Alexander was very sad, almost crying as he came down for breakfast. As I found out, it was Lego that didn’t want to cooperate. He couldn’t work out the the plane that he had in mind.
We had breakfast, then played math games for quite a while and then he went back to his Lego, in much better mood. Later he came back again telling about missing details and I gave my suggestions where to look for them. Eventually he called me: the plane was ready.
When I saw it, I realised why he was so frustrated. He wanted to make something that functions the same as a Lego cargo plane from a set that was on his “wanted” list a few months ago – all that, without having the set. And he made it. May be not so sleek looking, but good enough to open and play, something that a reviewer on Youtube emphasized as an important feature of the set. That’s why he needed those small suitcases he couldn’t find – he really needed something next to the big container full of gold to load into the plane.
This is something I love in a way he deals with Lego – he takes marketing catalogues and Youtube videos as a starting point for making his own version of it. Ambulances, firefighter stations, boats and trucks, space shuttles, rockets and moon explorers, underwater research stations…
However, it doesn’t stop at that. At the moment Lego is his tool of choice and a gateway to the world. It’s a mean to process experiences, to experiment, to document learning; a reason to read and write, to learn searching, programming, making photos, videos and animations. It’s a social tool as well – something that requires negotiations, making things for two sisters or learning to stay hands off when they are learning how to make something very obvious, sorting out through emotions when guests want to play their own way or even break something. It’s the reason to clean his room properly, because getting those small pieces back from the vacuum cleaner is a pretty dirty job (which requires even more negotiations with his mother than the cleaning itself :).
The only thing I am sad about is that I didn’t manage to make a photo of a sewing machine needle mechanism from Lego Technic before it got disassembled in order to make something else. But Alexander promised to make a better version of it eventually.