LEGO 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.
I’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?
There 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.
When 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’.
Don’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 this post then click here to see more posts about the underbelly of play. Also don’t forget to follow me on twitter to catch up on toy news or just have a blether. 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 Greg Wyshynski ( Everything is awesome about Frederik Andersen’s LEGO Ducks mask‘). I’m
ONE LAST THING: I also write children’s books. Currently I’m working on a fantasy series about a boy called Jack who accidentally tears holes between his world and a magical one called ‘Fey’. In the process he lets a host of weird creatures through, along with a girl who can turn into a polar bear. Jack sees it as his job to help the girl home and undo the damage he has done but more sinister forces are interested in Jack’s world too. Please take a look at the official site if you have the time (thanks in advance for popping over).