One of the things I’ve discovered as a parent is that most of us want to give our children the experiences we never had, we disregard that maybe our parents in fact knew exactly why we never had those experiences (they were right!).
One time at the mall with my then 18 mo first born, I turned the aisle at a book store (that obviously also sold other things) and suddenly I was the 8 yo girl in a similar toy shop years ago. Needless to say, we bought Vs first Lego duplo and brought it home. What followed over the last 6+ years is something I’m going to call our ‘Acceptance cycle’, there isn’t a choice really.
The valleys of disbelief – My 18-month old genius child who was supposed to ‘tinker’ with those blocks and build his first lego construction, wasn’t interested in the least bit interested! I stared at him in disbelief he tried to eat the block, turned it around a couple of times, promptly threw it down and stomped off. To say I was heartbroken, that my child had thrown years of research and design with zero regard, would be an understatement. What could I do now? ‘Build it’ said the 8yo girl. So I did. That lego duplo house was my own first Lego construction.
The slippery slope of Interest – I’m not one to give up easily, so after 3 duplo sets had been bought and one had his favorite trucks and cars, said genius child picked up the blocks. Now there was no looking back. He built baseless trucks, vehicles that defied gravity and all manner of physics was disregarded as impossible trucks and fantastical cars were built, broke and caused immense tantrums. The boy and lego however couldn’t be parted.
The great lego takeover! – I slipped into bed one day and got a nasty poke on my back. My son had decided to sleep with his lego truck, it took my back 3 days to recover. I came home from work to see Lego blocks on the table, in the kitchen, the bath tub, on window sills just everywhere and anywhere we saw legos. There was even a lego block in my office laptop bag that I discovered when I got to work. These days the tiny pieces are in corners of the home, in our vacuum and even in my kitchen shelf. The younger child cut his teeth on Lego blocks way earlier than his brother. He also had a knack for finding the tiniest of pieces that had escaped our attention as we rounded them up before his naps were over.
The acceptance of pain – You are no lego parent unless you have experienced the acceptance of Pain. Step on a piece and go straight back to child birth days! When your children walk up to you with two of the thinnest pieces stuck together asking’ mom can you get these apart?’, you know you will loose a nail and thumb to this, but you will do it. The pain of Lego is one every lego parent will remember on the same plane as the sleepless days and the first teeth bites, Ugh!
The peak of enlightenment – Just as you resign yourself to the chaos and the pain, poof! Enlightenment! One day they are following instructions and a big airplane is built in hours, blink and suddenly they are building things that aren’t even in the books. Then you find you are invited to inaugurate a museum of lego objects in one corner of their room. They are collaborating and designing, 8 yo you is thrilled!
The quiet long period of play – you make peace with all those big and small blocks. You find beautiful storage boxes that’ll hold all those tiny pieces. Every now and then there are mega projects but normally on a regular day a small lego something is built and proudly displayed to anyone who will listen. Your tea or breakfast is not complete without a lego invention, with it come many hours of quiet play.
Lego has been a great source of play inspiration for us. Keeping it open ended and creating for the joy of it, has saved me many afternoons of leaving the then 5 year old by himself while I put his brother down for a nap.
We’ve had quite a few lego duplo sets, some worked some didn’t. Listing some of our favorite starter sets below.
Lego Duplo – 2-5 years
Lego Classic Bricks – 5+ years