|Recognize this store? New Yorkers and visitors to NYC may know. It's at Rockefeller Center and this place is always PACKED! photo: LEGO|
WHAT: More on Gratitude and LEGOs
DOES: sharing a new trick at Pick A Brick and updating you on the impact from previous Pick A Brick adventures
INVEST: $7.99 for the small container; $14.99 for the large container
AGES: Pick A Brick blocks can be a choking hazard so I would aim for at least 3+
AGES: Pick A Brick blocks can be a choking hazard so I would aim for at least 3+
After reading the article in the Wall Street Journal: Raising Kids with an Attitude of Gratitude. I started writing about what I had done with my kids and gratitude this year. First it was supposed to be just for this blog but somehow it ended up at Quartz and then at Quartz's parent site, the Atlantic.
I'm grateful for the big audience but I'm also grateful to fellow users of toys as tools for viewing toys the way I do. Toys are tools with tremendous value but it really does matter who is the user of the tool. I think the readers here know that.
That said, here are some things that I didn't get to include in the Quartz/Atlantic article but these are the practical tips that I hope the readers here will find useful.
|From our very first Pick A Brick purchase. Read about the special stacking method|
|Like an All-You-Can-Eat-Buffet (food), the Pick-A-Brick Wall can be overwhelming. The truth is, a buffet can never be all-you-can-eat because like the large-sized container to fill with your pick of bricks, the amount of space in your stomach for one meal is finite. photo: LEGO|
Teach Gratitude with LEGOnomics 101
I think this needs to be spelled out and the key word to remember is f-i-n-i-t-e. Teach them this word. Tell them that is not a coincidence that it sounds like "finish." When children learn that a particular supply is finite, it's easier to contemplate the value. I'm sure all of our children have at one point thought that the amount of money that can come out of an ATM was IN-finite.
But as the grown-ups we must teach them that things are finite. I think I failed Economics in college but this rule is simple: Except a parent's love, everything is finite, even your time with them is finite. Thus being mindful about your finite space, resources, cash, time, really anything.... this concept helps kids become more grateful and I picked LEGOs to teach gratitude because they will learn so much faster using things that are most familiar to them. Using toys, especially LEGOs adds a multi-sensory component to learning that you can't ignore. Seriously, it's no different from using unifix cubes to learn math.
|There is much to gain in respecting what you have. Thoughtful storage with future usage in mind is a GREAT habit to instill. Don't we do this in the kitchen everyday? We pair our socks before they go back into the drawer. BTW, this is an ongoing learning process. We are not perfect here. I am awesome at nagging to clean up, sort, organize.|
|Temptations! Adorations! He made me take this picture. I trained my kids to take pictures of things they like in stores. It's not the same thing as walking out with it but taking a photo helps them walk out without tears or tantrums. I also print the photo and post it somewhere at home. If they want to earn it somehow, I'm always ready to make a deal.|
Maybe for your child the love is in accessories, clothing, skateboards, Pokemon cards... it really doesn't matter. When they are grateful for what they have, they are well aware of the value and what they actually have at home (call it brick inventory if you will). Being mindful can help kids make better buying choices. The message: My dear child, money to spend on this is finite but if you use your head, you can impact the number of bricks and more importantly, the kind of bricks you take home.
Of course, let it be said, that there are more things to be grateful for than toys. But when they are little, you can use toys to teach those first lessons of gratitude. Hopefully later on, they'll generalize the learning onto other things for which to be grateful... such as your time, their time, libraries, teachers, electricity, the earth... you know what I mean... Learning happens bit by bit, brick by brick, you can't teach them everything all at once.
But first, I must apologize for the lighting in these pictures. I had to take them when the kids were asleep. You can guess why.
|There are 219 Black Roof Tiles on top of this table now... and they all came home in one container. By the piece, they cost $0.25 each!|
|Pictured: 219 Roof tiles and one large-sized container with cap.|
|Unbelievable, right? I just flipped one row upside down and then put it together. Until this day, I thought roof tiles weren't good for taking home from the PAB Wall.|
|It's true, they all fit but look at the spaces in between, we're not finished yet!|
|We love flat tiles. We learned about them from Megan Rothock's books! Good for making floors.|
|When you buy a set, you usually just get a couple of these but now they can have their own garden.|
|My kids like translucent pieces that become "treasures" and these little purple plates are the "tickets" for the new train they got for Xmas. I think we should start looking at the pretend play value of LEGO too. I don't think we are very mindful about using LEGO to build narrative.|
|It all fit!|
|It really did!|
|Good to Know: If you were to pour in just 1x4 bricks (unstacked) into the large container, you can probably get about 200 in there but you'll have no room for those lovable extras. (Yes, I literally tested this out at home. So geeeeeeeky, I know.)|
|This made up part of #1's birthday gift. I know it doesn't look like a gift but my son knew exactly what went into it because he's done this too. When he opened his gift, he said, "I'm speechless. Thank you Mom." This is a boy who wouldn't stop talking about Spinjitsu everyday for MONTHS.|
The Impact of Pick A Brick: Months Later
Is learning gratitude the most important thing or is it more important to learn how to be grateful so that you can be happy? For me, it's the latter. Our first Pick A Brick trip was last summer so I had some time to observe the impact.
#1 uses these bricks more often than any other brick he owns because he has more 1x4 in brown than in other colors, thanks to the PAB Wall. He is able to reap the benefits of being mindful everytime he plays! I don't know about you but I want my kid to be grateful for himself too. That's an important life skill. I hope he feels a lot of pride when he plays with his special hand-picked stash.
|If Number #2 could, he would own all of the Creator Sets. But we let him stick to the houses- his favorites (but we are not buying all of them though it's so tempting!). He loves the videos on LEGO.com where the designers talk about the houses. He has learned how to make furniture to place into his houses. I think being able to know who the makers are has helped him. Just like the way we click with certain authors.|
|#2 made this house using bricks from our latest trip to the PAB Wall. I was so happy to see him use the trick he learned from his Creator Sets. Not every kid is a great builder but he has been trying. I literally think the Creator sets are giving him a little boost in confidence. They have the "quick build" ideas so that you don't have to build the big thing until you are ready. For someone like my little guy, replicating (somewhat) the technique in his favorite set using the PAB Wall bricks was monumental.|
|Some kids like to write cards to their parents for their anniversary, LEGO allows my son to express himself without needing spell check. He used his PAB Wall bricks for this.|
- the special stacking method
- a list of ideas on how to spend less money when buying LEGO.
- storage ideas that inspire creativity- good storage is also key for encouraging gratitude.
And now try to win the LEGO Creative Bucket 10662
|oh, isn't he cute? I've never seen pieces like this in an open ended bucket set. VERY COOL! photo: LEGO|
The buckets appears to have a bunch of eyes that I first saw in Megan Rothrock's LEGO building workshop. I love them. They are so much more fun than the drawn eyes on little 1x2 bricks. Check out Batty SNOT (LEGO tech term meaning "studs-not-on-top")
|Megan Rothrock of LEGO Adventure Book 1 and LEGO Adventure Book 2 taught a Halloween Building workshop at the Bank Street College of Education Bookstore. It was awesome. photo: Megan Rothrock|
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IF YOU'RE SHOPPING.....
If you are a LEGO.com shopper, make sure you are in the VIP program! Some readers have told me that they had no idea about the program and are upset they never racked up those points! (100 points is about a $100 purchase and it will get you $5 off your next purchase) Here is a link to the LEGO store. Note, if you are looking for MSRP, you can just check the LEGO store site. Some stores will sell above the MSRP. These links support Toys Are Tools too. Choose the store that is convenient for you.
And if you are an Amazonian jungle shopper then here are the links to support Toys Are Tools! Thanks in advance. Here are the products mentioned at Amazon.
Disclosure: Toys are Tools was not compensated by the manufacturer for the publication of this review. The reviewed items were purchased by Jenn and her family. LEGO is contributing this out-of-stock prize (Woo-Hoo!)