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Building Skills or Building Kits?
How Kids and Adults Think About Legos

edu 122 children, learning and material culture




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This standard-issue Lego chef is hard at work on the back of a child-designed rescue truck. The truck was designed by a 5-year old boy to bring pizzas and drinks to people who lost their homes in earthquakes or fires.


Kids and adults think about Legos in somewhat the same way, but with important differences. Adults retain the idea that Legos are more educational than other toys because there are so many different things that kids can build with them. The kids we talked to thought Legos were valuable that way as well, but they were more involved in acquiring the latest Lego kit than they were in creating new landscapes and objects on their own. To understand more about these differences, we observed children playing with Legos and talked with adults and children about what they thought about Legos. We can summarize what we learned from our study in terms of four [three, 5, 12, 2, etc.] key issues:

-issue one
-issue two
-issue three
-issue four

In the sections that follow, we've described each of these issues in more detail and provided illustrations from our observations, interviews and from other documents we've collected. For more information about Legos and about how we conducted our study, click the Materials, Adults, Kids and Data Sources links on this page.


A Brief Introduction to Legos [section]

Legos were invented by ___ in ___ and were first marketed as __- etc.

One of the things that has changed about Legos since the building blocks were first introduced __ years ago is an increasing emphasis on special pieces. This lego pizza truck is a good example of how these special pieces are tied to the creation of a single toy. This contrasts with the earlier emphasis on using only a few standard pieces to create many different kinds of toys, landscapes, objects, etc.
Lego pizza truck kit.



Issue One [section]


Issue Two [section]


Issue Three [section]


Issue Four [section]


Conclusion: Educational for whom, for what and when? [section]