Legos & Other Building Bricks

Parent Q&A

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  • How do you store your Lego?

    (7 replies)

    Hello,

    We have been storing our Lego in an Ikea system of 6 drawers, sorted by color. But we are quickly outgrowing this, and I am looking for creative ways to store Lego in a way that is easy to access. I  also would love solutions that facilitate a cleaner building space, i.e. organized so kids don't need to dump out a big pile to search for the piece they need. : )

    What has worked for your family?

    Thanks in advance!

    We use 1 gallon zip loc bags stored in [wherever]

    One can spot target colors /pieces before dumping a whole bin etc

    We use this bulk storage container. The big advantage is that the parachute/cord system lets them dump everything and spread it out on the parachute out and then clean it  up in like 3 seconds. There’s no way to organize by color but we love it! https://creativeqt.com/collections/toy-storage-organization/products/sli...

    The eternal question! I don't know if there's a perfect solution, because they all come down to whether your kids will use the system you create, but here's what (mostly) worked for us with 3 Lego fanatics in the house: 1) clear plastic shoe boxes for each color of "regular" bricks - 1x1s, 2x6s, etc. - labeled with the color name; 2) clear plastic tackle boxes (the kind with the latching flip-up lid and adjustable compartments - Plano Stowaways are nice) for smaller and unusual parts - we have a compartment full of Lego hats, one full of weapons, one full of gems, etc; 3) a larger bin or tray where things go when they don't fit in other categories, when we needed to clean up quickly and didn't have time for a fancy sort, or when kids didn't quite want to take them apart yet. We used a bookcase with shelves set just tall enough for the shoe boxes to slide in - you can fit in a lot that way and it's easy to see what's what  I'm not a big plastic person, but clear plastic is a life-saver here because even if it's all in one bin, you can lift it up and look at what's sunk down to the bottom - my kids for some reason used to take the hands and heads off their minifigs and that's how we'd find them (well, that and vacuuming...). My kids were good at sorting the bricks by color, less good about putting special pieces back in the right compartments, but sometimes when I needed a moment of peace I'd just pull out the random bin and sort all the pieces back to where they belonged while they were building alongside me - it gave me a sense of accomplishment, anyway. :) Having a large tray with sides to build on worked out well - it keeps all the little pieces contained, and is easy to pick up and move if you need the floor or table back, need to get it away from a younger sibling, etc. And if they do need to dump, put down a sheet first so you can corral everything. I know some people like to build on a cloth with a drawstring and then just pull it all together when they put it away, but I think that makes it hard to find what you're looking for, especially if you have a lot of Lego.

    Your system actually sounds great.  Ours has a variation with plastic bins with lids with types of stuff - wheels, windows etc.  I have two big kids and one little.  In the 6-15 year range I was constantly surprised by how “ strangely satisfying” dumping out categories was so we focused on putting away during builds more than leaving in the boxes 100% of the time.  

    We use those IKEA drawers that everyone seems to have, but we sort by function, not color. I know some people sort by color but it has never worked for us. So we sort our pieces by: People, Rectangular Bricks and Plates, Buildings, Vehicles, and Misc. Under "People" I include anything a Lego person might wear or hold, like hats, cups, etc, under "Buildings" I put anything that looks like it belongs in a Lego house, like doors, windows, slides, fireplaces, etc etc etc. And obviously, "Misc" ends up being a huge drawer, because this involves anything that doesn't fit into the other categories. I also have a big bin for half constructed creations, and a lot of those big flat Baseplates so when the kids build something, I can just move the whole baseplate with the creation stuck to it, and put it somewhere else. We do have a rule that creations will get taken apart after a while and go back into the bins.

    Plastic drawer units and small screw-sorting or fishing-tackle containers from a hardware store (something like Plano brand if you are googling).    Measure your drawers and buy inner sorting containers  that fit well in the drawer, and that are a standard brand so you can buy more of the exact same containers over time.  Our drawers have loose lego in them,  Some drawers have a sorting box or ziplock bags in the drawer, on top of the lego.   Having a supply of mini-ziplock bags is also helpful for this (Daiso, the Japanese dollar store, is a good place to buy the mini ziplocks, or you might check Berkeley Ace Hardware). 

    For mixed random lego, Always sort by function, not by color.    The easiest way to get started with this is the 5 basic categories: Bricks, Plates, Technic, People/Special and "Everything else". Or even Just pulling out bricks and plates as a first round is quick and satisfying.  You can always tune these larger groups into subcategories later if your collection grows and it seems appropriate.  No matter what, you will still have an "everything else" category and an unsorted bin.  If you want to add more categories, try: Clear, Circular, Printed, Vehicle Parts, Hinges, Slopes, Tiles, Favorite Pieces, House&Garden etc.    Keeping clear pieces like windows and windshields separate from the rest can help to keep them from getting all scratched up.   

    Also you will have sets or themes that you want to keep together-ish.   The easiest way to do that is to have a stack of bins or shoeboxes that are sorted not necessarily by set, but by by theme - like Harry Potter or Star Wars, Superheroes, Vehicles, Friends, City, etc.     Doing this makes it more likely to rebuild a set, and gives you a good category for important themed pieces. 

    If you want a good laugh, do a google search for the classic Lugnet article, "The evolution of LEGO sorting"  2001, by Remy Evard.  

    I just posted separately about our organizing system, but for "cleaner building space"  find a tablecloth or a throw blanket that works well with whatever surface you play on.  Use that as the dumping-out spot.  It will keep the lego cleaner without all the hair and stuff from the floor, and when you want to clean up, just pick up the corners of the blanket and pour everything back into the bin.    Also, if you regularly buy yogurt or soup or deli items or something in plastic containers, wash and save them so you will have a good stack of uniform-sized containers for pre-sorting Lego. 

  • MagnaTiles or Connetix

    (1 reply)

    I am trying to decide between magna tiles and connetix. I have heard some people say Connetix works better. Any experience/ recommendations? Also, how many tiles would you recommend? 

    MagnaTiles, hands down. They are the toy that keeps on giving! Super fun for toddlers, older kids, even parents! We are actually VERY happy with the brand called PicassoTiles (sold on Amazon) as opposed to the "Brand name" MagnaTiles - they're all compatible, but the PicassoTiles are a bit more affordable, and really well-reviewed. 

    https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B00AU56C5W/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

     For 2 kids, we now have 2 sets of 100 tiles, plus another fun 42-pack of different shapes... I'd start with at LEAST a 100-pack. 

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Questions

Magna-tiles - where to buy?

Nov 2011

I want to buy a large set of Magna-tiles for my kids (100 piece set) but was kind of shocked at the price, around $100 through Amazon. Does anyone know of a better price, or is this what I'll have to pay? anon


I think that's the going rate. They're expensive, but it's one of the best things I have ever bought for my kids. We've had them for 4 years, and they still get played with everyday, by all three of my kids. My oldest has been playing with them since he was three, and hasn't aged out of them at all. Go for it! super fan


Son putting Legos into his mouth to get them apart

Aug 2009

My son and daughter have been having a Lego summer; my son puts the Legos in his mouth to get them apart---it feels unsafe and slobbery to me. Any ideas for a tool that can help get them apart? Kristine


My 9 year old was reading the BPN post with me and wanted to let your kids (and you) know that there is a device that Lego stores sell that helps you pry apart Legos. He says, ''It's green with a triangular part and a flat end and you push down with it and you pry them apart.'' He's not sure what the name is, but is sure it's there. Hope this helps! Mom of a helpful 9 year old


Lego sells a brick separator that works really well IF you can get your kids to use it and IF you can keep track of it. I had one for each of my kids , but ... Check http://shop.lego.com/ByCategory/Product.aspx?p=630&cn=266&d=203 linda


You can buy a Brick Separator tool from Lego for under $2: http://shop.lego.com/ByCategory/Product.aspx?p=630&cn=266&d=203 Of course, with shipping it's not worth ordering online unless you're getting other stuff as well, but maybe one of the local stores that carries Legos (like Sweet Dreams on College) could special order it for you? I think about getting one every time my kids bring me Legos to pry apart! Lego Mama


You can buy a lego separator tool from the online lego store. There's also a nice little video describing how to use it. I'd recommend buying two. Lego Fan


The Lego Store has a tool that only costs a few bucks. It works great! Lego mom too


Legos with Girl Figures

2001

My daughter is graduating from duplos to legos and she wants little figures to use with the legos. The only figures I could find were boys/men and she wants girls/women or some mixture of figures that includes a reasonable number of girls. Does anyone know of a store that has these? Carol


There are a few lines of Lego products which are sold in stores in Europe (well at least Italy) and not here. One of them is called Belville and has a fairy tale theme. There are Lego dolls too. You can buy them directly at www.lego.com. Luigi


To the person looking for girl type legos. We were just in Disneyland, at the Lego store in Downtown Disney they had sets of princess themed girl legos in pink, purple, beige, etc. colors, with castle and princess accessories. I have never seen them in other stores, but maybe Lego has a website, or phone number you can call, and maybe order them. Hope this helps, Lynn


This URL might help you find some products: http://www.lego.com/legofinder/girlsspecial.asp You can also check this URL for a Minnie Mouse Lego kit: http://shop.lego.com/ProductInfo.asp?product_number=4165 The latter can be found at Wal-Mart or Target. The special girls products may have to be ordered directly from Lego since I haven't found them at retail. Some of the boys kits have girl figurines but they can be hard to distinguish.


In the Lakeshore catalog, they have a Lego Community People set (LG9293) which looks to be a mix of males and females doing various jobs plus their tools. The closest Lakeshore is in San Leandro, but you could also try www.lakeshorelearning.com. Good luck. Kitrena


I would tell my daughter that the Legos figures ARE girls. How do we know they aren't? If you believe girls can do all the things boys (and Legos) do, its just a matter of whether or not they wear pants to do them. OK, the pirates with facial hair are definitely male....(aren't they?) We were recently at the Lego store at Disneyland and I was tickled to see that the crowd at the primary colors Lego table was about 50/50 boys/girls -- and that EVERYONE was avoiding the girl table (ie PINK and light blue emphasis). Good luck! Heather


Radio Flyer wagons

From: Diana (10/98)

Rockridge Kids sells Radio Flyer wagons new - but they're pretty expensive.