I remember getting my first set of Legos as a kid and they were simple. Not that using them is any more difficult today, but the possibilities have become almost infinite. I had an opportunity to see firsthand what has become of this children’s toy — and it is amazing.
A little background for you before we go too far.
Through very fortuitous circumstances, my 12-year old son and I were invited to attend the Lego Kidsfest in Charlotte this past weekend, and Julie, thank you for that. It was awesome.
My son is an avid fan of Legos and has been his entire life, which sounds longer than it has actually been, but when given the chance to go, he jumped at it and talked about it for two weeks with the unbelievable fervor and zeal only a kid can muster.
If I was able to ratchet up that kind of enthusiasm about anything at this point in my life I would suggest you take me in for an evaluation and be prepared to visit me on Sunday afternoons. Don’t misunderstand, it’s great he still gets that excited and I love it, I truly do, because it reminds me of what it is like to be a kid where everything has limitless possibilities and the world is full of magic. His enthusiasm serves to rekindle my own.
But I digress, back to the engineering genius of Legos.
Now, my experience over the last 15 or so years with Legos has been the times I have crawled into the floor or sat at a table to work them with both of my boys. Those were great times and it isn’t the Legos I remember but the moments.
My most latent memories of Legos themselves is more along the lines of subdural hematomas in the bottom of my feet, usually at some unseemly hour in the morning when the use of indoor lighting is discouraged, as are the yells of outrage laced with the appropriate inappropriate words.
If you are a parent, you know exactly what I am talking about.
As a matter of fact, I would go so far as to say Legos may have caused the loss of salvation for more parents than any other toy, but when you see what can be done with them these days, well, you may decide they are much cooler than you thought.
The event was held at a convention center in the Queen City, and from the moment you entered the venue there were spectacles everywhere.
The Model Museum alone would have been worth the price of admission as Lego statues, all life sized or bigger, of Superman, The Hulk, Iron Man, various characters of Star Wars fame, animals, and even Lightning McQueen were on display.
The sheer number of blocks included in each was overwhelming, not to mention the time and patience it must have taken to construct each beginning with the original concept to design to implementation.
What used to be a box of various sized blocks with the imagination the only blueprint available has now become an engineering marvel, designed by engineers and executed by engineers, all for the entertainment of our kids. And I say kids, including girls as well, as Lego has discovered if you color them pink and purple, the girls love them too. But, the concepts involved in the design of buildings is the same concept used in the new Lego repertoire.
These sets produced today are scaled down engineering feats that are then presented in instruction booklets with no words, only pictures, and the design is so flawless it’s almost impossible to not learn, even when you don’t think you are.
It’s possible to build replicas of monuments, The White House, other famous buildings, pieces from films, vehicles, aeronautic designs, and the list goes on and on. Playing with Legos has become a science and an art and may be one of the easiest ways to expose kids to engineering without intimidating them with the heavy math associated, which is a good thing.
Having said that, I will be the first to admit, I did get in there and build some things, not only because I was spending time with people I care very much about, but because it was good to be reminded of what being a kid is like. As for how much I was impressed with the skill now associated with them, all I can say is bravo!
But being impressed doesn’t help that bone bruise, now does it?
D. C. Moody is a staff writer for The Easley Progress, The Pickens Sentinel and Powdersville Post and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not represent the newspaper’s opinion.