Ali Edwards Capture life. Create art.

November 18, 2010

For The Love Of Lego

Legos are to Simon like scrapbooking is to me. Life.

They are often his activity of choice. He checks out for updates, watches Lego videos online, gets the free magazine in the mail, and always wants to visit the Lego aisle at Target.

He goes through phases of interest between the different themes but mainly it’s been Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Lego City, and now, of course, it’s all Harry Potter (that’s big on his Christmas list).

When we moved a few months back, packing up the legos and deciding how to organize them took some time. I decided to buy a bunch more plastic drawers in two sizes. With the help of a couple neighbor girls we broke down most of the ships (previously sitting on a large metal shelf in his room) and separated each set into it’s own drawer. It was quite an adventure.

After we broke down the sets to fit in the drawers there were still lots of pieces not belonging to any particular set so for those we separated the remaining parts by color.

For his new room in this house we set up two Ikea tables along one wall to create a desk area (these were previously under his loft bed in the other house). At some point he might do his homework here but for now that happens at the kitchen table and this set-up is really mainly for play.

On top of those desks are XL lego baseplates. I’m thinking I might adhere those to the table but for now he can move them around if he wants.

His bedroom has a pretty big closet that already contained built-in shelves. Amazingly those shelves seem like they were built just for those plastic storage containers.

Another thing you might see in the photo that we use are cookie sheets. Cookie sheets have been great for keeping all the pieces together if he wants to move from the dining room to his bedroom.

He’s often got a little pile or two or three with drawers pulled out and people being prepared for battle.

Simon’s very much a direction follower and doesn’t have much interest in making up new ships or places. He follows the written instructions precisely and wants each item to be built just like he sees on the box and in the directions. It’s so cool to watch him put one of these sets together.

We keep the instructions for each set in a couple large binders (each set of directions is inside a page protector). This set up has worked pretty good. He goes back to the notebooks when a set breaks apart or he wants to rebuild something. This is also a reason that separating the extra parts by color has worked so great for him – it’s easy for him to identify what he needs in the book and then go to the matching color drawer.

Still on my list to do is print out small images of each set to adhere to the front of the drawers to help identify the contents.

I think he’s pretty happy in his new room.

Lego, we love you. Thanks for being a part of our lives.

And Simon, I hope Santa brings you that Hogwarts Castle set. It looks so cool!

I asked Simon if he wanted me to capture him explaining what he was playing last night and he got excited. Here’s Simon, in his own words:

Simon Edwards: Lego Harry Potter Quidditch Explanation from Ali Edwards on Vimeo.


  • 1.
    Susan said…

    Your first statement would match my twins as well. Great assessment (and what a great page that would make). My twins are 13 and the Lego passion remains. Their creativity and imagination to build things (sometimes from what they’ve seen on tv or read in a book) is amazing. What a great idea for Legos, first the drawers, and second the cookie sheets. Thanks for sharing.

  • 2.
    Susan said…

    thank you so much for sharing this…my son is just starting to get into the ‘big boy’ legos (as opposed to the duplo blocks) and I have been thinking about how we should organize everything. This helps a lot, thanks!! Love the video too! –Susan

  • 3.
    Carla said…

    What a sweetheart! Yes, I think Santa is going to be busy in the Lego department this year. My son has 13 sets of Lego on his list, so far. 13! I think I am going to need storage containers!!! 13!!!! Yikes! Love the binder idea too. Thanks for sharing Ali!!

  • 4.
    char said…

    I love this Ali! Sadly, my son (now 14) never showed any interest in Lego. All he wanted to do was write and write. His wish list for Christmas at Simon’s age was notebooks and journals! Enjoy this time it is so precious.

  • 5.
    Michelle Evans said…

    I also have a son whose world revolves around Legos. I thought he might outgrow it by now, but it still is his passion (6 years so far….he turned 10 on 10/10/10 and legos were at the top of his list!). I also helped him organize his legos by color about 3 years ago in 2 tall (7 drawers each) plastic units. He has lots of pieces, because he also inherited blocks from two older brothers. This system has worked great! He pulls out his drawers and designs to his hearts’ content (and makes a mess :) ) and then can clean up and sort by color. He has to work on his floor, because his room is small and there’s no room for a table. Thanks for the idea of a cookie sheet-that sure would help for designs in process! (and yes,Legos appear in his scrapbook. We try to take photos of most of his creations!) Thanks for the inspiration! Have a great day!

    • ….
      Kim C. said…

      I use cookie sheets for my boys legos also. They both are usually working on something and they like to move their projects around the house.

  • 6.
    Lisa W. said…

    I could not get the video to work…access denied. UGH would of loved to heard Simons voice. I gotta say that lege thing is ALLOT like scrapping. My goedness the kid is “creating” all over the place. I LOVE love he has his own space to do that, leave it set up, You know how proud he must be when he walks into his room say after school each day and see’s his creations. OH I just loved this post.

  • 7.
    christen said…

    i have a 14 year old son who still loves legos – i will be sad when they are no longer on his christmas list! they are a great part of life.

    • ….
      Dyana said…

      My brother is almost 30 and he still loves his legos! He has all the directions from every set he’s ever had and puts the pieces all in a giant plastic tub. It’s cool that he has never given them up. His girlfriend even loves them!

  • 8.
    Song said…

    I so understand – we sort our lego by shape but the labels are rather funny – small specials, flats, normal bricks, cones and circles… Our toy box which is 4 foot x 3 foot is full of clippy boxes each with some sort of description which make sense to me and my son(aged 6) and no one else it seems.

  • 9.
    Cathy said…

    My 10-year-old loves LEGO as well. He likes to get the sets, follow the instructions to build the ship (or whatever), play with it for awhile, then tear it apart and build whatever he wants with them. I need to get a system for organizing – we have LEGOs everywhere.

  • 10.
    jackie said…

    i love the wonder and amazement in simon’s eyes. he is truly a treasure of a son. i can’t wait to see if my twin girls are going to get into legos.

  • 11.
    Suz said…

    That video is A-D-O-R-A-B-L-E!
    Thanks for sharing Ali! Also, to Simon: Well done Simon! What a great explanation of the Snitch and Quidditch Set!

  • 12.
    Jeanann said…

    Loved the video! Just precious. The storage tips and the binder idea are great. Here is another idea for Lego storage.

  • 13.
    Kim K said…

    My kids are 10 and 14…still do the lego, though not with the same intensity as they once did. The NXT robots are great…once Simon gets a bit older, check and see if his school has Lego League. My boys started that in 5th grade.
    We’re headed to Carlsbad, CA again for spring break so we can visit Legoland one more time before the 14 year old “outgrows” it. Hope you get the chance to visit there sometime if you haven’t already! I’m sure Simon would LOVE it!

  • 14.
    Sabrina L said…

    Love the cookie sheet idea! We have a big collection of City Lego’s and my daughter seems to play with them the same way that Simon does…likes them to be just the way they are pictured on the box. We also have all the extra pieces separated by colour. Works great for us. Going to have to go to the Dollar Store and pick up some cookie sheets to keep for this purpose.

  • 15.
    Jules said…

    My 5yo is getting in LEGOs now. Luckily, we have many hand-me-down sets from his 13yo brother. Lots of Star Wars ships that they no longer make!

    We have a similar system w/the binder & small drawers. I also bought a couple of organizers from Lowe’s. I think they are meant for nuts/bolts/nails. It has is a clear plastic lid and inside are small yellow bins of various sizes. These are perfect for those tiny LEGO parts. I can’t find an example online. But if you’d like a visual, I can send you a picture!

  • 16.
    Denise said…

    Simon’s a very lucky boom to have a big room with all of that space to organize his collection. :)

  • 17.
    Denise said…

    BOY, not boom. Geez, my brain takes over my fingers sometimes when I key fast and does all sorts of weird things. :-P

  • 18.
    Michelle said…

    Oh Ali. What a wonderful video. My son’s are 19 & 17 and Legos used to be such a part of our lives. I have boxes down in our basement saved for their kids someday. My son’s also liked only make them with instructions. I sure do miss them being little sometimes. Especially this time of year. It goes by too quickly.

  • 19.
    Lisa W said…

    Love the video! You can just hear the excitement is Simon’s voice as he’s talking! Precious, makes my heart smile!! I’m sure Santa will find lots of Legos to put under the tree…how could he resist!!!

  • 20.
    Teal Myre said…

    What a beautiful soul!

  • 21.
    anne said…

    I loved Simon’s video! My boys (6, 10, and 13) all have Harry Potter and Star Wars legos on their Christmas lists. Legos have been a part of our daily lives since my oldest discovered them at age 4. His love for building with them has been passed on to his two brothers. I really like your organization system. Ours are all mixed up, and I would love to get the sets separated and sorted so my youngest can find the parts he wants to build a set. I do have instructions in binders, but we have 3 large ones filled! We did separate Bionicle parts into plastic cases that are supposed to be used for sorting hardware. It worked pretty well for a while!

  • 22.
    Jen K. said…

    I have a 7 year old who wants Legos so he can watch his older brother put them together…precious brother love;-) My younger son really gets his older brother and this is a great connection for them and I know he can sense that. My oldest son, who is 11, takes Lego play very seriously and sets up elaborate “stories” on the 8 foot table in his room. Stars Wars is his passion as well. He is saving up for a Star Wars Turbo Tank…$113 worth. That is some serious saving for something that he really loves doing. Legos=boyhood.

  • 23.
    Sue Ogden said…

    My son loved Legos! He would get a set for Christmas and would start in on it as soon as we were done opening gifts. Last year for Christmas we bought him the Frank Lloyd Wright set Falling Water and our then 23 year old son was in heaven the rest of the day putting it together.

  • 24.
    lisa truesdell said…

    we’re currently setting up our unfinished basement into a lego wonderland for my bigs (7 & 9) – i’m definitely going to borrow some of these ideas!! thanks for sharing them. =)

    • ….
      Ali said…

      That sounds awesome Lisa!

  • 25.
    chel said…

    He is *precious*. So nice to see this after years of watching him grow up via your work :)

  • 26.
    dawn said…

    This is so cool Ali, love how you help him with his passion. Giving him tables and organizers and a binder makes it so much easier to have fun with these. Great job Simon, loved the video and hearing his voice. That’s a great closet for a lego boy. Good luck on your wish list Simon.

  • 27.
    Melanie said…

    My son has been Lego crazed since about 3 (he’s 5 1/2 now). With him, it’s all about his own creations. He could care less about building what the kit intended – or if the parts are all jumbled. When he picks something out – it’s for the individual pieces … not the ship itself.

    We “organize” his in large plastic drawers (like one of those rolling cabinets) – but I’ve been told ‘by color’ is the way to go (you know, by older, wiser Lego maniacs LOL!). I tried organizing by shape – he’s still not ready for that.

    Loving the cookie sheet idea.

  • 28.
    Robyn said…

    oh my Lord, he is so stinkin’ cute.

    LOVE it.

  • 29.
    katie said…

    Simon and my son are so similar with their love of Legos. Of course you have his collection sorted and stored well. My son’s room is littered with Lego creations. The soldiers from the Star wars sets he calls Roger Rogers “because that’s what they say”.

  • 30.
    Abby P. said…

    Legos are always on my gift-giving list for my two boys, 14 and 18 – yes, 18! He never gets tired of building new sets – he’s also very big into taking apart and fixing things on his truck and motorcycle – maybe it all started with just a little Lego set!

  • 31.
    Alexandra said…

    So many great things in the post – love all the lego links and tips. We also use cookie sheets and muffin tins for organizing projects on the go – think the muffin tin idea came from one of your older posts :) The binder with page protectors and manuals is so clever – I’ll have to start one of those.
    And… the video of Simon is wonderful – he must have felt like a champ doing that – so cool – he’s awesome!!

  • 32.
    Leslie said…

    I love hearing about Simon and his Lego passion. We tried various systems of organizing, but ultimately ended up by color in bins like you are using. My kids mostly only liked to build the intended model the first time and then they created their own versions of it. They (15 and 11) packed away the most amazing Lego city last year. It was a very sad day for me. I think they were ready to have that era end. For years, they would spend hours on that city and had a whole family tree of characters that lived in the city. (I mean literally a family tree hung on a wall!) I did have, what I was proud of, a brilliant thought last year and asked them to build me a Christmas Village before the Legos retired. It was beautiful and is a wonderful keepsake for them as well.

  • 33.
    Sally said…

    Oh Ali – did you have a little tear in your eye while you were filming this? Simon is just precious – his mother’s son for sure w/ his tutorials!!! =) My almost-13 daughter was watching with me, and she said, “He really knows what he’s talking about – that’s Quidditch exactly!” My son was(is?) a huge Lego fan as well. He’s 16, but still enjoys the Star Wars kits & the challenge of putting them together. {Yeah, don’t tell him I just told you that…} =)

    • ….
      Ali said…

      I feel like I live with tears in my eyes (most often in a very good way) with Simon. There’s just something about him…

  • 34.

    Love. I’m so glad Simon has a great place to indulge his creativity – and those Harry Potter sets are super cool!

  • 35.
    Melia said…

    I’m not sure if you or Simon would be interested, but I’m the head of a “LEGO” team at the school I teach at and this post made me think of it. They are world-wide, so if you research your area you might find a school,4-H club, etc. that participates. It’s called First Lego League, and students build with Legos and then program a robot to complete a task. That’s just a basic summary, but if you would like more info. check out their website at


    • ….
      Ali said…

      How cool Melia – I’ve not heard of that before.

    • ….
      jamie slay said…

      Our First Lego League goes to competitions. If you are not interested in all of that, you could just purchase the robot kit. I recommend the educator’s model. (I am not try to sell anything, but if he is this interested in legos, I bet he would LOVE seeing them move!)

  • 36.

    Dear God, I love that kid. Seriously, Ali, if he ever goes missing, before you call the cops, check my house first.

    He is absolutely a joy.


  • 37.
    Bridget said…

    Lego mania at our house too. My son, Ian (6 1/2) is totally into Lego. Mostly Star Wars but Harry Potter is starting to make his presence felt!

    Our BEST organizing tool is a Fishermans Tackle Box. Ian is more into the people than the buidlings. The tackle box keeps all the Clones, Jedi, driods and thier pieces/parts in one place. AND it’s portable. I too am in favor of cookie sheets and document protector for keeping things organized. I may try the little plastic boxes like Simon has…but that $12 tackle box has been worth its weight in GOLD! (Props to DH who thought of it!)

    Love the video of simon. Great grasp on the ins and outs of Quidditch…cute!

  • 38.
    Michelle said…

    I’m a little jealous! I’ve always LOVED Legos but my boys coudln’t care less! I bought them some so we could build cars and race them and they were interested for about a minute. Right now it’s all about Toy Story around here! Perhaps, Toy Story Legos? Or maybe I should get them for me!

    That little guy is adorable, Ali! Not that you need anyone to tell you that. =)

    • ….
      Erin said…

      Have you seen that new Lego Creationary game? I’m getting it for my son for Christmas so the whole family can play. The reviews are all great. Maybe they will share your enthusiasm after playing the game with you.

  • 39.
    Lyn Meeker said…

    My son is 20 and still pulls out the legos when he comes home on break. I scrapbooked several pages BEFORE they had come out with actual LEGO sb paper. (I made hundreds of legos – rectangular bright colored pieces and drew circles and wrote tiny tiny LEGO in each and every one of them! – some of my favorite early pages!)…

    One thing you must look into .. is LEGOLAND … we went three or four times when our son was young .. and it was amazing!

  • 40.
    Brenda said…

    I have a closet like that at home – but it belongs to my husband!!!! He’s 27 and still in love with legos. We need to have a little boy someday so he has someone to play with :) I love the vidoe of Simon! Thanks for sharing!

  • 41.
    {vicki} said…

    Great video Simon—Maybe you would do some more for us to enjoy!

  • 42.
    Barb M. said…

    Thanks for the video! That brought back such great memories. My oldest (now 17) was HUGE into Legos and Harry Potter. The first book came out when he was in kindergarden and I read it to him. Then Legos jumped on the HP bandwagon a couple of years later and that was a marriage made in heaven for my then 2nd grader. I loved hearing him chatter on and on in his room about what Harry and Co were doing. Simon was so sweet and I loved his description of the match right down to the score and Ron Wood. Fabulous!

  • 43.
    Bev said…

    ahhh..Legos. They are such a part of my son’s growing up years. It took years before I quit finding them hidden in corners. Even now I will sometimes see a special Lego set and will get it for him. He smiles and puts it together and that makes me happy.

  • 44.
    Katrina Henry said…

    So cool to get to hear Simon’s voice, after so many years! Thanks for sharing! We use a lot of Dycem (google it to get an idea of what it looks like :) under toys on the tables at school to keep them from slipping (or you could use non-slip rug liners) – if you’re looking for an alternative to adhering the lego bases to the table. Could do the trick! :)

  • 45.
    Nell-Ann said…

    Love using large cookie sheets for playing with playdough .Makes clean up so easy :)

  • 46.
    Lori said…

    Great post! I love to read your suggestions for storing Legos.. great ideas! Thank you for sharing the video of your Simon. I love how much he loves Harry Potter & Legos…. it’s awesome!

  • 47.
    MicheleB said…

    Thanks for sharing. My son recently got into lego too, and that is all he wants for Christmas. I’ve been using the clear plastic shoe boxes with lids to store his lego (I find it amazing how the boxes are so big, but when you pull out the pieces, they really don’t take out much room. He likes to mix things up, so I haven’t worried about sorting by colour or set, but I am looking for a good place to store the instruction books so that if he wants to go back to them to make the intial item he can. Thanks for the great idea.

  • 48.
    Tammy said…

    You are so organized!!!!! Love it!!!! The video is priceless :)

  • 49.
    Mary Kay said…

    Oh, how I envy that system– and a boy who would follow it. Mine has eight or ten bins of pieces, but can never be convinced to use them at a table– they MUST be on the floor. And cleaning up each time he builds is a ridicule idea, as far as he’s concerned! However, the amount of creativity and joy they bring him outweigh the mess.

    • ….
      Darcy said…

      Mary Kay – Your son and mine a two peas in a pod. Organize by color? Organize by shape? Pick up the legos? Create some place other than right in the middle of where people are? Why would I want to do any of that? And don’t move my lego stuff! I’m still playing with it! (“Still” being a measure of time with out end all at the descretion of the player). But I must say, he makes some fabulous creations and the stories that go with them are intriguing.

  • 50.
    Elizabeth said…

    He is the cutest kid EVER!!

    • ….
      tania willis said…

      i completely agree.

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