Legos are my favorite toy of all time. They come in cool sets to begin with and you can break them up and build anything you can imagine. They combine using your imagination with building a collection and top it all off with the satisfaction of destroying stuff all at the same time. Sally has a similar, if less violent, attachment as well. Naturally we wanted to encourage the boys to play with them so we bought a set when they were around a year old. It was of the larger Duplo variety that didn’t contain pieces that they would choke on.
I don’t remember exactly when we officially started playing with them, but at first they boys weren’t too interested. They thought some of the sets were interesting but they weren’t yet at a point where they were really interested in building anything. We taught them how to build towers which kept them busy for a few minutes, but they didn’t have any interest in anything else. Fast forward to last winter and Legos had a resurgence. Being stuck in the house every day made it challenging to keep them occupied. One day we decided to bring the Legos out again to see if there was any interest. We built them some houses and vehicles and before we knew it, we’d been playing for over an hour.
The boys were two-and-half by this point so they were more interested in building things. They still built some towers, but also started to put blocks on top of the structures that Sally and I made. They didn’t necessarily make any sense but they were at least constructing things 🙂 We discovered that there were actually quite a few Duplo sets available that were pretty cool and picked some up. After adding a few small sets and digging around at Savers, we had enough platforms to build a couple of houses / garages, some animals, and some vehicles to go in them (buses, tow trucks, garbage trucks, and cars). One of their favorite things to do was let me build something and then steal it. Zach was particularly fond of anything that looked like a truck – he would take it and stuff as many lego figures as possible onto it.
So by this point the boys were interested in Legos but they weren’t really building too much. When they did put blocks together they rarely told us what they were putting together. As winter faded away, Lego time was replaced with outside time and we stopped using them. That all changed a couple of weeks ago. Legos have had a renaissance and the boys are really starting to play with them. They ask for them now. The first time we took them out this season, the boys played by themselves for an hour. If you have ever seen how active they are that is almost unfathomable. We stood in the kitchen in complete shock just watching. Not only were they playing quietly, they were playing together and they weren’t getting on each other’s nerves.
They each built their own houses and vehicles separately but were playing together by inviting each other over to the other’s house. By the end of it they had their own little city going that they built together. They had sleepovers, they drove cars, they even disciplined their Lego men. It was pretty cool. Since then they’ve still been asking to play and have been able to keep busy for a while. Now when they build things out of blocks they tell us what they are. Adam is always building a garage of some sort and likes to have multiple floors. Zach builds onto cars and likes to put the figures in and out.
At the moment the boys are still playing with Duplo sets. We have allowed them to play with the mini figures from a regular set, mostly to satisfy Zach’s need for action figures of any sort. He likes that many of them have removable hats and helmets.. and that he can take them apart. We opened up a Lego Star Wars advent calendar from a few years ago and built all of the sets inside of it to see what they would do. It was mostly for the figures but it was also an experiment to make sure they didn’t try to eat the smaller pieces. They passed the test but I think we can still get some mileage out of the Duplos. Sally and I have our childhood sets combined in a big box upstairs that will be quite the treat when they are finally ready. I think we’ll have some Master Builders in the family soon.