Last week, I talked about one of the ways in the past couple of years that I as a step father have connected with Chloe, my 9 year old daughter. Specifically, I talked about how I got her into action figures. This week, I wanted to talk about one of the other geeky toys that I have gotten Chloe into; and a toy that Chloe got me back into. In case you missed the title of this blog post, I'm talking about LEGO Bricks. Click onwards to find out more about how I "built" her interest in these awesome building blocks.
I played with LEGO Bricks as a kid - a LOT. Of all the toys that I had growing up, LEGO Bricks were one of my all time favorites. I had a few of the LEGO Star Wars sets when they first came out, but mostly my brother and I just had a large bucket of assorted LEGO Bricks that we would dump out and build the craziest contraptions. There were many times where I would be watching a show on TV, then go into my room when the show was over and build something from the show out of our LEGO Bricks. It would not be a stretch to say that LEGO Bricks helped foster my interest in science and engineering.
Fast forward to when I was 23. Ashley and I had not been together very long, and I was living in a nice apartment with another one of my co-workers. Ashley would come over to the apartment and bring Chloe with her. Being pretty fresh out of college, our apartment was stocked with lots of things that you would expect: video games, comic books, computers, etc. A lot of great things to do with other guys in their 20's; not so many things for a (then) 5 year old to do. I mean, its not like the two of us could sit down to play some Halo, right? I knew that I really wanted to connect with Chloe and have something that she could do at my apartment other than just watching TV, for two reasons. First, I wanted her to enjoy coming over to the apartment, and secondly, I wanted her to enjoy hanging out with me personally. Keep in mind, this is *way* before I got her into action figures.
So, I started thinking of things that I knew that kids enjoyed doing. Specifically, I was thinking of things that kids enjoyed doing that I could enjoy doing as well. For instance, I thought it might look kind of weird to have a bunch of Barbies laying around my apartment. That's when it hit me - LEGO Bricks! I enjoyed playing with them, and I was sure that Chloe would enjoy playing with them as well. I went to Target and picked up a standard bucket of LEGO Bricks. Nothing specific, just a random assortment of bricks; just like I used to have! Having not really bought that many LEGO Bricks with my own money, I was a bit disappointed in how much I got for the money I paid, but I remembered that LEGO Bricks could be a tad expensive. So, I jumped onto eBay and managed to buy a large box filled with random bricks to bolster my collection.
Boy, I hit the jackpot! I brought out those LEGO Bricks and Chloe and I went to town building all sorts of contraptions. I kept the bin of LEGO Bricks at my apartment, so that whenever Ashley brought Chloe over I could pull them out and we would hang out and play together. That common interest was very important to me as a future step father - it was an important "Building Block" (pardon the pun) to building a relationship between Chloe and myself.
Just like the action figures, Chloe and I's interest in LEGO Bricks hasn't gone away yet. We don't buy as many LEGO sets as we would like to have, but whenever we do get a chance to get our hands on some LEGO Bricks, we will break them out and work together to assemble the sets. This past Christmas, Chloe got one of the large LEGO Friends clubhouses from Ashley's family and her and I spent a large portion of Christmas morning putting that thing together. Even with as long as I've been playing with LEGO Bricks, I still think that was the biggest set that I have ever put together. Last month, I took Chloe to the LEGO Kids Fest that I blogged back awhile back, and she had a blast! We spent the day building LEGO Race Cars, looking at the various sculptures spaced around the convention center, and scouring the on-site LEGO store for some cool sets. We even got a chance to sit down and try out Creationary, one of the board games that the LEGO company has released.
Thanks to LEGO Bricks, I was able to connect with Chloe at a young age and have her enjoy spending time with me. I will always be grateful that I had that connection with her from the beginning, and I hope that its something that she will past down to her children (a long LONG time from now).
Did you play with LEGO Bricks as a kid? Do you still play with them now? Let me know in the comments below.