Thursday, November 02, 2006


The Lego mystique

A couple of weeks ago, Kerry called me up and asked if the boys would be interested in inheriting some of the Lego she and her brother had when they were kids. Her parents are moving and got tired of storing it in their basement. (I wish my parents had kept more of our childhood toys - I could pay for the boys' college educations by selling some of the stuff we had in the 1970s and 1980s that has since become collectors items.) Of course I said yes, and shortly thereafter Kerry showed up at the house with two huge bins of vintage 80s Lego bits, mostly comprising the cool space sets with the micro-tiny pieces.

The boys LOVED it! They had been playing with the duplo blocks for a while, especially (of course) the Thomas the Tank Engine sets, and Simon has recently re-discovered the joy of towers with MegaBlocks, so I had an idea they'd enjoy the Lego, but even I was surprised how much they loved it. Tristan liked the building, and Simon liked the little figures.

I'm thinking of all this today because there have been a couple of stories in the news lately about Lego. There were reports of a Lego shortage in Europe, but the Citizen reassured readers this morning that there will be plenty of the popular toy available in North America this Christmas. And then there was another story about a 34 year old Ottawa resident and member of the Adult Fans of Lego club (snicker) who owns a quarter million pieces of Lego with an approximate value of $27,000. And then, of course, there's the uber-cool Lego Factory, where you can design your own creation and then custom order the right bricks to build it.

All this to say that Lego must be number one on the list of universally-loved toys. I don't know anybody who didn't play with it as a kid - nor do I know many grown-ups who can resist joining in when a bucket gets dumped on the floor. What else would be on your list of universally appealing toys? Bubbles and marbles definitely have a place of honour. Crayons, markers and sidewalk chalk? What else?