Decline in imagination as number of lego figures rise?

Normally, I’m not a big fan of plastic toys as they tend to be designed with a particular purpose in my mind which seems to stifle rather than expand the imagination.  Lego is different though.  Not only does it develop fine motor skills but each brick is filled with endless possibilities.  It can be part of a rocket, a car, a castle or even a dog!

Yesterday my husband showed me an article which predicts that by 2016 lego figures will outnumber humans.  If scientists at the University of Virginia are correct, there could be 8 billions lego figures on the planet in 6 years time. 

Our house is full of lego.  And I mean full.  My husband has perhaps more lego than Jasper but as I’ve said already, I think it is fantastic.  Don’t get me wrong, I complain when pieces are sucked into my hoover or a brick slides up underneath my big toe nail but in an age when we are surrounding with technology and cheap plastic which seems to be used as a baby-sitter rather than to engage our children, I think it is great that we are embracing the more traditional toys.

However, I have this morning read a lot of comments on several articles about the increase in the lego figure population.  Hardly any of them seem to talk about the value of lego, building bricks etc as toys to develop the imagination together with thinking and problem skills.  Instead, I have seen comments from people determined to collect them all and display them in little cabinets; people who said they might get rid of all their bricks and models they have built in favour of these collectible items. 

Now, I’m not against collecting things.  Of course, I’m not.  What better way to develop patience, self-amusement and to learn the value of things?  But what I am against, in a world where everything has to be a gadget, is that lego instead of being filled with excitement, narrative and expansion of the soul, will become hidden behind a class shelf whilst we continue to play with our tablets.

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6 responses to “Decline in imagination as number of lego figures rise?

  1. We, too, love lego. We particularly love the Lego Friends models, as they add to our ‘pink’ bricks – wish it was around when I was a child! However, we build the models once… and then never use the instructions again. My twosome don’t even keep the figures in their original configurations – the hair, hats and legs get swapped over. So, personally, I think the more the merrier – where lego is concerned – and doubt that my family will be stocking up on display cabinets, anytime soon! x

    • Sounds just like our house! Our lego figures and definitely a mismatch of every single one we own and like you, I think that’s all part of the fun and joy of lego. The pink bricks are fab aren’t they – I’ve just bought my friend’s daughter (she loves the Olivia sets) some of them for Christmas; I was a very pink-loving child and would have loved them. Jasper has seen the box for his friend and was looking quite enamoured with it so you never know, I may still get my chance to have some pink lego!

  2. I’m ready to ramble again! My youngest absolutely loved lego figures from about 5 to 10, mostly superhero’s and star wars. He would sit in a little corner and quietly act out stories with them for hours. He didn’t have every character so he’d improvise by changing hair/heads etc. I think they helped his imagination rather that stifling it. He’s now studying performing arts and want to be an actor so maybe it was just training for that!
    So no matter how many times I cursed when the hoover sucked up Anakin Skywalkers hand I have to say lego is a great toy!

    • Lego is brilliant, isn’t it? Such a great toy for developing the imagination – you can build anything, create worlds and characters – then dismantle them and start again. So many possibilities! My Jasper does exactly the same thing as your youngest; improvising and acting out stories. Our conservatory has been renamed ‘The Lego room’ and as much as I complain that I would rather it was a haven of peace and tranquility for me to sit with a glass of wine and a book, I wouldn’t have it any other way!

      • Forgot to mention in my reply- when I talked about lego figures stifling imagination in the post, I certainly didn’t mean when they are played with as I believe lego should be played with – in exactly the way you described your son as playing with them, switching heads, hats and body parts to create different characters. My worry is that if the figures become viewed as simply collectibles, then we will lose the magic of such a versatile toy!

      • I now picture you sitting in a comfy chair, in the middle of a room completely surrounded by lego. (with your wine and book) Of course you are wearing slippers as we all know what it’s like to stand on lego with bare feet!

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