My children and grandchildren, ranging in age from 50 years old to one, have all loved to play with Legos. In fact, when the entire family occasionally convenes, even the adults can be found digging through the now huge quantity of components we seem to own. And the whole town turns out when one of our museums invites a Lego club in to build an entire city for Christmas.
Legos seem to be ever fascinating, as they should be. They can be easily combined in limitless ways. The photograph is of a house our ten year old grand daughter is making. Out ten year old grandson takes the same materials and creates intergalactic raiding vessels and monsters. (Legos are a good way to view gender differences that are stronger than parental pressures).
The Lego company itself seems to be surprisingly buoyant. It has gone through great growth, and typical downturns when they expanded too rapidly outside of their strength (theme parks, toy characters that required little if any construction, kits with parts that were not compatible with other products), but it has come back strong with its Mindstorms line of robot kits. What are its secrets? Quality is certainly one.
Lego products can be considered expensive, especially their Mindstorm kits, but they are handed down, given away, and traded, so that they are have an almost unlimited life. The blocks neither break nor emit worrisome chemicals. To me, a major advantage is that not only do they not need repairing, but the blocks themselves do not require batteries (of course the final constructions often do - you can't escape). Environmentally, although the blocks and other plastic components are made of a plastic that is difficult to recycle, they never reach a landfill. If you saw a box of lego parts in a dumpster you would probably take it out and give it to a kid (or take it home and nostalgically play with them) .
Although plans and directions are available, they are not usually needed, except for the Mindstorms line, Legos are more fun without them. It is satisfying to use ones imagination. The parts are beautifully made, and can be assembled into fairly realistic looking combinations. Unlike vintage blocks, they cling together nicely. Lego parts also go together rapidly, resulting in rapid feelings of accomplishment. What’s not to like about them?
I believe that products that have been around relatively unchanged for a long time, especially if they are successful in the market place and seem like they could be killed by knock-offs and cheaper copies, must be of high quality. Legos definitely qualify.