Little plastic bricks of varying shapes and sizes. Red, yellow, green, blue, gray, black, and white. Hair pieces, heads, weapons, legs, and head gear. Wheels and gears, windows and doors.
If you know what I'm talking about then you must have at least one lego enthusiast in your home. I have six, counting my husband and not yet counting our youngest child! Lego has exploded in my home. My children save money to buy lego, they ask for it for gifts, and a visit to a lego store is like stumbling upon the holy grail.
With so many lego enthusiasts, we decided to swap out our guest room for a lego room. About a year and a half ago we made the switch and I have never done a better thing for my sanity. For the most part, we let the kids go wild in there. They rarely clean it, and aside from our board games and a file cabinet, the room is completely devoted to lego. Lego is expected to stay in the lego room. No more vacuuming little pieces, no more death by lego for unsuspecting feet.
We began by putting a large table in our lego room (see pic above). It was our old kitchen table. We figured the kids would be able to use the surface for building and keep most lego off the floor. Wrong! Instead, they all fought over the space on the table. One would start a big project and then the others wouldn't have room for their buildings. We have now moved to a different solution.
We purchased six of these end tables from Ikea for $7.99 each.
To spruce them up a bit, I painted each child's initial on a table. That way we can avoid all the squabbles over who gets to build where. Each child now has their own place to build.
Originally, we had also put up a long shelf in the lego room. This was for those special projects that the kids just weren't ready to tear apart yet. Our kids are really into Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and The Hobbit. So naturally they have purchased many sets from those movies. Instead of building the sets once and then tearing them apart, we allow them to keep the sets on the shelf and bring them down for play. As they find they don't play with particular sets, they can pull them apart and place the pieces in a labeled ziploc bag. That way each kid knows which sets are theirs and they also keep all the pieces together. As adults they can either bring those lego sets to their own households or they can choose to sell them online. (We also keep the original boxes flattened in storage in case the kids want to sell the sets someday.) We found recently that one shelf was not quite enough, so we added a second.
Now, here's the part that really is up to individual preference. How do you store all the lego?? We used to keep our lego in a giant rolling toolbox. The special pieces went in the top compartments and the rest was in a big jumble. Our kids grew very frustrated wanting to find specific pieces but having to look through such a large mass of lego. In setting up our lego room, we decided to organize by type. We went to Menards and bought this wall system.
Originally we used double sided tape to place a piece of each type on the front of each container so the kids would know where things went. Those pieces have long since fallen off, but the kids still remember where the pieces belong. They have sorted them by size (1x4, 2x1, 4x4, etc) and by type (windows and doors, people, weapons, gears, etc.). It works well for us and is actually the way the professionals sort their lego.
We also have this little set of drawers to keep specialized parts in.
Lastly, we keep binders full of the directions that come with various sets. Without a specific place for these, we found that direction packets would often get trampled underfoot and end up ripped or crumpled. That just results in frustration for everyone!
We love the function of our lego room. And as a mom, I love the creativity that I see in my kids through what they build. If allowed, our kids would spend hours upon hours playing with lego. It has cut down on our kids' desire for video games and other less-healthy play. And it allows their imaginations to run wild.
Do you have specific ways to deal with the lego monster at your house? I'd love to hear about it!