Why Legos Have Stood the Test of Time


For anybody coming of age within the final 60 years, Lego has been a relentless companion. The tiny plastic bricks that match snugly collectively have offered immense pleasure for generations of budding engineers, scientists, architects, carpenters, bricklayers — and sure — writers. Lego, which celebrates its 60th anniversary on Jan. 28, 2018, (from the patent date of the Lego brick) has bought extra 485 billion items of the interlocking items, and right now it is one of the vital iconic manufacturers on the planet.

Still, constructing a Batmobile, treehouse, bridge, a police cell command middle or the Eiffel Tower out of Lego bricks is extra than simply kid’s play. Research has proven that constructing with Lego bricks permits youngsters to hone their motor, spatial and language abilities. It helps youngsters on the autism spectrum in addition to wannabe scientists remedy issues and manipulate 3-D info of their heads. When youngsters play with Lego bricks, they analyze what components make up the entire and the way every block pertains to each other.

Not unhealthy for a humble toy that had its beginnings in a non-descript hamlet named Billund in southern Denmark. That’s the place a carpenter named Ole Christiansen, who left highschool when he was solely 14, lived. When the Great Depression hit within the 1930s, Christiansen’s store suffered as folks constructed fewer houses and fewer furnishings. The 1 factor folks did appear to scrape up sufficient cash for, Christiansen observed, had been toys.

Lego’s Beginnings

By 1936, Christiansen grew to become a toymaker, producing greater than 40 totally different toys carved from wooden. Christiansen even created his personal model title, leg godt, a Danish time period that in English translated into “play well.” The title later morphed into Lego. By 1949, Christiansen’s firm started producing tiny plastic constructing bricks that youngsters appeared to like. Nine years later in 1958, the Lego brick took form and was awarded a patent. Each brick had interlocking tubes that supplied youngsters limitless capacity to construct something their creativeness may conjure.

That’s precisely what Godfred Christiansen, Ole’s son, had envisioned for the corporate. In 1963, in keeping with author Lee Slater in his guide, “LEGO Manufacturers,” Godfred challenged the corporate to include 10 traits in every Lego product, together with limitless play potential, and the power to assist youngsters turn into extra inventive and imaginative. It was a recipe that labored. Through the 1960s and 1970s, the Lego line quickly expanded. In 1977, for instance, the corporate launched its Expert Builder Series, fashions with motors and gears. A yr later, the corporate launched its first yellow-faced Lego males.

Lego additionally saved tempo with know-how. Through the 1980s, Lego units started to incorporate electrical lights and sound-making gadgets. The firm additionally branched out into the hospitality area, opening LEGOLAND theme parks world wide. But by 2003, Lego, which was nonetheless based mostly in Billund, was on the verge of chapter because the agency handled altering play habits. Kids, it appeared, had been extra fascinated by taking part in video video games and logging on to the web than they had been taking part in with Lego bricks. The gross sales of recent merchandise, resembling Star Wars and Harry Potter units, waxed and waned relying on when the flicks had been launched.

Lego Future Lab

The firm’s new administration needed to do one thing. Like the kids who performed with the bricks, executives used their creativeness and inside 10 years Lego was as soon as once more flourishing. Much of its success was attributable to its Future Lab. The lab was staffed by 50 or so researchers, scientists and designers. Their jobs had been to invent new play experiences for youngsters. To that finish the corporate partnered with universities and others within the hopes of discovering out what youngsters wished. They researched in style motion pictures, vogue tendencies, magazines and web sites. The analysis paid off. In 2017, in keeping with Forbes journal, Lego was value $7.9 billion, and ranked because the 76th most useful model on the earth.

Unlike different toys, Lego’s merchandise work collectively as 1 system of play, whether or not it is Lego Duplo, for preschool youngsters, the extremely superior Lego Technic or basic Lego.

“From the youngest builders to the savviest teen and adults, we have a Lego solution for every builder of any age, building skill and interest for any play occasion,” Amanda Madore, senior supervisor, model relations at Lego Systems, Inc., says in an e-mail. “We are focused on what the brand means to children — both physically and digitally — and we continue to serve their needs, so we believe that our business potential is as limitless as our play material.”

Lego and Cognitive Play

Although Lego bricks have all the time been enjoyable to play with, analysis has proven they are often central to a baby’s schooling and cognitive acuity. Specifically, Lego bricks are an vital software that may assist youngsters on the autism spectrum. Dr. Dan Legoff, a scientific neuropsychologist in Philadelphia, has included so-called Lego-based remedy into his analysis. He has discovered that youngsters on the spectrum turn into extra social and communicative whereas taking part in with the bricks in group settings.

Part of the reason being that Lego is a highly-structured toy that requires youngsters to divide labor, talk, set guidelines, make selections and work together with others. Researchers have additionally discovered to make use of Lego robots to assist well being professionals measure the cognitive capacity of kids with extreme disabilities who can’t be measured by conventional testing.

In addition, there is a good probability the scientists of tomorrow are presently taking part in Lego bricks. Amy Shelton, a cognitive psychologist at Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth, has studied the influence taking part in with constructing blocks together with Lego, has on younger youngsters. She says youngsters who play with theses toy sharpen their spatial reasoning skills.

“These skills not only have a relationship to academics, but to the fields you might gravitate to, and where you’re going,” she stated in an announcement. “If you want to build future STEM enthusiasts, you need to start with fundamental skills and they need to come early. Something as simple as making sure kids have exposure to block play would set them up for a future where they can build the right kinds of skills for whatever field they want to go into and they won’t be restricted because of their lack of early experience.”


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