Most parents swear by Legos, but it took me a while to appreciate their power.
Kit & Where To Buy: LEGO Jurassic World Raptor Rampage 75917 Building Kit
Time Needed: 3hrs/ 3 1 Hour Sessions
Age Range: all
As a youngster I took apart radios, TVs, and any other expensive digital devices I could find in the 80’s and 90’s.
Legos weren’t part of my playing arsenal so they never interested me until I became a father. Watching my kids get creative with Legos has inspired me to participate more in the building process. Plus it’s a great way to get your #PresenceOverPresents time together.
However; that doesn’t mean I want to sit there for a whole day building things. I love my kid’s creativity but I also love my sanity!
Here are a few tips I use to survive building a 400+ piece Lego set without hurting my kid’s feelings or ruining my day lol.
You Don’t Have To Finish A Full Set In One Sitting
When someone buys a Lego kit, they tend to buy the one with the most pieces since they look the coolest.
We all do it and its ok! What we forget is the time it will take to build this new set and the agony that may be associated with it.
Lego does a great job of separating the pieces by stages or packs. Use that to your advantage!
I aim to limit my sessions to an hour or 1-2 stages completed depending on the complexity of the project. That hour is all I can manage with my 4 year old but I do increase it for my 10 year old if needed.
I also try to turn it into a reward. For example my 4 year old can only build after he does his homework for the day, or helps out with the cleaning.
Whatever you have trouble having your kids do, turn this into a reward for it and stick to it.
Rewards are a parents secret weapon, have no shame in that!
Keeping Legos Organized
When you first rip open a bag of Legos, pieces are everywhere. It becomes a mess real quick and that’s why I try to work on one stage at a time.
I grab a Hefty storage bag, tape, and a sharpie for storage.
I label the zip lock bag with the proper stage and try to keep all the extra pieces plus instruction books inside its assigned zip lock.
That alone saves me tons of headaches and keeps the kids from getting distracted due to the mess.
When we complete the project, the kids can play with them for a few days if they want. Once they forget about the set and it always happens after a few days, I will break them down and place them in their zip lock bags for future use.
That pain of stepping on a Lego is real, this helps!
Not much you can do when you lose a piece of a set. You can buy a replacement piece but it won’t ship for days and it will cost you real money!
Or you can suck it up and replace it with another piece that may be a different color, or skip it.
Don’t let one piece stop you from having fun, move along, your set will be fine.
Written Instructions Don’t Always Tell You Everything
Just like IKEA, Lego does a great job with its instructions. However there are no words included so your kids will have to decipher some of the instructions using their visual skills.
This is where many parents get way too involved with the build out.
Remember who this is for, encourage your kids to look at the photos very carefully and make sure their set and the picture align.
You will be surprised at how well they do but it might take some time for them to notice a mistake.
You can help guide them depending on their age and time limit but don’t do the work for them. If you notice a small mistake, take the time to teach them about it. Let them move to the next instruction and see if they catch the mistake. Then help out and show them where the mistake took place.
Just like life, not all instructions are clearly written out; encourage them to figure it out and make mistakes. It’s all good!!!!
Put Down All Distractions
It is so easy to get distracted while your kids take their time to figure out what they are building.
Have no shame it happens to me way too many times, but I learned a way to stop it.
I turn everything off! The TV, the Iphone, the radio, everything is completely off!
I used to feel like I could snap a few photos, maybe engage a little on instagram while they build.
BIG BIG BIG MISTAKE!
Kids know when you are not paying attention and they will themselves get distracted with what you are doing.
If you stay focused they will stay focused. Cut the multitasking BS to a minimum. Cooking food might be my only exception!
Let Theirs and Your Imagination Run Wild
Letting your kids imagination run wild is fun, but when you start getting involved and let your imagination run wild ….
It took me a while to appreciate that part of the interaction.
I was too cool to act crazy and let my imagination run wild, but kids will change that.
Once they start imagining and telling stories around their set you can see how excited they really are. They become movie directors with their set so why not encourage it and get your own imagination involved.
I’m not saying you have to sit there and plan out a whole cops and robbers movie. Make it simple; add your own experiences to it.
You can grab your phone and take photos like you wanted to show people how much fun you had once you are done. You can have the kids stage the Legos for you and tell you a story on why they are setting them up like they do.
Reminisce a little; bring up stories from your childhood that are relatable. Set up the Legos with your favorite sneakers and have them tell a visual story like this.
Anything goes when your imagination runs wild; don’t be to grown to join your kids in the day dreaming! Remember your presence never has to be boring.
Have fun with it and be that dad kids brag about!