a direction driven activity with a specific result. I remember my brothers getting Legos with directions 20+ years ago. Now, one of my brothers is an architect who has commissioned jobs before he is even done with his BA. 

 

In your case, 5 is still pretty young in the Lego world. At his age, I agree with you that he should be doing mostly free building, but I think you will see as he gets older he may enjoy the kits more. My nephew is 7 and got several kits for Christmas. He was able to put them together by himself following the directions. He really enjoyed making things that look similar to what he sees in the movie (he got Star Wars) and he played creatively with them after they were built. The building seemed very calming to him and he was totally engaged. He made a few mistakes and had to go back and figure out where the mistake was and start over.

 

I think there is some value in being able to follow step-by-step instructions to a pre-determined outcome for older children (especially if he ever wants to shop at Ikea :D), but I agree with you that five is too young. I think many of the kits are not for children younger than 7 or 8 because as you experienced, they can't get it much younger. Maybe you could dump all of the Legos into one giant bin and then put the directions sheets into a box or binder for "safe-keeping" (paper rips so easily you know :wink) and then one day the directions may be accidentally lost.

post #8 of 71

My boys are really into Legos and so am I (and I am more than slightly ADHD so probably your DH just doesn't have an interest in them - much like my very mathematically inclined DH).

 

We started out with my old bin of Legos (which was actually bits and pieces of kits from the 70s) and then I got a bigger bin and they love to build freestyle.  As the years have passed we have purchased and been given many kits and to be honest, unless they are super special like the 900 something piece Slave I (Boba Fett's ship) they mostly all get tossed into the bin after we have made the kit.

 

I have organized them somewhat - all Star Wars Lego go in this bin, all Toy Story Lego go in this bin but all the other random stuff is in one bin.  I have saved all the instruction booklets so if they want to reconstruct one of the kits they can but if not, they can just use the bricks to make whatever they want.  Just last week my 4 year old constructed a super elaborate scenario with bits of fire trucks, construction vehicles, houses etc.  It was so cool.

 

So anyway, all this to say, don't worry about the kits restricting freeplay with the Legos.  I actually find they increase the creativity because the kits introduce some unique pieces that may not be found in a regular bin.

 

Martha

 

p.s. Regarding your concern that helping him with the kits ignores the other family members - would it help to think of it as one on one time with your child?  I try my best to make sure I spend time with both kids individually and Lego is a perfect way to do that!

post #9 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by StephandOwen View Post

Open box. Pour into bin. Nobody says the kits have to remain separated from the other legos winky.gif

 

DH was WAY into legos as a kid (actually, he still has a lot of his old legos). DS is just starting to get into Legos. I grin and bear it because it's sooo not my thing. However, ds received a few kits for Christmas. He just asked me to open one and help him set it up..... a couple hours after dh left for a work trip for the week. Grrr. I would have much rather had dh help ds with it, but that wasn't an option so I did it.

ITA. My dh still has a bunch of his legos from when he was a kid. It's still his toy of choice. He still had some of the little boxes & instructions that his kits came with but nuts to that. I put them all away from the legos themselves & they're in a big bin. Ds totally only does freeplay with them. He LOVES to see what kind of vehicle/rocket/submarine whatever he can build & makes up elaborate storylines with them. So put them all together and hide the instructions!

 

post #10 of 71
Thread Starter 


 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tigerchild View Post

I think you're overthinking this.

 

 

I see a lot of parents end up a) micromanaging the process and frustrating their kid,

b) getting kits when the kid is not ready for kits, or

c) getting inappropriate kits for their kid or

d) giving the child the impression that they MUST build exactly what's in the kit or that they can't mix and match. 

 


 

Oh yes, I am over-thinking this.  But when *I* help my son, I let HIM do it. 

 

My DH and FIL are "you must only color within the lines" type of people.  (FIL told him at 2yo "that's just scribbles, give me the crayon" and proceed to draw cats and people "correctly". hello!?!?)    I hear them repeatedly say "don't mix up the pieces" and "you have to get the exact same color as the picture" even though DS found the same shape!!

 

So I guess it is really the men and not the legos or my son that are annoying me!!  They just don't get that it is about DS's journey, and not a perfect finished product.  So - the men just take over even though they clearly don't enjoy it.  My SON enjoys it, and will probably be that engineer!!  But instead of encouraging DS to do it, they focus on the task and take it over themselves while clearly frustrated and not enjoying it!!  As a mom, I want the men to focus on letting DS learn and enjoy doing it!!

 

You are right, my 5yo is probably not ready for that 130 piece set I got him for xmas.  My fault.  And I KNOW he won't be ready for the $45 set that Uncle purchased. I am cringing inside.

 

I am loving the idea of putting the directions away for "safekeeping".  I can bring those back out in 2-3 years.

post #11 of 71

first of all breathe.....It's toy and not worth stressing over.

 

Lego kits have been around as long as legos.  My brothers were obsessed with keeping there creations intact and furious at their little sister who would take them apart. mischievous.gif

 

If you don't like the sets don't treat them as sets. shrug.gif dump them out and let your kids have at it.  The sets have lots of cool pieces and mini-figs that are great for free play.

 

However my husband and and son have been doing legos together since around 4-5 and its their time together.  Its a great time to talk and it helps them both unwind/unplug and reconnect after a busy day. Right now they are working on the death star, very cool! 

post #12 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by HollyBearsMom View Post

Right now they are working on the death star, very cool! 



 OMG I am so jealous!!!!  I really want to get that for my Star Wars obsessed boys but Daddy says no way!  To be honest, he's right - they're too young.  But I may just buy it anyway and tuck it away until they are old enough!!! LOL ;)

post #13 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyMommy2 View Post


You are right, my 5yo is probably not ready for that 130 piece set I got him for xmas.  My fault.  And I KNOW he won't be ready for the $45 set that Uncle purchased. I am cringing inside.

 

I am loving the idea of putting the directions away for "safekeeping".  I can bring those back out in 2-3 years.

I don't have any idea what a $45.00 set would be in the US (around here, that could be just a bin of assorted Lego for free building), but I definitely think you should just put away the directions, if it's a major kit. Let him play with it the way he wants to play with it!
 

post #14 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by kittynurse View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by HollyBearsMom View Post

Right now they are working on the death star, very cool! 



 OMG I am so jealous!!!!  I really want to get that for my Star Wars obsessed boys but Daddy says no way!  To be honest, he's right - they're too young.  But I may just buy it anyway and tuck it away until they are old enough!!! LOL ;)

 

Trust me it a commitment and has completely taken over my dining room!  The manual is HUGE and very intimidating but they are bout 1/2 way thru and it looks amazing. I would definetly get one and put it away.  If they discontinue it the set will become a "collectible" and will be even more pricey!  
 

post #15 of 71

You know, can you just keep your DH away from them, not your DS?  Let him find his own way of enjoying them without his dad or grandpa getting involved?

 

 My DS1 is 6 and just got his first Lego set for Christmas and loves it!  I got him the 700 piece brick, and since them have bought him a few more kits since he likes them so much.  He usually plays with them by himself, or with 4 year old DD1, because I need to keep my 2 year old and 6 month old out of the way.  He loves looking at the instructions and building the things, then all the Legos get tossed into the box (and the instructions saved) and he'll make up his own things to build.  He'll call me or DH up to the dining room to see his creations, but will happily spend hours in there playing with them.

post #16 of 71

Maybe you can take your son out shopping to buy Daddy and/or Grandpa their OWN lego set for Father's day or something.  :)  They get to be in charge of their set, DS gets to be in charge of his.  :D  That might get the point across gently but hopefully with humor.

 

My mom can be this way about dollhouses and barbies.  She bullied me to no end when I was a child, saying there was one way to play, blah blah blah, and then rearranging how I'd set up my dollhouse to HER satisfaction.  She's set up a room in her house and calls it "Tigerchild's Room" (kinda creepy if you ask me) with a huge dollhouse and all these toys that she remembers me liking (it was more her though).  The truth is though that she is the oldest child of 6, her mother died young and was sick for a very very long time with cancer before that, and even before that happened a lot of the burden of caring for her sisters fell on her.  She didn't get to "play" very much.  (I got that info from my second-mom aunt that I am very close to).  So play is very important to her, on a primal level, and she's really not that great at sharing.

 

When I see adults and/or parents really invested in their kids playing a certain way or doing a certain thing, sometimes I wonder if there is not the same sort of primal thing going on with them too.  I know that I have to watch *myself* in that regard (not with play so much, but with reading and/or school).  Which is why I am not really joking when I say it might be fun to get grandpa/daddy and son matching (small) lego kits.  They can enjoy parallel play, without either stressing about the other messing up the creation, because they BOTH get to do it.  I find myself doing this with crafts that I like or things that I have my mom do with the kids, personally.  Unfortunately, it's a wee bit expensive to do something like that with legos.  But you can approach things like that hopefully with grandpa/DH and as your son gets older you can always explain that sometimes grownups can get bossy with toys because they can be sad that they don't feel like they can "play" anymore, even though almost everyone NEEDS to play sometimes no matter how old you are.

 

I found once I looked at things from that angle with my mom, it enabled me to be a) more compassionate but also b) doing smarter strategies to keep cringeworthy behavior or triggers to a minimum.

post #17 of 71

my ds is 14 and i would be he spends at least 20 hours a week building with his legos  making all sorts of stuff   in recent past he has made a camera tri pod and a mp3 holder  i think he id going to be an engineer, fact is we have several types of building bricks  like  ZOOBS and kenx but he favors the lego  and i for one find it frustration that  there are not more sets of OPEN play type pieces that being said  he will build a set using the book  then he will take all the parts and dump them in the giant bin ( and i do me giant it s a rubbermaid storage tub)and they become many diffrent things. 

post #18 of 71

I agree with most of the posters here - buy legos; dump in bin.  I remember as a child (25 yrs ago?) getting a brand-new box of legos.  We didn't get much brand-new - it was a big deal!  It had instructions in it, we followed them once for fun, and then we dismantled and threw out the instructions, dumping all the new legos into our bin of well-used and much-loved old legos. 

 

My REAL issue with Lego today is that it's ALL boy-centered guns and fighting stuff.  Yes, I know, it's not ALL guns, but so much of it is!!!  I tried to buy my 4yo and 6yo nephews those little $6 boxes as birthday party favors at my dd's birthday this year.  The 4yo was easy - he likes cars.  The 6yo - nothing!  I bought something else entirely.

 

And as for "girly" Legos, forget it!  I picked up a couple castle/dollhouse sets when she was 3-4, and I'm so glad I did!  All they have now are cheesy little 200-pc sets with dogs or horses.  There's are extremely limited options and the price per piece is horrible.  And before anyone says "buy a standard set/"big box"/etc." - I don't WANT the standard stuff - we have TONS of the standard stuff.  I want cool castle pieces - like the gray ones but maybe in light blue!  I want car pieces - like the black and red ones, but in white and pink!  I want lots of different windows and doors, curved pieces, specialty stuff - but not in black, brown, gray, and red.  I DO want girly colors, but not cutesy dollhouse themes.

 

I know this is all consumer-driven and most female consumers aren't interested in buying legos for their daughters.  I know Lego would make more girly stuff if there was a demand for it.  I guess I'm not upset with Lego; I'm really upset at American cultural values.

 

Thanks for letting me rant...

post #19 of 71

I'm in agreement.... Legos have always been like this. You can buy big bins that just have a bit of this and that, or you can buy the kits. The Lego stores are also especially fun because you can buy individual pieces. That's neat. 

 

I don't think the "problem" here is the toy, it's the relatives. Some people are just like that. Not everyone appreciates or understands letting kids direct things, or the value in unstructured activities. That simply is what it is. I highly doubt there's anything you can do about it. 

 

post #20 of 71

ok op...  just wanted to say that I hear what you are saying. My son just got his first set of megablocks for christmas, and I've really enjoyed them. But the 'odd' peices drive me up a wall. Lego Kits also used to make me nuts as a kid, but it seems like that's what most of the lego store is devoted to. It's great to hear that they still do sell bins somewhere!

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