Time to Build
Nothing quite beats the fun playing with LEGO® and building whatever you can dream up – after all, you are only limited by your imagination and the bricks you have on hand. But – is there a way to get more out of your humble bricks?
No one knows how to have more fun with LEGO® than Canada’s LEGO® Fan Builder extraordinaire, Deborah Higdon. We featured some of her creations in our New York Times bestseller - the LEGO® Ideas Book – and we’ve asked her to take a few minutes away from her beloved bricks to give us some exclusive pointers on how to get the best results from our LEGO®.
10 building tips for young LEGO® fans – By Deborah Higdon
- Build a set, following the instructions, then later take it apart. Use brick separators to help, both the old and new types have their uses. Explore how each works and what they can do for you. Never use your teeth.
- When taking apart your set, think about all the connections you made which you probably didn’t notice because you were busy following instructions. Try to learn at least one new building technique from each set you construct.
- When all of your sets have been taken apart, sort your LEGO®. Use trays, boxes, lids, containers, small plastic drawers, little zipper bags to see what you’ve got. Sort by pieces or colour to start. You just might have enough now to make that new planet with flames of fire flashing out of it.
- If you have a smaller collection, sort big (wheels and car stuff in one drawer, bricks in another, doors and windows in another). If your collection is growing, you’ll want to sort to find things more easily. Use plastic trays or smaller recycled boxes in a larger plastic drawer. Fold cardboard to make separator walls in drawers or boxes.
- Listen to the teacher in math class! Learn math and science and then explore your LEGO®. Notice that 3 plates makes a brick. Figure out mathematical relationships between pieces. How many bricks will you need for a 10 cm high house. How can you strengthen the bridge to carry a heavy load?
- Fill a hole. There are many infinite connections that fans are discovering. Experiment by putting small pieces into the holes and empty spaces you see. See what connects in a new way, but make sure it’s a sturdy connection. Don’t force your LEGO®, or you’ll have more LEGO® pieces, and not the kind you want!
- Turn your pieces around, upside down, sideways, and ... inside out (one fan did it to tires). Build with the Studs Not On Top (S.N.O.T. in the LEGO® fan world) to build and attach in new way. Build from the top down. Look at your pieces a lot, see them in a new way.
- Look at other people’s work. With your parents’ permission, surf the net for other fans’ work to get ideas to start. Be careful interacting with other fans. Don’t copy a fan’s entire creation, be respectful of their work. Give credit if you can, when you’re trying a technique you’ve seen posted on the net.
- Look at pictures. Good ideas come from pictures to help you “model” your creations. Want to build an awesome castle? Look for window types and drawbridge mechanics. You’re crazy about cars? Look at hoods and headlights and body styles. Think about fantasy and imagination. No one can tell you what a car will look like in 20 years – you can’t go wrong!
- Post your work or put on a small show. When you’re ready to hear what other fans think, ask to open a free account on a photo gallery website (Brickshelf.com is a good place to start, Flickr.com is a little more advanced). Other fans will want to see what you’re building but be ready for some criticism or guidance. Ignore the unkind but thank others and listen if they make sense. One day you’ll be guiding a new builder. Put on a small show for family and friends
- Bonus Tip
Be proud of what you do. Always. Be passionate about this great hobby. Let no one tell you playing and building with LEGO® is for kids. It’s for anyone. Don’t give it up if you don’t want to. It’s what you do, it’s what you love to do and you are doing it well! Celebrate that. Other people love other things. You love LEGO®. Build and don’t stop.