Ole Kirk Christiansen: a name that may not necessarily be known by everyone. He's not a celebrity. He's not a pop musician. He's not a renaissance painter. He's not a world leader. But he is someone who will go down in the history books as one of the most influential people of his generation and every generation after. He is of course, the man who founded legendary The LEGO Group. Mr. Christiansen, a carpenter by trade, actually started off manufacturing wooden toys and 1932. He made wooden cars, trains, and airplanes among other toys. Two years later, in 1934, his company became known as LEGO. The word LEGO is a combination of the Danish phrase, "leg godt," which translates to "play well." It isn't until 1947 that LEGO would expand into manufacturing plastic toys. Again, two years later, in 1949, LEGO started to produce an early version of the plastic, interlocking brick known as the Automatic Binding Brick. And the rest, as they say, is history.
If you were to ask a random adult, there's a good chance that at one point in their childhood, they had a Lego set that they played with. It may not have been an extravagant set with all the bells and whistles, but it was a set of Lego's and it was theirs. Even if you ask a child, chances are they too have a Lego set of their own. Parents who have children will also tell you all about their experiences with their kids' Lego's (if you've never stepped on a loose Lego, have you truly lived your full life!? haha...). Lego sets have gotten larger, more complex, and more creative since its conception, but it still serves its purpose: endless fun and creativity.
Lego has become so popular and mainstream, that it's hard to write this article without referring to the toys as what they are, bricks. They are bricks that come in all shapes and sizes, all different colors, and all different purposes. To be technically correct, I would have to refer to these toys as bricks, or binding bricks, or Lego sets... but we've gotten to the point in society where it is correct to refer to them as Lego's; "Have you seen my Lego's?, "Check out these Lego's over here!", "I only want to play with my Lego's." Simpy by saying the word "Lego," one of these small plastic brick toys come to mind (my personal image is that of a red brick); whether you owned a set or not, you still get the image in your head.
The Lego Group doesn't just produce little plastic toys though. They have dipped their toes into the entertainment pool. "The Lego Movie," "The Lego Movie: The Second Part," and "The Lego Batman Movie," and "The Lego Ninjago Movie" are just a few of the mainstream movie titles that have been produced using the Lego name and concept. The characters, landscapes, and buildings are all based on the Lego style (see image below from "The Lego Movie"). On TV, you can watch your favorite episodes of "Lego Ninjago" and "Lego Jurassic World: Legend of Isla Nublar." Whichever platform you prefer (even streaming services provide Lego-themed movies and shows), there is no shortage of ways to enjoy movies and shows.
The LEGO Group also lends its name to video games. LEGO-themed video games date back to 1995 with "Lego Fun to Build" released on the Sega Pico. Since then, there have been 69 video games based on LEGO. Other video game titles include: "Lego Chess," "Lego Creator: Knights' Kingdom," "Lego Bionicle," "Lego City Undercover," "Lego Ninjago: Shadow of Ronin," "Lego The Lord of the Rings," "Lego Marvel Super Heroes," and "Lego DC Super-Villians." Much like TV series and movies, there is no shortage of Lego-themed video games to enjoy.
For those of you that just can't get enough of Lego, there is Legoland. The original Legoland opened near Ole Kirk Christiansen's first workshop in Billund, Denmark in 1968. There are currently 8 Legoland theme parks in operation throughout the world, which include: Denmark, California, Florida, Germany, the United Kingdom, Malaysia, Japan, and Dubai. There are 3 new Legoland parks slated to open in the next couple of years: New York in 2020, South Korea and Shanghai, China in 2022. You can book a stay at any of their locations and enjoy a number of amenities and attractions (think Disney World or Disney Land but the focus is solely on LEGO), including: water parks, spas, restaurants, rides, model villages, and so much more.
LEGO's official website first launched in 1996. It provides the Lego enthusiast with so much more than just online shopping. It allows users to shop, sign up for rewards, newsletters, and emails, download set templates, and watch videos among other things.
VIP is a free loyalty program that rewards users for being loyal customers. You can earn points for every purchase you make (online and/or in-store), unlock members-only discounts, get early access to LEGO Exclusive sets, and monthly promos and specials [for VIP members only]. You can also earn points by following the company on social media and writing product reviews. If you find yourself spending a ton of money on Lego's, why not get rewarded for being a customer?
Per the official LEGO website, "the free LEGO Life Magazine is for kids 5 to 9 years old. It's packed with comics, activities, posters, and lots of other engaging content, all delivered right to your home 4 times each year." If your child creates something out of their Lego's that you just have to share with the rest everyone, you can submit their work to LEGO Life Magazine. It could be featured in the "Cool Creations" section alongside works by other kids from around the country.
You can go to the Apple App Store and/or go to Google Play and download the LEGO Life App.
"Kids can get inspired, share their creations with other kids, find interactive building instructions, and much more in the LEGO Life App. All in a completely child-safe environment."
The LEGO Life App features Captain Safety, a character who educates kids on how to share, comment, and connect safely.
The Instructions PLUS tab on the official website allows the user to download digital, interactive building instructions [for selected Lego sets]. You can simply scan the QR code on the instruction booklet [in selected sets] to access Instructions PLUS. The instructions allows you to rotate, zoom in and out, and view your model in 3D. Whether you're a seasoned Lego veteran or a new builder, Instructions PLUS is sure to boost your self-confidence in building the best possible set.
You and/or your child can click over to the Kids Zone portion of the website. Here, it is geared specifically towards the young-ins. You can choose to filter the page into categories: Videos, Games, Characters, and Sets (the Home page already includes all of the categories). You can also choose to go straight to a specific theme, including: Lego Movie, Ninjago, Star Wars, Harry Potter, Disney, Jurassic World, and Minecraft [just to name a few].
"Find all the newest LEGO sets, videos, characters, and games in one place! Browse around our many products, see what's trending, watch one of our many cool videos, and play our fun webgames! Fun for hours!"