Note: Beverly Burgess is a mum of two boys and the blogger behind family blog, “Beverly’s adventures." LEGO Singapore provided the toys she discusses in this story.
My two children go through the same process whenever they receive a new toy. Recently, however, they have discovered the world of LEGO, and it’s opened a whole new world for them. Abandoning most of their “kiddy toys”, they (and especially my older son) have now turned to getting busy with their fingers and prefer instead to “build nice things."
Yet, the LEGO box opening process is the same as with opening any other new toy. It always comes a full cycle, with lots of excitement and delight in between! Personally, it also gives me a chance to step back and watch how my sons explore and develop their own unique discovery process as they busy themselves fiddling with the bricks and getting their creative hats on so I’m all for it.
Do your kids go through this same 'toy life cycle' too?
1) Anticipation - When our sons receive a new (significant) toy, they aren't allowed to open it immediately. Rather, they have to wait until the weekend when we can open it together as a family. Until then, they spend hours clutching onto the box, rattling it, admiring the artwork on the front, and anticipating what will be inside once they open it. Oh, and begging/bargaining with me to open it every five minutes.
2) Ground Zero - Do you remember when you were a kid; that exact moment when you first opened the box? The sheer excitement, that overwhelming feeling of knowing you finally have that fabulous new toy in your hands to play with to your heart’s content! That’s what my kids are like when the LEGO box opens and all the bricks scatter onto the floor. There is a mad scramble to inspect, stroke and admire all the bricks. The LEGO bricks are all in their most basic form, which kids can pick up and manipulate with their hands and fingers to build up the necessary muscles used during writing and drawing.
3) Building on creativity - Possibly the most engaging, thrilling and time-consuming part for kids and adults alike. The process of forming something out of nothing with LEGO bricks is perfect for kids to learn about reading (they need to follow visual instructions from the booklet), patience (the best builders are those that do it carefully and methodically), exploration and dexterity (we are constantly amazed by how intricate the sets are: think moving parts, detachable pieces, and life-like detail!), and social interaction (when engaging with parents or another child to discuss what they’re building).
4) Mashups and storytelling - I’ve never known any child to keep all their LEGO sets autonomous. Kids take delight in either cross-playing fully formed LEGO objects, or pulling an element of one to join onto another to make their own creations. It's creativity and 3D modelling at its best - where a child can let their imagination run wild based on their own whims and fancies. My older son will weave intricate stories with his LEGO City sets, where the vehicles have elaborate conversations with each other and ‘help’ each other out.
5) Back to ground zero - After all the creative play, we break down all the LEGO bricks back to their individual elements. The kids learn how to sort them back into their boxes (a great way to learn or practice their colours and shape sorting), ready for play again the next day.