The Kragle kills dreams! (Stop gluing Lego together!)

gluing lego toys together kragl cragle kragel cragl cragelLEGO MOVIE SPOILER ALERT! The Lego movie features a terrifying menace called ‘the Kragle’ (or as we might know it ‘krazy glue’), which President/Lord Business intends to use to glue all the people, things, and places in the lego world together, so that they’ll never be able to be anything different. Hopefully, for the majority of people, the notion of gluing Lego pieces together will sound insane or at least abhorrent but I’m sorry to report that it isn’t just an idea cooked up by the writers of the Lego movie. The Kragle is real! There really are parents in this world who super-glue Lego pieces together. I’ve met them and they don’t even realise that they’re doing anything wrong.

a picture of a packet of glueI’m sad to say that on more than one occasion I’ve had a customer in the shop who buys a lego set and then, as if it’s the most ordinary thing in the world, says “Oh yeh, better not forget, can I have a tube of super-glue as well, I don’t want to have to build this twice.” Inside my head all you can hear are screams, as I ring the glue up it feels like a small part of me dies. Luckily this has happened perhaps four times in the eight or so years that I’ve worked at Fun Junction but to be honest this is four times too many. This madness has to stop!

Lego kits, of course, come with instructions and the vast majority of kids want to open the box and build what they see in the picture. However, I would estimate that maybe 5% of the time I spent playing with Lego as a kid consisted of following the instructions. Once you’ve built your model and the novelty of the pictured toy wears off you break it up and build something else. I know I’m not alone here, that’s what my friends did and it’s what Logan does with his Lego now. Of course it’s great to have a space station to play with but how much more awesome is it when it gets overrun with pirates and sharks and they add their own touches?

weaponised ice cream truck legoThere are countless ways to stimulate creativity in children, Lego is arguably just a small part of that but it’s also one of the simplest forms of expression to master. For some kids Lego is the means by which they gain control of their world, it allows them to test out ideas and play around with concepts without first having to acquire a skill like drawing or writing. For me it was my first venture into unbounded creativity, I was too young for my writing or my drawing ability to be able to fully express the ideas I was trying to get out. Those little blocks helped me to make something that lived only inside my head into something I could see, touch, and importantly play with.

Raphael Lego figure teenage mutant ninja hero turtles

Turtle lair available from fun junction

hulk avengers legoWhen you glue Lego pieces together you are tying your child’s hands, you’re closing off a form of expression that could let you see inside their head and get a glimpse at the way their mind works at an age where even their words might not be able to show you these kinds of things. Please, I beg you, put the glue away. Initially your child might get upset that their scene from the Hobbit is in pieces but given time they may decide to make a Hobbit, Avengers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles lair where Raphael, Hulk and Thorin Oakenshield can kick back and watch a magic show put on by Mia from Lego ‘Friends’.

thorin oakenshield hobbit legoMia Lego friends magic macigian setDon’t be that parent, don’t chose convenience and tidiness over your child’s development. If you leave them to it, during those times when you can steal five minutes of your day to sit on the floor and play with them you might be surprised at how much more fun you have together when you take the breaks off your imagination and just get lost in it.

Do any of you guys glue Lego together? Do you think I’ve been too harsh here? Is there ever a place for glued-together Lego? On a lighter note, what kind of crazy Lego creations did you put together as a child? I’d love to hear from you (and if you’ve still got pictures of your crazy creations that’s even better). As always I’m really glad you decided to stop by my blog and if you’ve enjoyed what you read please remember to either subscribe to get posts in your inbox or follow me on twitter. All the best, John

AMENDMENT 28th MARCH: It’s been pointed out over on Reddit that kragling is quite common in the production of Lego displays. I completely understand the usefulness of it in cases like this but when Lego’s being used as a child’s toy/play thing I can only see kragling as taking something brilliant away from the play experience. Join in the Reddit conversation over here.

2ND AMENDMENT (nothing to do with gun control :P) 7th MAY: If you’d like to see a brilliant run-down and analysis of the nature of the Lego movie then pop on over to The L Palmer Chronicles (where Laura was kind enough to give a wee shout out to this article :) )

3rd AMENDMENT (4th Aug 14) There’s a chance you’ve just arrived here from Puck Daddy)‘s hockey post (‘Everything is awesome about Frederik Andersen’s LEGO Ducks mask‘). I’m not a big follower of hockey myself but I felt I should give him a wee shout-out.

10 comments on “The Kragle kills dreams! (Stop gluing Lego together!)

  1. ksbeth says:

    omg, i’ve never had a parent in my class do this, that i am aware of. now i know what you meant when you asked me about, ‘gluing.’ i like to solve challenging jigsaw puzzles but would never think of gluing them when finished, as i’ve seen people do.

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    • John says:

      I don’t understand it myself, hoping someone can explain it :P

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    • Anonymous says:

      Jigsaws are annoying and you can only do them one way. I understand whole heartedly why somebody would want to kragle that. It’s an accomplishment…not a super awesome cool lego which is creative to take apart over and over again!

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      • John says:

        Totally agree anon. We actually sell glue specifically for gluing jigsaws together, a lot of people like to display their achievement once they’re done but Lego just isn’t the same sort of thing. If it’s for a child (as opposed to large display projects) then I just can’t get behind that. Even for displays I have reservations because it nullifies one of the key aspects of Lego as a toy; its reusability. I get why you would glue it (easier transport, less risk of collapse) but there must be cases where only choice bricks would need to be stuck permanently, rather than permanently sealing the fate of hundreds, perhaps thousands of Lego pieces. What do you think about gluing for display?

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  2. L. Palmer says:

    Thanks for the shout back… I don’t think that’s a phrase, but I’m trying to think of something that’s a reply to a shout out.

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  3. […] in front of the net. Provided, of course, the goalie has the right bricks that snap together. Oh, and the KRAGLE, to make the whole thing […]

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  4. Lauren says:

    My son has all the super heroe Lego it takes us hours to build then if he accidentally drops it and it smashes he then cries and wants it back how it was I haven’t got time to go through instruction books and fix them all the time. If I glue together then they will be exactly how he wants them and might not break if he drops. I think it’s a good idea and have a tub of bricks to do what ever if he wants to build.

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    • I can see your thinking Lauren, and I sympathise, I’ve been there with a three-storey spider-man kit that took about an hour to build and was promptly demolished in seconds by a grumpy little brother. My eldest took it well though and, to be honest, he gets that Lego is pretty intangible. It can be used to make awesome things but at the same time it’s not well known as a construction form that can take a lot of punishment.

      The main problem with kraggling is that it fixes those bricks together forever and it’s the bricks that are the toy (not the completed model). It’s a tricky concept to get across to younger kids but I was a Lego builder well into my early teens and I happily used bricks from earlier sets to create the huge builds I would get stuck into at that age.

      When we glue the set together we don’t just limit play in the here and now, we limit it in the future. Also, storage starts to become and issue. If I had to store every set that my son has in it’s completed form there wouldn’t be much space in his toy boxes for much else. We don’t have the biggest house.

      For me Lego provides an opportunity for a lesson; some things are not permanent, and that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. I get that I might upset some parents by villainising kraggling but I really don’t see why it has to happen.

      My son has non-Lego play sets that he plays with too, these are designed to be solid and not come apart. Lego on the other hand is designed to be in flux, constantly changing and always there as a potential creative outlet. I know how disheartening it can be to see a large set demolished but I could never bring myself to end the playability of the actual toy at the heart of the set; the Lego block itself.

      Apologies Lauren but to me kraggling Lego is a waste of time, money and plastic. As I say I understand the frustration but it also gives us a chance to teach some very important concepts to our kids: impermanence, responsible play, and most importantly the strength of will needed to literally pick up the pieces and start again.

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  5. […] I received a comment on my post on kraggling Lego (kraggling = gluing it together), the commenter  pointed out that kraggling may be defensible if […]

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