DS is a Lego fiend, and his bday is coming up. We MUST deal with his room before we get a new influx. How do other people deal with Legos? We have a mix of sets (Star Wars, Harry Potter, and lots of random ones). Most are disassembled. Do we even try any kind of sorting, or just find enough clear tubs to hold them all? Any advice welcome!
Momma to 8 y.o. DS and 5 y.o. DD. Married to a Maker!
How does your DS tend to play with his Legos now? Does he only rebuild the kits, pretty much following instructions? Or does he do a lot of custom creations? Is he spending a really long time looking for the perfect pieces, or does he not really care if the colors match? Is he in charge of putting them away, or is that something you help him do?
For my 6yo DS, who has perfectionist tendencies, we kept kits in labeled gallon-sized ziploc bags along with the instruction booklets inside the original boxes (he liked studying the pictures) in his bedroom, b/c he was pretty much just recreating the kits for a while. Finally, after about a year, he loosened up when he realized his building would go faster if he wasn't so insistent on having a particular color. And his creative/free-play with the Legos exploded (which also coincided with an increase in the number of kits he had).
I've always helped him pick up the Legos (he'd be happy to step over them all day; me, not so much), and since I had been an active participant in helping him find pieces, I insisted on a bit of organization. This has worked well for us for almost 2 years. I divided the regular bricks by color, and put them into pint-sized ziplocs, which stay in a medium-sized tub on our coffee table (which is exclusively devoted to Legos since it's a good height for DS). However, DS has lots of non-brick pieces, so I bought some organizers for those. The thin base plates go in one semi-transparent, hard plastic pencil case (I've bought some at Target, some at WalMart--we've got 6 now, and they stack nicely); the car parts go in a different colored pencil case; the minifigures and their accessories go into yet another pencil case. I also ended up buying 3 plastic cases from the craft store/beading area that had lots of little compartments/divisions inside. One of them has frequently used pieces, divided by size/shape: two-peg smooth, four-peg smooth, small square smooth, cylinders, etc. Another divided container has less-frequently used parts such as fire, single round pegs, clipping pieces, etc. Every now and then, DS will be overwhelmed with putting away his giant mess of Lego parts, so I'll sit down with him, separate out all the pieces, and put them back into their caddies. Takes about half an hour, but it's so much easier for DS to find what he's looking for that I'm happy to do it.
It would have driven both of us crazy to have all the pieces in a huge tub...but if it would work for you/your DS, go for it!
I haven't actually done this yet, but we are going to be making the transition from duplos to legos. We are going to take ds's Trofast storage shelves from Ikea , use the bins underneath for legos (we are just getting him random lots at the moment no kits or anything). I am going to glue lego base-plates to the top to turn it into a lego table. At first we are just going to use 3 short bins for legos and if he becomes a lego fiend, we will make the entire Trofast legos (by getting more of the shorter bins and moving the other toys somewhere else). This would also allow us to label the bins and use them for sorting if that was desired.
We keep sets in plastic bags with instructions. Then we have several bins of "random" pieces I bought used on eBay. One bin is for basic bricks and base plates. Another bin is for all the "special" pieces." And then we have a smaller pencil case where we keep all the "guy" related pieces and accessories.
Good luck finding a workable solution!
If you go the "just dump'em in a bin" route, I recommend those large, flat underbed storage bins. Makes it easier to spread the Legos out and find things without [quite] as much mess. We're still in the early stages of our Lego mania journey, but my son is definitely a free play kind of guy, so this works for us. I keep the instructions in a magazine holder in case he ever, ever shows any interest in following instructions. . .
Well, we made a first pass at it. DS LOVES building the kits and will work feverishly for hours on Hogwarts or whatever. (He's even put together kits for other people who don't want to do it!) Then it stays together for a few months but eventually gets absorbed into the general morass.
When he freeplays with Legos he sets up huge Lego battles on the floor of his room -- mostly guys, ramparts and zany ships/vehicles he freebuilds.
So we started by separating out all the guys and their accessories into one small bin, because those are really his favorite part of the sets. The rest he was more resistant to sorting, but I think it'll be a multi-pronged process. I love the idea of flat bins; I'll have to look around to see if I can find some that will actually fit under his platform bed. That would be brilliant!
Oh, and DH (also a Lego fiend) keeps all the instruction manuals in a file, but at this point it would be near impossible for DS to find all the pieces to put a particular set back together. He seems okay with that, though.
Thanks for the input!
Momma to 8 y.o. DS and 5 y.o. DD. Married to a Maker!
I found a table at a yardsale, sanded and painted it. It has two drawers underneath that I painted a light white, so he can see his Legos. I glued the plates to the top and now he has a nice space. He does keep some sets in little tupperware bins, with the directions, but they can sit on top of the pile o' Legos in the drawers. : ) He is loosening up too about being so careful about separating them.
We bought this for DS's Legos. He has tons of them and likes to search through the different colors of bricks and pieces to put together sets or create his own. This thing is perfect for them. He has them color coded so he knows just where to find the pieces he is look for. It doesn't take up a ton of space either.
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Growing up, my brothers and I kept our legos in tackle boxes. I don't remember how we sorted them, but I remember each little tray and compartment was for a certain type of lego. We never worried about building actual sets or keeping them together though--we just built our own creations.