Okay so hate is a strong word and one that I try to keep my kids from saying. But, there are times I really, really, really dislike legos. I know how awesome they are for building skills in young children and keeping them entertained for hours but COME ON – I have lost 2 vacuum cleaners due to the various lego pieces that have been strewn all over my house.
And, I’d like to consider myself a somewhat organized person – but my talents are lost when it comes to storing legos. I had another mom tell me that she used plastic storage containers and stored them by type and color. I punched her right in the face – KIDDING.
And, yes, I dread the tiny pieces to be lost, stepped on, vacuumed up, and/ or eaten. But my son only asks for Legos. My daughter not so much – but in order to be fair – she gets her own set too.
BusinessWeek has a fantastic article on Lego’s new strategy to win over girls (they’ve tried in the past and failed) — and how the strategy was determined by their anthropological studies. I have to give credit to the creativity this company has and after taking a peek into their headquarters it’s no real surprise why.
“People should learn how to play Lego with their minds. Concepts are building bricks”
Some toys that are so well-known that they are instantly identifiable throughout the world. Among these is the Lego, which has been around for more than 50 years and only continues to grow in popularity.
Lego toys have overcome humble beginnings and are now part of a legacy which is loved by people of all ages and all walks of life. The earliest origins of this iconic toy can be traced back to 1932, when a Danish carpenter named Ole Kirk Kristiansen (also spelled Christiansen) began making children’s toys after losing his job during the Great Depression. He wanted to create simple toys, ones which drew from his history as a carpenter but also enriched children’s lives. Two years later, he named his company Lego, a combination of the Dutch words leg and godt, which means ‘play well.’ (Interestingly enough, the name can also be translated roughly into Latin as ‘I put together’ or ‘I assemble.’)
In hypothesis when consumer research sessions are conducted and I ask kids and parents which Toys are their favorite, which ones they own, and which ones they want, it is stunning how often Lego is the answer to all 3 of those questions. None of which is that surprising I know, but the interesting part of what consumers say is that Lego is ‘perfect’ for them (each of them), despite the fact that normally you wouldn’t see such a diverse array of kids playing with the same Toys.
So why are Lego’s so Personal?
Let’s hop in the Wayback machine and go back to the basement when we were kids digging through a giant plastic container of Legos. So why did we all love Legos so much as children? I’ll answer that – because growing up we could build Legos alone. That’s not saying we’re all introverts, but it’s saying it was a task that we could do independently and have fun with it. Not only could our imaginations be utilized in a highly engaged fashion but we had time for self dialogue. You’ll find that a lot of kids when playing with Lego, tend to talk to themselves. This isn’t a sign of going crazy or becoming a hardened engineer (though the latter might be likely,) it was simply a case for self-evaluation and exploration.
Yes, it’s alone time for the mind, which during a period in which children are becoming more social creatures, is a healthy departure from that socialization that is pressed so heavily upon children. As important as that is for a child’s development, it’s equally important that they discover themselves as well. I believe Lego is a strong tool for mental self-development.
Working with Legos also taught us two things about directions. First, it taught us to follow them. We all know the importance of that when we pull out the 150 page instructional booklet for any dissembled piece of furniture or electronic equipment. Step by step instructions, with pictures and not words were a great way to help to instill order within chaos, cause within effect. The bag being dumped out onto the ground – that was chaos. (and it drives me crazy!) The instructions guiding you through putting the pieces together – that was order.
Second, it taught us not to follow directions. It taught us to discard the directions, add the new bag to the current pieces and make whatever the hell you wanted. This stoked the imagination, as each new bag of Legos, regardless of the type, were just more coal for the imaginative fire. This drives children’s minds crazy with sick organizational delight – the possibilities of what we could build!
Legos remind all of us that life, learning, growing, achieving and progress are accomplished step by step. We need to remember that every little step we take is a step in the right direction.
We learn from every person around us and we seek out people we feel would be our best teachers. Each experience we have gone through is the mortar holding together all the pieces of our life. Each relationship we make is another brick that molds our life.
We have joy and pain. We have failure and success. We make friendships and break friendships. We draw our families closer or push them aside. We hide our heads in the sand, or look at ourselves squarely in the mirror. We hide behind excuses, or we find ways to achieve.
We cling to what was, or we reach for the stars. You can build your life or let it fall into disrepair and crumble at its foundations. The choice is yours.
A house is built one brick at a time. So is your life.
Live and Learn. We All Do.
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