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Imagining a LEGOverse

August 13, 2014

I have a LEGO-obsessed firstborn.

My five-year-old loves LEGO. He’s loved it since the days of playing with the Quadro and Duplo. He loves the smaller bricks even more now with the endless possibilities of building and rebuilding, creating and recreating.

Every morning when he wakes, he heads to his LEGO tub, pulls some bricks out along with a troop of minifigures and enters a realm of imagination that is nothing but fascinating. He makes up stories, invents characters and builds systems and machines. I have to say we’ve indeed indulged him with a little too much of a good thing by buying him close to a hundred minifig blind packs, which also means we get frequent entertainment featuring hilarious characters and story lines.

Like robots in Viking garb on surfboards and strange men in helmets wearing animal costumes. And rock stars on ice skates wearing wigs, riding dragons and flying planes.

Too funny for words, it often is.

Recently, Ben got to take home this from LEGO, which got him really excited. He’s not yet near ‘8-14’, as was the suggested age range, and figured he might need lots of help to make sense of the instructions and piecing the parts together, so he got his father (who loves LEGO too and was the one who started the Kao kids on it) to promise to be his help and guide during construction.

And to walk out of the office holding this - was awesome cool for the big LEGO fan!

And to walk out of the office holding this – was awesome cool for the big LEGO fan!

Despite being really thrilled, the boy waited very patiently for weeks for his busy father to carve time out to build the given set with him. Fatherkao promised to build the Eris Fire Eagle Flyer with him as part of their ‘Special Time’ together, and because he promised, Ben patiently waited.

So what did he do while waiting? He admired the box daily (which he proudly displayed on his desk and declared ‘Hands Off, It’s Mine’ to his siblings) and went on to create supporting storylines as part of his daily LEGO routine based on that one image he has from the box through imaginative play with his loose set of bricks and lots of role-playing with his siblings.

This boy actually knew nothing about The Legends of Chima, and the various warring animal tribes. He saw a wolf, a bear and an eagle from the picture on the box and went on make up stories of conflict and peace featuring the eternal, universal theme of good versus evil. It was quite entertaining to hear him weave stories around animals, with Wolf being the baddie on some days but the good guy on one or two occasions, and Eagle as the hero that would save others from their distress.

Last night, he finally pieced the Eris Fire Eagle Flyer with his father, following the instructions page by page, interlocking and stacking brick by brick.

Here’s looking at the construction from start to finish, from Ben’s eyes:

Yay, 'Special Time' at last!

Yay, ‘Special Time’ at last!

LEGO Building Time_6

Box’s opened, and packs are taken out and sorted first

Look at the instruction booklet and start with the building - part by part

Dada says look at the instruction booklet and let’s start building – part by part

Sort...Make space...

Ready? Sort…Make space…And go!

...And build!

I’m a Master Builder, everything’s awesome!

Click, click, click

Click, click, click!

Little hands need bigger hands for precision and sliding parts in...

I need bigger hands for precision and sliding parts in

Dada, I'll try to make as many parts on my own, says Ben

But I’ll try to make and fix as many smaller parts as I can

Is it night already: the boys needed better lighting for the finishing touches, so construction was shifted to the living room. Initially they were in the bedroom so the littlest hands could be kept away, and father and son could get time alone together

It’s night already? Better lighting is needed for the finishing touches, so we need to construct in the living room. (They were in the bedroom before this so the littlest hands could be kept away, and father and son could get time alone together.)

And let's hear it for the big boys with a collective WOW now

We’ve finished!

Built by big and little hands, my dad and I!

Built by big and little hands, my dad and I!

Post-construction, I was so glad my son didn’t declare he needed the parts glued together or displayed as a trophy. He was protective of it, yes he was, but that was because he was preparing to spend a whole lot of time “imagining everything” in Chima all by himself.

And so it began: the grunting, talking and ‘boy noises’ with that Eagle Flyer. He even roped his little brother in for the action.

Can you hear them? It’s Beeesh… Chebaaaabooom… Weeeee…. Oooooohhh…. Baaaaahh… in case you can’t figure it out.

Absorbed in LEGOverse

Absorbed in LEGOverse

I’m pretty sure I am not the only mom whose children have created an entire universe of LEGO play, making up stories, creating characters and building machines along the way. A lot of imagining goes into inventing that LEGOverse where nothing is stagnant, and even more dexterity and hand-eye coordination goes into bringing everything in that universe to life.

What I always knew was that a box of LEGO bricks would take my children into the realm of informal learning through play, and by that I’ve always only thought it to be developing their creativity and fine motor skills. What I didn’t realise (but eventually did after watching father and son build something together) was that beyond informal learning through play, a set of LEGO bricks could also promote role modelling and bonding, instill patience and encourage focus. It also taught my son to visualise and gave him a huge sense of achievement to be making something so massive from nothing.

And then invite him to play and imagine some more.

***

This post originally appeared here on https://sg.news.yahoo.com/imagining-a-legoverse-055034243.html.

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