Let’s get one thing out of the way right now. I always have, and always will refer to little plastic bricks of Danish origin, as Legos. If that word gets your leather shorts in a bunch like it does everyone at LEGO headquarters, we probably can’t be friends. Are leather shorts in Denmark even a thing? Maybe that’s Germany. What’s Denmark? Clogs? Vikings??
Look, I’m all for some healthy nerd rage from time to time, but I’ll be in big trouble if I start a flame war on my very first post, so take that mess somewhere else. Here at OPA we play with Legos. Like it or lump it.
Legos are one of those toys that parents (especially new ones) are terrified of – and not just because they hide in your living room carpet preying on the barefooted.
When you have tiny people living in your house who willingly ingest things like cat hair and 3 year old petrified Cheez-Its from under the refrigerator, you can never be too careful. Brightly colored pieces of plastic that have seemingly been engineered to fit neatly inside a child’s windpipe? That’s enough to give even the most free-wheeling parent a moment of pause.
Are the kids really old enough for these things? Will they do something stupid like try and cram them into their ears, nose, mouth, eye sockets, etc?
About a year ago, we started pulling the Lego tubs out on special occasions. It went well enough that we even bought a few new sets. In the process, I discovered that playing with Legos was just as much fun as I remembered from my own childhood. Or at least it was until I had to include the kids. Then things got stressful in a hurry.
Never fear though; I survived, and so can you. By employing these 5 strategies, you’ll be slinging bricks like a master builder in no time.
1. Pacify them. Nothing sucks more than being 4 years old, opening a Lego box with a sweet space ship on the front, and instead finding 197 pieces of plastic in crinkly little bags – or from a 4yo’s point of view – NOT A SPACE SHIP. Act quickly here to avoid any potential meltdowns. Hand over the mini-figures, and while they go nuts arranging body parts into hilarious combinations, you’ll have a chance to dig out the instructions and get to work (you didn’t actually think they’d be helping did you?).
2. Watch the clock. Having small kids can be a bit like having the worst boss EVER; they’re moody, petty, unreasonable, and impatient. Your work is never to their liking and never done fast enough. Maybe to you it’s only been 15 minutes, but you’re on “tiny tyrant time” now sucker – which started as soon as they picked up the box at the store. Kids aren’t exactly known for their patience, and the minuscule amount they do have is currently wearing thinner than a square of gas station toilet paper. So build you fool!
3. Defend your turf. Especially from shifty toddlers with freakishly long rubber-band arms. Aggressively guard the perimeter of your chosen construction zone, or your bricks will disappear faster than you can say Piece of Resistance.
4. Distract. Distract. Distract. Having the help of a spouse or SO is helpful here. Do whatever it takes. Be ruthless. Be irresponsible. Sugary snacks, TV, iPad, faking your death – if it distracts from the fact that you still aren’t done building, DO IT! This is no time to think about nutrition or psychological trauma. You’re in the homestretch.
5. Let it go. When it’s finally complete, take a moment to admire your work, because in less than 60 seconds, bits of your blocky masterpiece will litter the floor of every room in the house. Be strong; such is the fate of all Lego creations.
All kidding aside, this dad firmly believes that building with Legos represents one of the most entertaining things you can do with your kids. Whether brand new or in a 20lb tub you scored at a yard sale (I hate you), break out the bricks and let your imaginations go wild. And when you’re done, head over to our Facebook page and share it with us!