More with Less: Lego Lab

Lego pirate ship built without instructions or set by nine year old

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Building Better Ideas with Bricks

Lego pirate ship built without instructions or set by nine year old
  • What: Lego Lab
  • When: 2 years and up
  • Why: Keep kids entertained with what’s on hand
  • Where: At home

My kids own so many Legos, I’ve had to institute a color-coded organizing system. Yet they still fight over individual pieces, and the sheer amount of tiny injury-inducing pieces is not at all proportional to the amount of time they spend enjoying them.

Lego pirate ship with paper sails built without set or instructions by nine and seven year olds
My kids collaborated to build this enormous pirate ship.

But today, my kids got inspired. I don’t know where the idea originated, but all three of them have been busy for more than an hour constructing a pirate ship – without benefit of any instruction manuals. They happily destroy old creations (I can never convince them to do this normally) to build a ship, then plan to construct scenery for it out of paper.

Lego pirate ship homemade no manual trap door
Their pirate ship comes complete with a trap door, multiple cannons, and life boats.

At this point in time, if it keeps all three of them occupied for more than fifteen minutes without fussing or fighting, I call it a win. If we continue to revisit this project over the next day or two, it becomes worth its weight in gold. And we didn’t need to buy a single thing to make it happen.

Nine year old assembling Lego pirate ship without using instruction manual or purchased set
All three of my kids contributed to this effort.

My kids don’t normally go for pirate themes, but this time they have big plans to draw treasure maps and lots of other ancillary activities. If you can get your child similarly inspired, you might be able to find a few moments to yourself to relax in the bath or knock some stuff off your to-do list. Whatever works, I wish you success.

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