The holiday season presents an opportunity for parents, grandparents and friends of children to find the best gift. Lego was usually on the list of gifts for my children when they were small, but my memories of Lego are not the same as theirs. Stepping on Lego Bricks in bare feet is “memorable” in too many ways to bore you with here. However, “ouch” and other assorted, mumbled responses is what I recall. Still, Lego bricks are a great learning tool and have survived the test of time.
Lego first came to North America from Denmark in 1961 Lego then partnered with Samsonite Corporation and began producing and selling Lego products in the U.S. and Canada. The company grew here and by 1962 the first Lego wheels were added which meant cars, trucks, buses and other vehicles could be made with Lego bricks.
1964 was the first time that instruction manuals were included in Lego sets.
One of the Lego Group's most successful series, the Lego train system, was first released in 1966. The original train sets included a 4.5-volt motor, battery box and rails; two years later, a 12-volt motor was introduced.
Today these additions to the Lego Brand are being taken to new heights by a 15 year old named Warren Seeley in Oregon who has taken Lego construction to an auspicious level, according to Wired.com. He lives on a rural farm and describes his family as being “self sufficient.” Instead of calling mechanics to repair the farm equipment, they do it themselves.
Warren is home schooled and part of his curriculum is learning to repair engines, tractors and all the machinery needed to run an efficient farm. He had the idea of creating working models of farm equipment out of Lego that earned him the title of “The Lego Kid.”
Warren is able to source many of his unique brick needs from the Lego Education site. He plans to become an electrical engineer and has begun taking classes at community college towards this goal.
As Warren has shown Lego is an excellent choice to build not only farm equipment but character as well. Choosing Lego this year as a child’s gift should be on our lists—even though stepping on them conjures not-so-memorable thoughts. The skills they develop in children are without a doubt infinite.
Listen to Warren describe his experience in the video "The Lego Kid."