I love Legos, and I know I’m not the only one.
Pinterest is flooding my inbox to tell me my Lego party pin has been re-pinned–again. Readers email me asking for advice about which Lego sets to buy. My friends and I compare notes on which cities have the best Lego stores, and how to get the most bricks for the cheapest price. We talk about which sets our kids love–and which ones we’d buy for ourselves if money were no object.
Legos are versatile, gender-neutral, timeless, and loved by kids and adults alike. The very same bricks my 2-year-old builds towers out of can be found in the lobbies of the snootiest architectural firms to entertain clients while they await their $400/hour appointments.
Today, I’m sharing a little bit of my family’s experience with Legos. I would love to hear yours, too.
Our Favorite Lego Books
We love the bricks and the books. Good Lego books are fun to peruse, filled with ideas, and are way more portable than the actual bricks (think dentist’s office or car trip).
We love all of the books by professional Lego builder Sean Kenney–we just wish there were more of them! Cool City is our favorite of the three. I’m looking forward to Cool Castles, coming this October. (Sean also has great material on his website.)
The Ultimate Lego Book also continues to be a favorite.
Regular architecture books inspire many of my son’s designs. Skyscrapers and Architecture: The World’s Greatest Buildings Explored and Explained are favorites.
What sets do we buy?
My kids prefer to buy their Legos in sets, and not just giant tubs of bricks. They’ll follow the directions to put together the set once (and only once), and then the pieces will be mingled with the general collection.
We love the Lego City collection, and we’ve recently been ogling the architecture line. (Make sure you see the Lego rendition of the Sydney Opera House.)
We’ve enjoyed buying bricks a la carte in Lego stores, but we’ve just discovered that Pick a Brick is now available online. We’ve used Pick a Brick to buy:
- little fun pieces, like flowers and wheels and roof tiles.
- lots of bricks in one color–like lots of brown for the Empire State Building my son has in progress.
- add some color variety to our Lego collection by buying plain bricks in pink, purple, and lime green.
For adding lots of basic bricks to your collection, I can’t find a better value than this box. (But if you know of a better deal, let me know!) It’s not a “set” but the bricks work out to be about 4 cents each.
Lego & Friends? No thanks.
I love the versatility of Legos, and my kids and I both shy away from the specialized sets. We don’t buy Ninjago or Star Wars legos, so we’re definitely not buying a highly specialized set like the Butterfly Beauty Shop.
In my house, the boys and girls build very different things out of legos. My sons build aircraft carriers and skyscrapers and lots and lots of trucks. Not my girls: they build clubhouses, cell phones and swimming pools. They make barns and flowers and horse-drawn carriages.
The girls and the boys love to browse the building lines: the architecture series and the modulars leave them drooling. If we wanted to spend $200 on a Lego set, I’d buy the town hall, complete with mayor, journalist, and bride and groom minifigures.
Legos are a value-added toy.
Legos are a simple but limitless toy for lazy days, and my kids play with them a lot during quiet rest times on hot summer days. They’re happy playing, and I’m delighted to have them engaged in self-directed, creative play. But Legos don’t have to be a solo toy: sometimes my kids and I conspire to build things together.
We use Legos for more than play time. Sometimes we’ll do Lego math: Pinterest has lots of great ideas for educational activities. And my son is getting a feel for the value of a dollar as he saves up for some of the bigger Lego sets. (Q: How many loads of laundry will he have to do to save up for that small set? A: 10.)
Perfect (or not) for Type A parents.
Legos are small pieces, and sometimes it feels like they’re taking over my house. But even if we lose a few pieces, we can still play with them (unlike board games). This helps me stay relaxed even though our Legos aren’t perfectly organized or sorted.
(Of course, it might just drive you crazy if your kids mix all the pieces together from different sets like mine do!)
What’s your experience with Legos? Did you love them as a kid? Do you love them now? Do your kids? Hit us with your best tips in the comments!