Hate it when stepping barefoot on a stray piece left hanging around or love it for keeping the kids quiet for hours... and hours.
What other toy gives you the freedom to design and build absolutely anything your heart desires?
Car? No problem. Aeroplane? No problem. Rocket to the moon? No problem. Luna delta spaceship? Again, no problem.
Until a couple of years ago, a box of my childhood Lego resided in the attic, unplayed with but by no means forgotten. I prefer to think of it "on hiatus", to be played with again at some point in the future. That is until one day I retrieved it from the attic and introduced my youngest son to the world of Lego. Could he be trusted? Would it all disappear up the vacuum cleaner?
At the time I remember him almost saying, "hmm what is this pile of blocks for? Where do the batteries go? What you mean you have to build something?"
Of course after buying him some new sets and helping him build those he got the idea. The big box of Lego from the attic were suddenly additional cars / houses / spaceships / whatever just waiting to be built.
So here we are a couple of years later and he is well onto Lego Techninc, and we are both still having a great time our Lego building. For example, last weekend we spent just over 6 (yes SIX) hours* building this:
Here is it in full animated glory. Winch, motorised tilting / lowering flatbed and wheel lift:
During the build the question "Daddy do you still have the instructions for any of your Lego?" was asked. Unfortunately no I didn't... not any more. I used to have build instuctions for houses, cars, trucks and space Lego - lots of space Lego (very popular in the 1980's!)
I still have the parts, but the knowledge to rebuild has long since passed.
Of course, me being me; some days later being presented with a empty Google search box (other search engines are available) and having forgotten what I was originally going to look for, I punched in "Lego instructions". I was amazed when the results came back.
It turns out there are several simply excellent Lego instruction library sites out there, providing scanned instruction manuals for download. That was it. An hour spent in the quest to find all those long lost build instructions for as much of my Lego from the attic as I could.
By way of saying thank you to some of those library sites, here is a (by no means an exhaustive or ordered) list of the sites that have provided the Lego instructions from my childhood so that my sons may also enjoy building my Lego again:
- Worldbricks.com - PDF downloadable instructions. Sometimes a bit slow, but well worth the wait.
- Letsbuilditagain.com - Online instructions. Find your set and hit the blue arrow to view the instructions.
- Brickfactory.info - Online instructions. More of a basic site, however still plenty there!
- Brickset.com - No instructions, however good listing of newer sets, links to purchase sets on ebay and set barcodes (scan with Android barcode scanner to get best prices? ;))
- Official Lego Site (direct link to instructions portal) - PDF downloadable instructions. Of course, no list would be complete without mentioning this site!
- Official Lego Technic Site (direct link to instructions portal) - PDF downloadable instructions. As above, except for Lego Technic
If you don't own any Lego sets with perhaps some of the more specific pieces, then no need to worry. These sites are still a great source of inspiration. Look for the 1960 / 1970 / early 1980's instructions. Some, if not most, of the realy early sets are made up of the more standard square brick variety meaning that anyone should be able to build them using whatever parts they have.
That should keep your little ones quiet for a while. Perhaps you too. Welcome to the world of Lego.... again!
*6 hours to build a flatbed truck? Have a look at the three instruction booklets for yourself!