It costs nothing to be creative, it costs everything to not be
When I was a kid, I had very little to play with. Most of my toys were pass-me-alongs, most of my clothing was hand-made, but I spent countless hours building what I could with the few pieces of Lego that came my way. They weren't many and I guess it's come a very long way since then. There weren't funky mechanisms that you could build that I knew of, or cogs that turned. There weren't funky colours or slanted blocks, they were either square or rectangular and most of the time they'd been partially chewed by my dog - so, a little bit mangled.
Let's just say that I made as many things as my imagination would allow with the handful that I had and added sticks and leaves, made clay ramps in the back garden and silly little lop-sided Lego cars would vroom their way up and beyond the ramps and fall into a heap on the other side. It was more Calvin and Hobbes style in my imagination than it in reality but it was fun and I guess I learned some things from it like how to be resourceful and fly to the moon without wings.
Things have changed and I feel like I'm having a second go at my Lego childhood now with my niece. We're building up a little Lego princess village with all the little critters that accompany these ladies and my niece was so exhilarated when she realised that she could interchange the heads of the princess and change their hair. They have different colour eyes so we can always work out who is who and put them back to their original selves, but the little stories that she came up with made me let out big belly laughter that settled into my soul and made me unbelievably grateful that I could provide that moment for her.
She's a really quick learner and before we had even made it home she had been studying the back of the Lego box to work out how the little cogs fit together and that with a 90* angle you can shift the axle to turn from vertical motion to horizontal motion. I am a lot older than her and I hadn't figured it out until she explained it to me. I was impressed with her ingenuity and really proud that this was teaching her something mechanical, a skill lacking in many places these days.
We had a really great time together building and just playing, having conversations and putting flowers onto the heads of the little critters sidekicks.
She diligently packed it all away into it's container when she was done too. I've instilled in her some rules about order that my parents didn't bother teaching me at the time. It's never too early to start being orderly and I want her Lego creations to last. Who knows, maybe one day she'll want to pass them on to her kids and I think she'd want them all in good condition when that time comes. In the meanwhile, we'll just keep adding a little bit at a time to her kingdom and see where it takes us.
All images are my own unless otherwise stated