Tuesday, March 18, 2008

go Lego: teach my kid patience

I remember very few toys from my childhood. I played with baby dolls and stuffed animals and Lego. They didn't make Duplo or Quatro or Mega Blocks or any of the other variations that exist now. It was little Lego pieces that made a clinky noise when my mother vacuumed the shag rug by where we played. According to my mother, my sister got some when she was three. That means that I, the hunks-of-grass-from-the-lawn-eating-baby, must have had access to those tiny Lego blocks. And I suppose those that I didn't eat I must have used to build. My memories start much later when I made lots of houses and schools. Once a fancy airport, but usually rectangular buildings.

We've had Duplo and Mega Blocks around here for years. Pook was chewing on Duplo before his first birthday. His favorite (tasting) pieces were a small Duplo guy's torso and a piece with some mail on it. Bug came along and started using destroying the Duplo creations and Pook had to start hiding it. We kept Bug away from it as much as we could. He was only two when Pook received his first small piece Lego kit. While age five was maybe a little too young, Pook did get that first creation finished finally. It took a lot of sweat and tears (from both of us). In the past year Pook has done several more elaborate Lego sets and found them much easier. I'd say his sixth birthday would have been a better age than his fifth.

Bug didn't show much interest in building with it himself until recently. Now he wants to build a castle like Pook's set and build a Star Wars ship like Pook's and build a robot like Pook has and build a whatever like Pook has. The good thing is, he's using it and making great creative projects.

The bad thing is, Lego structures of all types break. Often. I've worked on the concept of "catching/covering the cracks" to strengthen things they've built. Pook has the concept pretty well down, but Bug is just starting to create and some of his items are just asking to be touched (or looked at wrong) so they can break. Worse yet, they're touched (or looked at wrong) by someone else (such as the brother) and they break. Often it brings on tears and the just-barely-broken-and-easily-repaired item is thrown across the room. I know this is the start of a meltdown as that loss of control causes great frustration.

However, one time I got to hear, "It's just a little destroyed. I can make it good as new. Oh no! Again! I can fix it but it was a really big one. But I can make a new one with these pieces."

Lego as frustration tolerance. Good stuff.

1 comment:

  1. "It's just a little destroyed." Awesome.

    I have also tried to teach my kids, "Now you can build another one." Since my kids were adopted at almost-three and almost-four, the idea that they'll be in our house to build with the Legos tomorrow is very valuable.