Lego consumerism - how on earth do I stop this madness?!? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 35 Old 03-16-2012, 01:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I used to think Legos were a good toy, I really did.  Now, I view the company as practically predatory and I wish I rid them from our lives forever.  All ds1 (7.5) wants to do is buy more and more Lego sets, all the time.  Whatever one he last got is never enough and always leads to him wanting another, different one.  We don't actually let him do this of course; he gets sets for his birthday and Christmas (too many, from well-intentioned relatives), and maybe twice in the past year has bought a set with his own money.  It's the insane DESIRE for more though, all the time, that's killing me.  And it's not just ds...all his friends are equally obsessed, which of course fuels the fire substantially. 

 

We have tried talking to him about the marketing, all the other Lego sets that sit abandoned in the closet, and the concept of being happy with what you have, at least for a little while!  All of my mom friends are talking to their sons about this same thing, but in the end, the desire for more is too strong. 

 

I should mention also that ds does not watch TV and has very limited media outlets, so ALL of this hype is pretty much coming from his circle of friends, the brochures that come in the Lego sets that one child may get (the brochures all get passed around), and who knows where else?  Maybe nowhere. 

 

I'm looking to hear about how other parents are handling this obsessive consumerism, because it so goes against everything we are trying to instill and how we live our lives.  Ugh. 

 

FYI, the obsession in question right now is NINJAGO.  Before this it was Star Wars. 


~ Meredith, mom to dd(Jan '02), ds1(May '04) and ds2 (June '07) ~ :
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#2 of 35 Old 03-16-2012, 01:38 PM
 
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Hi-

   Well my DD is not into them (yet!) but the one thing that I find to be nuts about it is that you buy a set to complete that one thing (Harry Potter Castle, etc) and then it's done..so then what?  Time to get a new one.  The old lego sets were generic- meaning, use your imagination and build something new every time you use it.  I find it's similar to Lincoln logs too.  

 

We are going to Florida and my FIL has a house about 5 minutes from the new lego land.  We figured we would check it out one day until I heard it's 85 bucks to get in!  For legos????

 

Jen

 

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#3 of 35 Old 03-16-2012, 01:42 PM
 
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Your son and his friends are obsessed with Legos, and that means the company is predatory? The marketing that is somehow causing this desire are the little pamphlets that come in the Lego packages? Are you serious?

 

Lego makes a cool toy, and your son and his friends like them and want more. I think this is a human tendency. My kids can get fixated on wanting more and more of something and being ungrateful for what they have. It is sort of a curse of prosperity, I think. I don't think it has anything to do with the object of desire. 

 

I do think it is crucial to work on this character/cultural issue. With my daughters, I try to give them some perspective, by reading books about what life is/was like in other times and places. We talk about how we have so much more than we need, while others don't have their basic needs met. I try to show gratitude and explain why I am grateful for the things we have. I might tell my child that her time with friends that fuel ungratefulness might need to be limited if she is being influenced so strongly by them. We would talk about values, and how Legos are fun, but they are less important than many other things. I tell my kids that constantly pestering me about buying them things makes me not want to do it. We say grace at meals and also thank the cook. 

 

Those are just some ideas from our family, but it seems like the focus needs to be on helping him learn gratitude and selflessness. He may be old enough to volunteer his time in the community somehow.

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#4 of 35 Old 03-16-2012, 01:42 PM
 
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I went through this once before with ds1, age 15, and bionicles from Lego. He had a paper route and bought his own for the most part. We lived in a small town and there was ony one outlet that carried them, selection was limited and so were his purchases. Now, none of this is true with ds2, age 4. We are surrounded as you describe. He knows which malls have lego stores, legoland is local and we went with friends. He has coveted many different types, does not have money of his own(!), and we simply do not have the space. All this to say, I agree, I used to find legos to be a great toy and now the marketing has turned me off. I still think the bricks and building parts are good, the consumerism is bad (for us).

At this point I am telling him we will not start any new collections (so no star wars or ninjago for him) and I will not buy toys when I am not planning on it. This means a trip to target for items o a list will not include legos but if we do easter baskets he may get something there. I was letting him look at the lego aisle when shopping but I think that promotes his consumerism and I often gave in to a purchase. We shop with a list and buy from the list most other times. He can learn this discipline.

I hope there is more to read on this because I still feel like I might be wishy-washy here.

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#5 of 35 Old 03-16-2012, 02:06 PM
 
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My son got a little obsessed with Lego for a while... what cured it was refusing to assemble the things according to the instructions for him. The kits are boring... first you have your parents hold your hand for 2 hours while you assemble it and then put it on your desk and just look at it, not play with it because you don't want to go through the tedium of building it again? 

 

We are usually available to play lego as long as we can build what we want to, with our imagination like when we were kids. I am always willing to come look at what he created himself. Once the kits come apart, there's tons of wheels and windows and cool things to build with, and they find they don't need any more.


~Teresa, raising DS (Jan. 02) and DD1 (Jun. 04) and DD2 (Dec. 11) with DH.

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#6 of 35 Old 03-16-2012, 02:24 PM
 
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Almost every toy company, or company that makes and sells products is preying on consumers. That is how they profit. The mass marketing geared towards children is fueled by millions and millions of dollars a year. Lego makes a cool toy, and at least their company is selling something that encourages kids to be creative and use their mind. But, I do agree that they are predatory. Any company that has toys associated with movies and video games, along with their own clothing line, their own magazine, their own book series, board games, and amusement parks is bound to have a massive marketing department. The company has come a long way since we were kids and they had blocks that you put together and a few little men that sat on top of them.


Does your son have an allowance or can he work around the house? I would tell him that you are more than willing to continue to buy blocks and to help him find new ways to put them together, but you will no longer be buying themed sets. If he would like to have the theme sets, he will have to figure out a way to purchase them himself. It's unlikely that after he has done chores for a solid month to earn the money for it, he will still want it.

Also, maybe this will make you the cool mom? It's a blog all about how to take old sets and turn them into new stuff.
http://legohacker.blogspot.com/

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#7 of 35 Old 03-16-2012, 03:09 PM
 
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Another thought:
My girls and I do not want the girly legos especially after I talked to them about why I did not like them. After having this discussion with them I realized one thing I didn't like about many of the collections is how specificaly toward boys or girls they are. I don't like ninjago or playing pink cupcake shop (at least not when there aren't any cupcakes to eat). When I stick to toys with mass appeal in our family we have better luck - I am more willing to play along, greedy monsters are less likey to show up, toys play better together (legos and silkies for example), my children play better together, and we purchase fewer toys.

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#8 of 35 Old 03-16-2012, 03:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yes Lego does make cool products, and I know, making people want more product - whatever it is - is the basis of our capitalistic society.  Children are so vulnerable to this stuff though, that's what I object to.  ANYHOW, predatory/non-predatory definitions aside, I agree that one way to combat the cultivate a sense of responsibility, gratitude and selflessness.  I'm trying!  We volunteer once a week in the community. Ds does chores and has tasks that he is solely responsible for in the house.  Aside from gifts, he buys his own Lego sets.  We constantly talk about and model living a low-waste, simple life.  I limit media exposure.  But he still is never satisfied with the Legos that he has, and always wants more! 

 

Maybe I need to have a rule about no more sets, like someone else mentioned.  Or - and I just thought of this - maybe I should say that for every new Lego set that comes in, one has to go out.  I wonder if there's anywhere we could donate Legos...hmmm....


~ Meredith, mom to dd(Jan '02), ds1(May '04) and ds2 (June '07) ~ :
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#9 of 35 Old 03-16-2012, 03:37 PM
 
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Legos are great on so many levels. Not only as building toys, but for learning to prioritize the ones you want, the themes you want to collect, and to save for them. If they come apart when you play with them, you learn to improve the design. You also learn how to handle things more carefully:-)

 

I'd much rather ds collect Legos than go through all the fads like bakugan and beyblades which can't be used any other way. Better than collecting those little erasers or those rubber band bracelet things that come in different shapes. Or the mini zombie dolls. Legos can last and be used by our children's children (we have Legos from the 70's still going strong). Or they can be resold.

 

 

 

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#10 of 35 Old 03-16-2012, 03:39 PM
 
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 I wonder if there's anywhere we could donate Legos...hmmm....


Around here, libraries are always wanting Legos so they can have Lego clubs.


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#11 of 35 Old 03-16-2012, 04:37 PM
 
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I used to think this until Lego Fever hit our house. My son LOVES LOVES LOVES the process of following the instructions and putting the thing together, whatever it is. I think it must be tremendously satisfying. Then the object never stays put together. Soon it is disassembled and reassembled into things of his own making, his own design.

 

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Hi-

   Well my DD is not into them (yet!) but the one thing that I find to be nuts about it is that you buy a set to complete that one thing (Harry Potter Castle, etc) and then it's done..so then what?  Time to get a new one.  The old lego sets were generic- meaning, use your imagination and build something new every time you use it. 



 

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#12 of 35 Old 03-16-2012, 04:44 PM
 
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I agree. With all the mess and insanity that goes with the Legos, and yes, the annoying one-theme-leads-to-the-next marketing schemes (grr!), overall they are so good. They allow for endless imagination and eventually they stop buying the sets. Why, you ask? Well they find something else. Now, this may have been a can of worms that I opened up, but I got my 9 year old his first video game--Minecraft--because it seemed very creative, and it is. And after a while I began to notice that everything built in Minecraft is built of blocks. Eureka! It's like Lego without the mess!! woo hoo!  Endless blocks to build with and they are inside the computer.

 

I know, I know, eventually they will probably find a way to keep asking us for money (i.e. upgrading the game), but for now, the game was affordable, we have cleaned up that mess on his floor and that floor is staying clean! Thank you Minecraft.

 

But I have to chuckle. Recently I caught him re-creating the little blocky Minecraft blocks and weapons with--you guessed it--his Legos.  (sigh)    :-)
 

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Legos are great on so many levels. Not only as building toys, but for learning to prioritize the ones you want, the themes you want to collect, and to save for them. If they come apart when you play with them, you learn to improve the design. You also learn how to handle things more carefully:-)

 

I'd much rather ds collect Legos than go through all the fads like bakugan and beyblades which can't be used any other way. Better than collecting those little erasers or those rubber band bracelet things that come in different shapes. Or the mini zombie dolls. Legos can last and be used by our children's children (we have Legos from the 70's still going strong). Or they can be resold.

 

 

 



 

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#13 of 35 Old 03-16-2012, 07:46 PM
 
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We've gotten a handle on a few collecting crazes by giving the kids an allowance, having a top 5 list and insisting that their stuff must be able to fit inside their storage.  If the storage is full, they must get rid of something - whether it's other sets or different toys to create more storage for the craze.  I don't always toss/sell/donate stuff - if I think there's still good play value I will stick it downstairs for rotation.  Funny how a set that wasn't so exciting becomes fun again after a few months of not seeing it!  Re-cycling things becomes an alternative to buying something new.  We've also done some parent managed trading for somethings, to help keep stuff fresh.  Really, I think that learning to mange crazes is life skills now, marketing is so sneaky and deceptive that adults have a hard time dealing with it sometimes. 

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I used to think this until Lego Fever hit our house. My son LOVES LOVES LOVES the process of following the instructions and putting the thing together, whatever it is. I think it must be tremendously satisfying. Then the object never stays put together. Soon it is disassembled and reassembled into things of his own making, his own design.

 



 

Ours do stay put together. Ds is careful with them. BUT he does take them off the shelf and play with them. He doesn't want to own certain sets/themes because he realized they aren't as playable for him. He loved Power Miners because you could mine OR have conflicts with the rock monsters. But he quickly realized the Alien Conquest theme wasn't very playable for him, just aliens attacking earth and abducting people. I'm sure another kid could think of some imaginative alternatives but it wasn't for ds although he initially was thrilled with the theme (since it involved space and had cool vehicles). We don't have much in the way of sets with buildings because that's not how ds plays. He likes cool vehicles with cool features. So he knows from experience which ones he'll play with and aims for getting those. A great skill, like figuring out which pretty purse you'll actually use.

 

And following the instructions is a great skill, as well. It's like a very complex puzzle. I don't know why people get so negative about that and think it means the kids aren't being creative. It's a separate thing but it doesn't prevent creativity. Often, it gives the kids ideas about new methods of construction. Legos are like a puzzle and a blank sheet of paper, a toy that can be used in a specific way or be completely open ended. But that can switch from one way to the other at any time.

 


 

 


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I agree. With all the mess and insanity that goes with the Legos, and yes, the annoying one-theme-leads-to-the-next marketing schemes (grr!), overall they are so good. They allow for endless imagination and eventually they stop buying the sets. Why, you ask? Well they find something else. Now, this may have been a can of worms that I opened up, but I got my 9 year old his first video game--Minecraft--because it seemed very creative, and it is. And after a while I began to notice that everything built in Minecraft is built of blocks. Eureka! It's like Lego without the mess!! woo hoo!  Endless blocks to build with and they are inside the computer.

 

I know, I know, eventually they will probably find a way to keep asking us for money (i.e. upgrading the game), but for now, the game was affordable, we have cleaned up that mess on his floor and that floor is staying clean! Thank you Minecraft.

 

But I have to chuckle. Recently I caught him re-creating the little blocky Minecraft blocks and weapons with--you guessed it--his Legos.  (sigh)    :-)
 



 


Yup, ds has had a set half built for a week because he's been too busy playing Minecraft. 

 


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#16 of 35 Old 03-17-2012, 07:37 AM
 
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My dd has gone through a few consumerism phases and I mention how much she has at home when she wants to spend her money but mostly ride it out. So far we have been through Lego, Barbie, Pokemon, and Crayola obsessions and she continues to obsessed over one dollar hot wheels. I don't think the companies are bad though and I still love all of these things, except Pokemon which I don't get. The consumerism phases have helped dd to be a more thoughtful spender because she has had several times when she wanted something nicer and had just spent her money. Knowing that helped her cool down her spending a lot.
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#17 of 35 Old 03-17-2012, 08:02 AM
 
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Man.  When I was a kid, we had the basic multicolored legos in the giant boxes, a few lego people, maybe a windshield or a few wheels.. that's it!  I'm actually hoping to get DD into legos this year, but probably not the sets.  Maybe a few lego people and stuff like that in addition to the colored bricks.  I don't like buying into marketing, we try to keep the house media free for the kids because of how it just sucks people in.


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#18 of 35 Old 03-17-2012, 08:37 AM
 
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My ds received (or bought) sets, built the things in the booklet once or twice, and then dumped all the pieces into one big plastic container and used all the pieces to make things from his imagination. He did spend a good bit of his own money (from birthday gifts, etc.) as an elementary schooler to save for special sets, so he had some desire for it, but I think that's pretty normal. Then there were all the Pokemon cards or Magic the Gathering cards he craved and bought. (FWIW, he sent all the Pokemon cards to a younger cousin, but still uses the legos once in a while.)

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#19 of 35 Old 03-17-2012, 08:40 AM
 
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We got one of the Lego sets for DS a few months ago, it just turned out to be one MASSIVE meltdown from DS and one exhausted and irritable DH. We decided after that total fail never to get any of the Lego Sets again. We will get some basic Lego's or may'be the Lego Duplos at some point though.


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#20 of 35 Old 03-17-2012, 09:02 AM
 
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I agree that the source problem isn't LEGO, it's the unchecked consumer appetite that your DS is starting to demonstrate. It's natural for children to focus and obsess on certain types of activities or toys. It's a learning pattern. Exploration and repetition with familiar materials builds competence. Construction-type toys like Legos are useful for developing visual-spatial abilities. If you didn't offer Legos, kids would probably find some substitute to work on these skills.

 

If you discourage him from playing with LEGO, then it's likely he'll move his consumerist obsessions to some other company, construction toy or otherwise (including video or computer games). Would K'Nex or Nintendo be any better or worse? 

 

If you make a rule that he must contribute to buying his own LEGO sets or wait for a gift-giving occasion like birthdays, then that's a simple way to regulate and limit the number of sets. Unless you are buying a lot of toys at other times. If you are, then personally, I'd let him choose what he wants to receive and if it's LEGO, so be it. From your follow-up post, though, it doesn't sound like you are buying him a lot of stuff, so maybe you are more concerned about whinging and pestering for new toys? Again, you're back to dealing with consumerism, not LEGO or any other toy. 

 

My DS was obsessed with Brio train sets. Luckily, it was the train aspect that really hooked him. He did have lots of Brio stuff, but he also transferred his train obsession to building trains and train stations out of LEGO and also wooden building blocks, a beautiful hand-carved train set that was a gift, reading every book in the library about trains, visiting train stations and riding on subways........... until he moved on to dinosaurs, lol! He's now a college student but still loves LEGO, and for his last birthday, we gave him an expensive, fancy Star Wars set. So I do understand your concerns. I just think it's misplaced to blame one company.  

 

 

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#21 of 35 Old 03-17-2012, 09:17 AM
 
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The kits are boring... first you have your parents hold your hand for 2 hours while you assemble it and then put it on your desk and just look at it, not play with it because you don't want to go through the tedium of building it again? 

 

I had to laugh at this. DS LOVES building Lego sets. So much so that he independently built an enormous train set for DH's (adult) friend because the friend wanted the finished model but didn't want to put it together.

 

Our library has tons of these type of Lego books:

http://www.amazon.com/LEGO-Star-Wars-Dictionary-Library/dp/0756657431/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&qid=1332000895&sr=8-9

Which DS loves poring over. Could be a non-stress way for your DS to engage  in his hobby.

 

Also, keep in mind that it sounds like this is a real bonding, social thing with his friends. For that reason, I would probably find ways to honor his interest (which it seems like you are doing) without going against your family's values. Could it be that all his talk and exchanging of catalogs is really more a social thing than him actually wanting more, more, more? Also, maybe Lego playdates are in order!

-e


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#22 of 35 Old 03-17-2012, 02:15 PM
 
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I think it depends on the kid. My 7yo DS loves lego. His father is an engineer and programmer, so all this building comes naturally, and his mother is an artist, so there might be some creative outlet in there as well. So he loves following the book, and building the complex plane, ship, whatever.... After a week in it's "proper" form, the ship may morph into a space ship, into a laser thing, be completely disassembled and added to the buckets of all other legos. And then they are blended into totally different things. 

 

He enjoys the legos. He learns a lot about building, finds it creative and fun entertainment. If my son a different disposition, say a football player, then perhaps instead of legos he would be into collecting football t-shirts (don't the players have numbers that are popular?). If he was a footballer, then that is what his friends would be talking about, that is what they would spend more time doing, and that is where his interests would be. He went through a short marble-collecting phase, as well as a bakugan (sp?) phase. The legos "phase" lasts longer, because it seems more open-ended than marbles and bakugan. But in any case, I don't find legos to be any more or less predatory than any other marketing from other toy companies. 

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#23 of 35 Old 05-06-2012, 08:00 AM
 
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Luckily my DS (about to turn 9, but has been "into" Legos since around 5) seems to be able to appreciate both the sets (Harry Potter for him) and Lego free play/free building.

 

He has a big bin of piece for free play (mostly hand-me-downs) and I love to see how creative he is with all the building he does.  He spends about an hour each day Lego building, and when he's used up most of his pieces (every month or so), we take photos of his creations and then he breaks them apart to start over.

 

With the HP sets, he receives them as gifts or uses his own money.  He builds them within a day or 2, them keeps them on display, but sometimes carefully plays with them - or minifigures from them - with his other creations.

 

How about buying Lego "lots"on eBay (just bunches of pieces mixed together - sometime they include booklets, but mostly not) to encourage more free building & creativity? 

 

I am really annoyed by all the pink Lego stuff / Lego Friends.  I was trying to keep that out of our house for DD, as she's loved free building too, but was given a set as a gift.  Will have to try to make it disappear smile.gif

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This is an interesting thread.  My sons both love Legos (ages 3&5)  but I hadn't really considered the marketing aspect at all because they have the huge sets that belonged to my husband as a child and to myself and my siblings. Only the basics and they have always just used their imaginations, and I'm always impressed by the creativity.  We've managed to avoid marketing to an extent because we don't have tv, avoid going to toy stores, and when we give gifts we focus more on experiences than things.  I'm going to have to rethink whether or not we want to go to the new Legoland that opened nearby now.  

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#25 of 35 Old 05-07-2012, 09:28 PM
 
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My kids would build the kits, enjoy the end product, and then gradually start taking the really good pieces off to make other things, combine parts, etc. My favorite invention involved part of Hogwart's combined with a Viking ship.

 

They've also used legos from kits to make other fun things - such as a pyramid for a school project, or a cake for a swim team banquet (the cake had to be water related, so they did a swim meet at hogwarts involved a lot of the HP lego. It was freaken brilliant. The swimmers were all wearing hogwarts robes, and there's something wonderful about lego people swiming in blue icing)

 

If the kits you are buying are stressful, then buy easier kits. The ages are just a guideline. My nephew could do the kids at a younger age than suggested, but my DDs needed to be older than suggested.

 

There's a really important word all parents can use from time to time -- "no."  Just because a product exist that causes you to need to say "no," it doesn't mean that anything is wrong. On a recent thread about best toys, legos were mentioned by several people.


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#26 of 35 Old 05-08-2012, 04:22 PM
 
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What if you took a new perspective on this and used it as an opportunity to talk to your son about having a hobby you are passionate about? Make it clear that not only will you not be buying him any new sets but that you are also done talking about it. If he wants to start a list of sets he would like to save for or ask for for his bday then he is welcome to do that. But maybe you guys could talk about what he likes about LEGOs, what his favorite part of the process is, start a photo album of the things he builds, offer to help organize a LEGO swap with other kids to trade those sets that sit unused in the closet for more desirable ones or help him sell those on eBay for funds to buy different sets. If you played with LEGOs as a kid maybe you could talk to him about what your collection was like, how you stored it, what you liked to build..


Jenna in love with my DH Jon, loving our 2.5 year old, Caroline Tulip, and expecting another little one in August!
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#27 of 35 Old 05-09-2012, 08:45 PM
 
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And following the instructions is a great skill, as well. It's like a very complex puzzle. I don't know why people get so negative about that and think it means the kids aren't being creative. It's a separate thing but it doesn't prevent creativity. Often, it gives the kids ideas about new methods of construction. Legos are like a puzzle and a blank sheet of paper, a toy that can be used in a specific way or be completely open ended. But that can switch from one way to the other at any time.

 


 

 

 

I agree.  During the four years eldest ds was really into kits, I had several parent friends comment on how glad they were that their kids played with legos "creatively" and weren't into the kits.  I knew they were missing something: at the age of barely five, ds assembled a 900-piece kit recommended for ages 7+ with very minimal assistance.  It takes major spatial and problem-solving intelligence to follow the illustrations for the more complex kits.  Ds also kept all the models assembled, which meant he played with them very carefully.  Then suddenly a few months ago, he started taking the models apart (a bit at a time) to rob them of specific components.  For the last two months, he has spent an average of 3-4 hours a day on original creations.  The original stuff he is building clearly shows how much he learned from all the kits he put together (e.g., locking bricks to make the design hold up, framing windows, creating the underbody of a car, etc.). 

 

Although I wish most toy companies didn't market so aggressively, I think Legos are a great product.  We've maybe broken a handful of pieces in the years the kids have been playing with them.  All three kids (and the neighbor kids) enjoy playing with them together.  I don't see them ending up in a landfill, as our original set of Legos was from the 1980s (garage sale purchase) and those pieces are still part of our collection. 

 

I think banning a toy my child was really interested in would be pretty damaging to our relationship.  And I think that barring major concerns (such as safety), what my kids spend their birthday and allowance money on is up to them.  If they buy stuff that is poorly made or not as fun as advertised or whatever, I trust them to figure that out for themselves.

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#28 of 35 Old 05-09-2012, 08:55 PM
 
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Wow, after raising 3 lego immersed sons, I really can't think of a whole lot of negatives about legos. I am actually feeling a little tug at the old hearstrings now that my youngest ds is playing with them less and less. He still has elaborate cities set up on lego tables my dh built, has an old dresser filled with carefully sorted pieces, and has some elaborate story line to accompany his set-ups including a vast array of papers with charts and various illustrations that are a mystery to most of us outsiders but of great meaning to ds. Between him and his 2 brothers, they have amassed a huge collection.

It would never occur to me that there is much negative to say about Legos. They are among the most creative open-ended toys out there. I am grateful my kids have had such wonderful toys to play with all these years. Better than so much else that's out there, really.
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#29 of 35 Old 05-10-2012, 09:20 AM
 
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I agree with the previous poster.  And my heart is broken for your passionate little boy who wants to build.  What's wrong with respecting his passion?  He has to give away a set if he wants a new one?  When my boys were little that would have been like choosing a child to give away.   Because you don't like legos, your kid's not allowed to have them? 

 

FYI, legos help teach important math skills-- kids who are good at building with them are often the best mathies in school.  First Lego League was started by Dean Kamen, arguably one of the most important inventors alive right now.  The reason he started FLL (where kids use Lego Mindstorms to complete challenges) is because he thinks it gets engineering minds going early and sets them on a path to innovation and creativity.  Your child is showing his early interests-- I think it would serve him well if you could at the very least research the educational aspect of legos before deciding it's a frivolous hobby.

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#30 of 35 Old 05-10-2012, 11:15 AM
 
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We constantly talk about and model living a low-waste, simple life.  I limit media exposure.  But he still is never satisfied with the Legos that he has, and always wants more! 

 

Maybe I need to have a rule about no more sets, like someone else mentioned.  Or - and I just thought of this - maybe I should say that for every new Lego set that comes in, one has to go out.  I wonder if there's anywhere we could donate Legos...hmmm....

 

I've been thinking more about this, OP.  I really see where you're coming from.  I share a lot of your values, and when my kids were tots playing with their small collection of wooden blocks and woolen felt food and silk play scarves, I never could have imagined I'd have to deal with this kind of issue.  Most MDC moms have very strong social values, and that's a good thing.  But unless you're willing to relocate to a completely isolated place in the world, your child is going to have some contact with mainstream values.  You can ban media, but unless you want a lonely kid, you can't ban the entire neighborhood.  My daughter learned about Barbie dolls from a book she found at the public library.  I was inwardly horrified, and more so when she wanted to purchase one with her birthday money.  But I knew that saying no would signify 1) that she didn't even have control of her own money; 2) that I was critical of her interests.  No way was I going to risk that.  She purchased the Barbie, and now has a large collection that brings her much joy.  There are things I still don't like about Barbies.  But she's gotten a lot out of them, things I wouldn't have expected and couldn't see until I took the time to watch and observe the world through her eyes.  I think we can model values to our children and have lots and lots of discussions, but ultimately we have to give children room to find out for themselves what their own values are, you know?  Is it more important to have your child own the exact number of Lego sets that you find morally acceptable, or to have him grow into a person whose mother modeled her values but demonstrated flexibility and showed more interest in his passions and less judgement? 

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