As noted elsewhere on this blog, I am an ex-smoker. I also had an unhealthy relationship with alcohol for some years, happily long behind me.

I kicked both of these habits, so can hardly call either an addiction. Lego, on the other hand, has proved a lot harder to say no to.

As I write, I have two unopened boxes in my immediate vicinity, two opened kits that are partially dismantled for transport, one that has been open for decades, and another unopened box in my bedroom. These Lego kits cover everything from vehicles to space exploration to a training shoe (via a kitchen – more on that later.)

To make matters worse, my children are also mad about Lego. Bruce is currently building a kit of Yoda. He likes to make his own designs, too, and we’ve together started combining a train set motor with some other kits to explore some creative possibilities. Then there is his growing collection of Super Mario Bros.-themed Lego.

Meanwhile, twin Erin-rose enjoys sticking to the designs and admiring them, but she’s more flexible with the “Dots” range of customizable and wearable Lego.

Then there’s Daisy, who has recently progressed from Duplo and is an imaginative little builder.

Lego is great, really

In truth, “to make matters worse” isn’t really a thing when it comes to Lego. It has been repeatedly shown to be an excellent building tool for children. It promotes the development of motor skills and imagination, and its possibilities are almost endless. You could even build a house from it.

(We don’t have that much Lego. Not quite.)

In fact, the first Lego kit I ever received was a bit house-y. It was that kitchen, mentioned above. I don’t know where it came from, whether a present for Christmas or a birthday, or just given away, but I am pretty sure it was from one of my cousins. It looked like this:

All pretty innocent, you’ll agree. Except that this single act of kindness lead to a habit I’ve been unable to kick. Over the years I’ve had trains, railway stations, space ships, moonbases, The Beatles, a Aston Martin DB5, a VW camper van, more space ships, and even time machines…

While you could “blame the parents” (I would), it is fair to say that I’ve found building with Lego to be hugely beneficial over the years.

The back of the box

In the old days, a Lego kit would come with instructions that I would slavishly follow. But I would remain entranced by the pack art. Flip over a typical box and you would find a variety of different designs built from the same kit. This initiated a challenge: build these things without the instructions. It was never easy, and sometimes I failed completely, but it was worth doing simply to explore the possibilities.

Is Lego an investment?

These days, Lego boxes are carefully flattened and put in a sealed bag. Why? Well, they’re worth money.

17 years ago when my wife and I were planning our wedding, we both had low paying jobs. Determined to have a wedding that looked the part, I found that I could sell my old Lego kits for almost the exact price they were bought for. While £30 in 2005 had a different value to £30 in 1985, this was early in Lego’s now well-known position as a product that increases in value over time. Besides, I managed to pay for about six wedding guest meals, so it was worth it (although I do miss those Lego spaceships).

One day, I hope the Lego the twins and Daisy have collected can be repurposed if necessary. If not, it’s no big deal, as they’ve had plenty of fun with the bricks. And I’ve stood on enough of them.

Aren’t you a bit old for plastic bricks, mate?

Who knows? I have a friend who plays table top football. I know grown men who play with drones. Some people even eat sweets well into adulthood.

Building with Lego is satisfying, it is calming. I get time to think about things, much like I would if taking a walk. It’s usually warmer than walking, although I wouldn’t recommend mixing these activities. 

As for the age thing, maybe… but with kits of VW camper vans and Apollo moon landers, it’s clear that Lego offers a lot for adults. Although that doesn’t explain why one of the kits I’m waiting to open is Sonic the Hedgehog, does it?