Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A Grandfather’s Labor of Love and LEGOs

Harbor Sentry                            King Kahuka                        Blaze Commander
My kids are both grown and it is almost  20 years since LEGOs were in active use in our house.  But now my grandson, Zach is 4 and ½ years old.  LEGOs were always a work in progress around here.  We had a table made of an old door and cinder blocks in the basement and our son spent many an hour playing with LEGOs there.  We bought some soft fabric remnants that looked like sand and water for the boat scenes.  Our son had lots of sets where sand and water provided the right background.  Usually he would get a big set for Christmas and then we would supplement it with the smaller supporting sets throughout the year.  The smaller sets were especially great for vacation. 

So what has survived?  For the last few years Zach has been playing with the huge collection of DUPLO blocks and they are like new even though they have been through lots of play with two generations of kids.  Recently Zach has been interested in Transformers and small Construct Bots sets.  He can’t do these all by himself but he enjoys putting them together with his Dad and his Pop. Building a Construct Bot with Zach inspired Hugh (Pop) to check out the LEGOs in our basement.  And so began this labor of love for our grandson. 

Hugh has taken on the massive job of making sense of this huge collection of LEGOs.  He found two big storage containers: one full of all the LEGOs mixed in and one with all the original boxes (collapsed), some  instructions and the sand and sea cloths.  

Where to start?  My well organized engineer of a husband methodically is making sense of it all. First he inventoried the LEGO set numbers from the cartons. Then he searched online and found several helpful sites.  ToysPeriod.com is his favorite. It has piece count, descriptive part inventory, and assembly instructions all for free.   We have 28 sets with 4,438 pieces.  You can see the scope of the project.

Hugh with King Kahuka 
Zach isn’t ready for a big ship project but he is ready to work with Pop on some smaller sets.  So Hugh undertook the project of arranging the LEGOs into sets that match the original packages.  His first step was to arrange the pieces by color.  That took days. The table and floor in the basement are full of shoe boxes with single color LEGOs and a separate one for people, animals and tools.  

What is pictured in this post are his first three completed projects: "Harbor Sentry" with 25 pieces,  "King Kahuka" with 42 and Blaze Commander with 47.  This has been a pretty challenging project but the big challenges lie ahead with the Imperial Flagship (306 pieces), Fire Rescue (359), Forestmen’s River Fortress (363) and the really big one -  Magic Flash Model Team with 785 pieces!  Fortunately, there are over 20 more sets before he has to tackle any of those.

Hugh with Harbor Sentry
I can hardly wait to see Zach and Pop at the kitchen table working on putting these together. Hugh is putting each set in a plastic bag with the original package showing the final assembly and directions he has downloaded at  ToysPeriod.com

Do you have boxes of LEGOs in your attic or basement?  How old are your grandchildren?  Maybe its time…..    If you don’t have an existing inventory LEGOs are a great tradition to begin.  Below are a few of my favorites available at Amazon now for ages 5 and up.  And LEGO has a new line called LEGO Friends with themes and colors that girls find attractive.

It's snowing in NJ as I write this...what a perfect way to spend a snowy day working with LEGOs with a grandchild.  Well worth the labor of love.

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