Watching my 4 1/2 year become completely absorbed in his LEGOs is one of those moments in parenthood when I think that maybe his dad and I have actually done something right. I am a teacher. So to see him independently designs rocket ships and cars and trains and houses out of a series of multi-colored blocks makes me feel incredibly proud of him. Even better is the complete joy that he gets out of his creations. He literally woke me up at 6:25 a.m., LEGO contraption in hand, saying, "Mommy, mommy, look what I made." At night he, his brother and I sit quietly in his room, working together to make a LEGO village, a city, a farm.
One of my key memories as a child was playing LEGOs with my younger brother. Like my own son, my brother was incredibly talented and passionate about his LEGOs. And in fact, my children still use my brother's set, now over 30 years old.
The original LEGOs embody the best of a toy. They are incredibly durable. They can be used by any child old enough to know not to eat them. They can be used in 100s of ways. And they cross between fantasy play and art and architecture and back again.
LEGOs have evolved dramatically since I was a child. Michael Chabon wrote a fabulous piece about this in his book, Manhood for Amateurs. So far I have been able to steer my own son away from the LEGO-marketing packets such as those for Toy Story, Harry Potter and Thomas and Friends. But I secretly can't wait for the days when he wants to attempt their new architecture series and recreate Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater or the Guggenheim Museum. The prices have rise just as dramatically, creating an incredibly high demand on Craigslist. I appreciate each friend who has been kind enough to give us a few pieces, helping us to start to create our own set.
When I saw that the LEGO KidsFest was coming to Boston this weekend, my first thought was that I had to take my boys. It is essentially a huge LEGO party, featuring areas to create LEGO creations, to check out other people's LEGO masterworks and to meet LEGO "Master Builders". And although the thought of steering them through the crowds at the Hynes Convention Center is overwhelming, it sounds far easier (and cheaper!) than taking an airplane to the closest Legoland in San Diego, California or trying to save for the new Lego park at Atlantis in the Bahamas. (Not that I would pass on either trip!)
Needless to say, we will be able to attend the LEGO KidsFest here in Boston, thanks to the fact that the LEGO KidsFest is kindly giving me and my sons tickets to see the event for ourselves. Except for a trial show in Hartford, Connecticut last year, this is the first show of a national tour. Based on feedback from the Hartford experience the tickets are timed and limited so that people have as much of an opportunity as possible to enjoy the activities.
And we are so excited: To build LEGO creations; to see LEGO sculptures; to meet Master Builders, to just play.
I will share more after we attend the event on Saturday. (The event continues on Sunday, too.) Until then my kids and I are getting our cameras ready, packing our lunch, and thinking about all we can create.