Monday, March 19, 2012

legos :: newly sorted

legos, newly sorted
I spent way longer than I had hoped sorting their Legos the other Saturday. Previously, these were all mixed together in one big tub, filled to the brim. I sorted them into 4 categories: basic bricks, wheels and axles, doors + windows + roof tiles, and "odd pieces." The odd pieces come from the special kits that they get from time to time (to build rockets or little Star Wars vignettes or what have you).

Immediately they had a burst of creative play with the newly sorted Legos. It is so much easier to see what they have now. They especially love the odd pieces and are surprisingly inventive with them. I love to see them make stuff. For that reason, I tend to disassemble their creations about every week or every few weeks. I find that once creations are done, they stop playing with them. The real fun is in the making and the figuring out. I break stuff down (after they have lost interest) and it spurs a burst of creativity once again.

legos, newly sorted
{"odd pieces" on the left :: basic bricks on the right}

legos, newly sorted


What about you? Do you tend to take apart toys like Legos, Zoobs, etc.? I have always done it this way. Hopefully none of the big kids are scarred for life!

By the way, I took the boys to Barnes and Noble yesterday and we saw this book. It's full of inspiration for what one could make-- no parts list or instructions--just what others have made, as a jumping off point. I think that is awesome.

17 comments:

Tammie said...

oooh such a timely post for me. i just came back from the museum of science and industry here in portland and they have an AMAZING exhibit by nathan sawaya, who creates these brilliant and intricate structures out of legos. heres his site:http://brickartist.com/

peacework designs said...

i'd LOVE to see how long your neat sorting arrangement will last!! i've tried to sort my children's legos to no avail. my boys are now 15 and 13 and they're still enraptured by legos. i can't believe the things that they come up with now that they are older. and i let them sort their own. which basically means there are tons of little lego piles all over their room (and the garage which is their alternate play area) which make absolutely no sense to me, but they know where EVERY SINGLE TEENY WEENY piece is!

Chris said...

the sorted legos look so beautiful. my son has his own sorting mechanism. i had him try using a flat tool-sorting box and going by colors or shapes, but that didn't last long. so now we are back to one big box under the bed with 'special legos currently being used' (last night there was a mini-fig fashion show of sorts.) in a separate container and creations get displayed for a week or so before i sneak them back into the big box.

Dee said...

I love your lego sorting. I dream of organisation like this for lego! Every time they get it out I find myself making little bundles of each colour. We have the lego sorter head, which is actually a bit of a pain and very noisy to use, but it sorts the lego into three trays, tiny, medium and big pieces. Lego is the best toy ever.

Rose said...

We haven't sorted our legos yet, but keep wanting to "sieve" out the small pieces like lights because they get lost at the bottom of the box. I also force them to take apart their creations, once every month or two. Have you seen Sean Kenney's books? My kids love this one especially: Cool Cars and Trucks. But there's a robot one and a city one as well.

ellie said...

My kids keep theirs in the original box -- or a plastic lidded storage tote -- with the instructions. Same with playmobil. It would be a living nightmare for them to have them all jumbled together!

Marsha said...

I organized my son's lego in much the same way. We just received our copy of the Lego Idea book today from Scholastics. I like the bins and wooden cabinet thing that you used to store the lego. would you mind sharing where you got it?

Sarah said...

Maybe we're a bit on the OCD side here, but we keep it all in it's original box, or in a small plastic container with the same parts, box top (picture) and directions. My oldest doesn't like to mix things, at all. My youngest seems to be a little more free flowing in his creative adventures and your system would probably work perfectly for him. Also, we never take apart toys as once they're built the boys play with them that way for a long time, when they're done they will break them apart and start over.
I've been meaning to ask you though how do you determine when they're "done" with a toy as in outgrown it. I still have all the wooden Thomas the Train toys and they seem done, but I'd hate to move it out right when they want it again. Suggestions?

Inger-The Brick Life said...

Great post, thanks for sharing your Lego storage method. Lego is one of those toys that is such a pleasure to see kids play with but requires serious effort to manage it in the house- I think it is worth it though.
We've been through a number of phases with sorting our son's Lego.
http://www.thebricklife.com/lego-storage-the-best-practical-solutions/
It does depend on the individual child through. Best to choose a system that they like and can manage (with help) otherwise it will be you doing all the sorting.
:-)
Cheers
Inger

Jenna said...

zYup, I used to sort them like that too when they were younger. But my sweet boys LOVED dumping much more than picking through and finding what they needed so that system didn't work for long. Finally, sick of stepping on them in the playroom/living room, I told them they could only be played with in their own rooms. I divded them up and each boy got their own stash in a big long bin that slid out of sight under the bed. They are 11 and 12 1/2 and still going strong with Lego! :)

Kika@embracingimperfection said...

I'm not allowed near my son's lego:) He is almost 16!!! I never had to sort it - he took care of all that. Mostly I had to buy him mroe shelves to display all his creations. He is unwilling to part with his lego so I'm having to buy yet more for my six year old daughter.

saraelise said...

Thank you, Mary Beth!! What a fantastic idea and just the inspiration I need! xo

Tam said...

I have four boys, ages 7, 5, 2 and 11 months. For my sanity's sake, the legos all go into one big bin. If they want to keep a kit all in one piece then it goes up on a shelf. I've recently discovered though that every time the big guys want to build the first thing they do is dump the bin. I am planning to relocate all of the legos to the oldest boys' room and make a lego table from Ikea table parts that we saw online. Then I plan to close the door and never walk in their room again without shoes.

Mary Beth said...

Marsha--our toy cabinets are from Ikea. They're in the children's section. Classic! We love them.

Mary Beth said...

Sarah--I struggle with this too. Basically I'm planning to save and store all the big-ticket wooden toys for the future grandchildren I hope to have. Otherwise, if it's not something we are super attached to, then I donate them when the children have clearly outgrown them (are not playing with them anymore). We try to keep the amounts to a somewhat reasonable level.

Jill said...

I never sort the Lego - other than keeping duplo in one box, Harry potter Lego in one, Belville Lego in a third and regular Lego in a fourth. Ok, I guess that's sorting! Definitely nothing more fine-grained than that. We also take creations apart the same evening they were built, unless kids are VERY adamant they want to keep them (happens more when they're older) - in my opinion, the point of Lego is free building and they figure it out just fine without sorting.

One trick I learnt from the little ones preschool is pouring the whole in out on a blanket or mat on the floor or table. That way you can very easily pour all the pieces back from the mat to the bin when play is done. Otherwise picking up all those individual pieces can be a bit of a pain...

Jill said...

I never sort the Lego - other than keeping duplo in one box, Harry potter Lego in one, Belville Lego in a third and regular Lego in a fourth. Ok, I guess that's sorting! Definitely nothing more fine-grained than that. We also take creations apart the same evening they were built, unless kids are VERY adamant they want to keep them (happens more when they're older) - in my opinion, the point of Lego is free building and they figure it out just fine without sorting.

One trick I learnt from the little ones preschool is pouring the whole in out on a blanket or mat on the floor or table. That way you can very easily pour all the pieces back from the mat to the bin when play is done. Otherwise picking up all those individual pieces can be a bit of a pain...