You've probably seen this before, in it this clever little girl presents a logically and succinct argument against segmenting "girls" and "boys" toys.
I love it. I love her fury and her indignation and her ability to sum it up so passionately.
I was reminded of her today when my daughter was losing her cool with a Lego kit.
Tears of frustration started rolling down her cheeks almost as soon as she started. She struggled to decipher the instructions. What began as an innocent, well meaning activity quickly turned sour. The process began to stress her out and chip away at her self esteem. I decided that she needed to step away from the Lego kit. The Lego kit (a tiny lobster) could wait, mayby indefinitely.
As she calmed down, I started to hear what she was saying. Lego kits that force you to follow instructions are not fun for everyone. I'm sure they're great for some kids, but they are really frustrating for others.
I told her about how when I was a kid, it was all about creating stuff out of your head with Legos, sans instructions-hospitals (were my personal favourite), schools, prisons, castles, and beyond. She murmured that that was what she wanted to do.
Now, kids are not sold on what they can create with Lego, but with what can be replicated from the packaging. I'm sure lots of Lego still gets sold, but in order to keep demand for Lego high, the kits present ever increasing options for consumers, often tied in with movies and cartoon characters. This is probably great for business, but not necessarily for burgeoning imaginations and for enabling endless playing opportunities.
The last three kits that came home were constructed by me or by my husband, so that my kids could "play" with the end product. Just like the little girl's dignified rant about the unfairnes of gendered toy aisles, daughter's full head of steam against Lego kits orginates from a sense of unfairness that she can't just play with it like she wants to. How she plays with it has already been decided for her. I say we call Lego what it is: a puzzle making company. As puzzles go, they are incredibly awesome. We can be at peace with that.
I love this guy's take on Legos with instructions. He relates his horror upon hearing of his friend and her daughter gluing together a completed kit. It reminds me of how my uncle had a puzzle he had completed mounted and framed.
What do you like to make when you play with Legos?