Jewish Kids Go Big with Lego
The educational value of this decades-old toy inspires creativity, teamwork, patience and dimensional forecasting.
After 35 years with the Atlanta newspapers, Marcia currently serves as Retail VP for the Buckhead Business Association, where she delivers news and trends (laced with a little gossip).
In 1932, a Danish toy inventor introduced his “play well” (translated Lego) to generations of popular culture, ancient landmarks, and monopolistic retail sales. Think of the Millennium Falcon, which once sold for $3,400 plus (and still re markets with Star Wars movies) 14 karat gold brick collectors’ items, and the Taj Mahal.
Mother of two avid Lego-loving daughters, Inna Boyd said, “As parents, we love Legos because it builds skills, creativity and patience. For more challenging sets, the girls have to focus and not give up when a step presents a challenge. After the sets are completed, they encourage imaginative play as they create scenes with sets and mini figures. When they work together, they use teamwork to help each other.”
Elizabeth, 14, and Alexis, 11, have been “Legoing” since preschool. They occasionally work on larger sets together, but usually work independently. Alexis says her most difficult was Lego Friends Amusement Park. It was one of the biggest sets she completed on her own. For Elizabeth, it was Lego Harry Potter’s Burrow, with many challenging steps. Elizabeth is looking forward to working on Avengers, and Alexis continues working on Lego Friends. They construct much larger sets as a family such as the Disney Cinderella Castle.
Inna muses, “The time it takes to complete the set depends on level of difficulty and size. For Elizabeth, that can mean between two and six hours, sometimes over two days for a larger set. Alexis will spend two days on a set taking breaks. Cost varies, $30 to $100 for individual sets, more for larger family sets. Sets are often given as birthday or Chanukah gifts.”
Alexis is fascinated with how the tiny bricks form a whole set. Elizabeth says her favorite is recreating Harry Potter set scenes from the movie.
After completion, the sets aren’t dismantled, but stored on shelves in the playroom for future play. They also “free build” with Legos not part of a set, creating their own designs and ideas.
Jordan Keilin, 12, started his Lego enthusiasm at 2. “At first my mother [Candice Keilin] helped me count studs to find the perfect piece placement and pay attention to the details. My first real Lego set was Harry Potter Hogwarts Castle (4,867 pieces) rated for ages 7 to 14. I finished it at 3.”
One of his most difficult was Pirates of the Caribbean Silent Mary. This was particularly complex because of its floating parts that needed to be pieced together. Jordan described, “It was a ghost ship so there wasn’t a structure holding it together.”
He likes Legos because the pieces are unique. He recently began Lego’s new The Beatles iconic portraits, which was a Chanukah gift. There are multiple mosaic pieces using tiny flat studs creating portraits of the rock stars.
Jordan concludes, “When I was younger, my family took me to Legoland in Florida and Phipps Mall Lego[land Discovery Center] which had great exhibits especially of cities. I’ve always liked the detail in moving pieces. The Lego Store in London was incredible with a life-sized underground tube shuttle and a two-story Big Ben. What I love about Lego is it doesn’t matter how old you are, seeing these life-size creations is impressive.”
Mother of sons Luca 14, Max 11, and Isaac 6, Ronni Molinari remarked, “Throughout the pandemic, Lego has been a great activity. We had previously collected a few complex sets: supercars, a pneumatic crane and the Stars Wars Millennium Falcon, which sat in storage. Stuck at home for spring break, Lego became the perfect activity. The dining room was transformed into a Lego workshop.”
Max selected a GT3 Porsche and sorted pieces onto plates and progressed independently through several instruction booklets. Isaac built a Lego technic monster truck with battery-operated tow hook. He sorted pieces and did smaller assemblies, which attached to the main unit.
Mom was pretty much the driving force to complete sets, but it was a special bonding activity for them. Luca has never much liked following instruction booklets and prefers a more freestyle approach. He pops in and out to see the progress.
Ronni explained, “After an outdoor-oriented summer, this fall, the Lego room returned as a refuge from Zoom classes and escaping the screen. Isaac, inspired by his brother’s Porsche, selected Bugatti Chiron, indicated for 16 [and older] and shocked us when he completed it with only an occasional parental fix. He also constructed a Lego Nintendo console and TV set. Max has been immersed in the Millennium Falcon, the largest Lego with 7,541 pieces. I’ll just keep working on finding shelf space to display the finished works.”
Lego projects that could enrich children’s view of the world include a 9,036-piece Roman Colosseum (a whooping $549) with detailed arches and tiers, Statue of Liberty, Trafalgar Square, Empire State Building, and the Golden Gate Bridge, just to name few.