By Alan Viau
There are only a handful of toys that were around when I was a kid and that my kids and today’s kids still enjoy. One toy is a product that has won “Toy of the Century” honours twice – LEGO.
The LEGO brick as it currently exists was first sold the same year I was born, 1958. I spent many hours building all sorts of things with LEGO as a kid. It was really exciting when wheels were introduced because I could make cars and trucks.
Once I married and had kids, there was no question about the toy I would ensure my kids could enjoy. LEGO was always a favorite at Christmastime for them. My wife and I were adamant that we didn’t want to give them toys that needed batteries. That’s because we didn’t want to limit their imaginations (and we didn’t want the noise or expense of batteries either).
The popularity of LEGO never seems to diminish. I was amazed to learn that in 2012, over 45 BILLION bricks were produced by LEGO. That is enough bricks to circle the globe, end-to-end, 18 times. LEGO also had 4.6 million people in its LEGO Club and 3.4 million Facebook likes.
The universal appeal of LEGO is evident on several levels. In raising our kids, I felt that free play was important in helping them develop imagination and creativity. With LEGO they could explore, improvise and discover. LEGO encouraged them in playing together.
LEGO has also evolved since my time. When my kids were little, LEGO introduced themed kits such as LEGOLAND Space. Now there are 32 different themes that appeal to contemporary kids, including DC Universe, Avengers Super Heroes and this year’s popular CHIMA The Lion CHI Temple, Friends Heartlake High and Galaxy Squad Hive Crawler. There are enough themes to appeal to any imagination. In fact, LEGO MINDSTORM EV3 actually incorporates programmable robotics!
But I believe LEGO is just plain fun. It is a thrill to see kids together, creating adventures with joyful enthusiasm.
Even as my kids have grown up and become adults, we’ve never disposed of one piece of LEGO. All the bricks are stored in a big tote. As we prepare to make our trek down to Toronto to celebrate the holidays together, I am making room for the LEGO filled tote. We’ll have fun being creative together at Christmas, and bringing some playfulness and imagination into our shared time.
Photos Used by permission,© 2012 The LEGO Group