Remember when LEGOS came in a big bucket of generic bricks? Instead of Star Wars, LOTR or Pirates you just had basic shapes in a small palette of colors. There were no instructions or guides, you had to use your imagination to build things. Many of you probably built eccentrically detailed “houses”, complete with a giant tower. Some of you may have constructed mechanical monstrosities that defied physics, though you referred to them simply as rocket-propelled cars. A small percentage of LEGO builders went on to build beautiful renditions of their favorite structures or vehicles. We didn’t have step-by-step manuals or how-to-books needed to build a fire truck or helicopter.
Nowadays, many of your children (and us adults) use elaborately detailed manuals to put together scenes from fantasy and sci-fi popular culture. Not much imagination involved, but still lots of fun to be had. The unfortunate calamity is the price that is incurred by purchasing all these expensive sets. Your kids will build it once, then tear it down for easier storage or because it never gets old playing “Godzilla destroys everything”. No one wants to spend two hours building the same thing again, so the LEGOS get all mixed up in a giant plastic container. Now what?
Here’s the good news, if your child grows bored of just building random leaning towers of Pisa then you need to order No Starch Press’s new book, The LEGO Build-It Book Amazing Vehicles. It’s a new series aimed at people who love to build things with various pieces they’ve already accumulated. The book contains ten “non-official LEGO” designs orchestrated by Nathanael Kuipers, who used to work as a product developer for the Danish toy company. Our review copy is fantastic. The guide is seriously high quality with simple easy to follow instructions. The illustrations clearly depict which pieces you’ll need and where they should be attached. Plus, the price tag is a lot cheaper than most single sets from LEGO.
Personally, I think it is a great idea that leans more toward frugality versus purchasing new official kits every few months. Who has money for that in this economy? I don’t think the book should substitute the abstract creativity of just playing with the pieces, but rather it can open your child’s mind to a whole new world of possibilities. This encourages the exact fundamentals that we were taught as kids when handed that giant bucket of plastic snap-together pieces.
Fortunately, No Start Press promises more volumes through the year. You can purchase vol. 1 directly from their site.