It has taken us almost 8 years of lego-crazed kids but we've finally done what many deem impossible. We store it well. And the way we store it allows our kids play with it in 3 different ways. So how do we do it?
SOLUTION 1 : THE LEGO PIT
This was born after becoming addicted to the Lego Masters show aired last year - our very own Brick Pit! Made from a large IKEA plastic tub, filled with the bottoms of a stack of milk containers. In order to create this masterpiece with haste I grabbed a stack of used 2L milk bottles from our local cafe. After trimming and cleaning them I was delighted to find that they all fit snugly inside the clear tub even with it's lid on. This is handy if there's babies lurking or lego privileges are stripped away!
As far as ordering these containers go - each box is sorted by either colour, function, or shape. We've drawn small pictures on the top of each container representing its contents which helps the kids easily identify the containers from an angle. I won't reel off the categories of our individual tubs here as they're unique to us. Every home will differ. But I will say that these categories came about with full input from the kids. The kids have surprised me with their maintenance of this system, and I hunch that it's because they have ownership! If you're thinking of starting a Lego Pit in your home I would suggest you proceed in a similar way.
It is amazing how our 'Lego Pit' sees the kids play with lego in such different, creative ways! 20 lego legs connected together becomes archways, Technic lego has been renewed and stretched, and we can find items easily for online lego builds (like this SNOT ball). Overall I would say that because of this system they have a greater capacity to channel 'Outcome Driven' creativity - where they imagine something and bring it to fruition.
SOLUTION 2: THE LEGO TUB
Beside our 'Lego Pit' is another smaller perspex box housing free creative builds that are finished with, or loose pieces that have been left out when playing with lego from the 'Lego Pit'. It's sort of the unofficial storehouse of lego waiting to be sorted into the 'Lego Pit'. This takes the pressure off needing to be on the kids backs to resort their lego after every use. We do however watch that it doesn't grow beyond its capacity and as its looking close we'll hold a family 'sorting session'. This often becomes a bit of fun bonding time.
This Lego Tub also encourages another type of creative play : being creative in a 'Process Driven' way. That is, getting lost in creativity as you pick up a piece and fit it together with the next piece you pick up discovering what you're building fully as you go.
SOLUTION 3: THE LEGO BAGS
Hiding up in an adult only access spot is a box filled with lego sets - each housed in a snapback bag along with instructions. These are pulled out one at a time. The kids are welcome to build them as often as they like, but can only have one active set out at a time. Unfortunately our current home doesn't have space for a display zone out of reach - if we did, I imagine we'd use it in a similar way to our box.
Whenever the kids build a set, they empty the pieces into a large lasagne dish and build it at the dining table. This helps stop pieces going rogue and walking around the house!
This more traditional method of lego play is important for following instructions and finding satisfaction in doing it 'right'. This type of lego building particularly strengthens maths skills because there is a 'right' at the end of it external to the user's desires.
It's incredible how storing something 3 different ways helps engage kids in different types of play! I'd love to hear about your experiences of storing lego - what has worked for you?
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