The Lego Group just had its best year ever and there are a couple of reasons why the privately held Danish company is riding high. Diversification was key: movies, television, video games, backpacks and clothes all feature those little Lego minifigures, usually striking poses they could never manage in real life.
The other reason is licensing. From Star Wars to Spider-Man if there’s a franchise full of ships and interesting looking characters you better believe that Lego has that license and is going to milk it for all its worth. Just take any old intellectual property and put “Lego” in front of it and you’ve got a spinoff brand fit for shirts and sets alike.
Soon the Boonslick Regional Library is set to begin hosting a Lego club on the first of each month starting in April. “This unique program encourages children of all ages to use their imagination to build with LEGO’s on a theme,” the Boonslick website states.
I can just see it now: a whale for Moby Dick, a Don Quixote windmill, a treasure chest for Treasure Island. All right, so maybe there won’t be so many builds based on classic novels but no matter how they make the day’s project library-relevant there is no end to the things that can be done with little plastic bricks.
When I was a kid I loved Lego and judging by their recent sales numbers modern day children love it too. They all have their reasons but my top reason was because of the serious crossover potential. Imagine if all of the world’s action figure producers came together and decided to standardize the size of their figures for the sake of consistency and to encourage crossover play. Imagine if the companies that made ships, fortresses and monsters all decided to adhere to this standard as well so just about everything on the shelf could be used together.
Lego has done this all under one roof: Ghostbusters, Doctor Who, The Simpsons, Minecraft and Back to the Future are just some of the franchises and brands that have recently been added to the Lego family. And best of all, these ships and scenes can be disassembled into their most basic components and rearranged into just about anything.
Through these construction toys we afford our children the opportunity to create. For some, it’s the first opportunity they get to really, physically create something. There are no wrong moves when it comes to creating with plastic bricks, because any mistakes can be quickly rectified. They learn there might be setbacks but sometimes you need to make a series of wrong decisions in order to reach the right conclusion.
In the future they will create with clay, molten plastic, papers and pencils and even computer screens. In the future they will fondly recall that time they made a duck train, or a bright red-and-yellow house.
There’s a pile of bricks here. You can build anything. You could use the instructions and build the thing on the box just as intended, but there are no Lego rules so maybe you should take the pieces from that X-Wing and use them to build an amazing mecca.
Maybe you should look into exactly what kind of fun classes and clubs are being offered at your local library – there might just be something for you, or at least your kids.
Travis McMullen is a longtime Sedalia resident who shares his views on the city through his weekly Democrat column.