Constructing Creativity

Mary Beth Willard

My toddler concentrates mightily, his tiny brow furrowed, his tongue poking ever so slightly out of the corner of his mouth. He fails to acknowledge my entry to the playroom, nor does he notice when I sit next to him cross-legged on the floor. His eyes lock on to each LEGO® DUPLO® square in turn as he deliberately presses them into a single layer on a flat green board. After several minutes, he looks up, startles as he notices me, and then breaks into a grin. “Mommy,” he says, “I made you a pie!”

The pie is his first LEGO creation, and my heart swells with parental pride, but I would be lying if I said that such pride had not been leavened with a tiny scoop of self-congratulation. My spouse and I had ensured that one of his first toys was LEGO DUPLO because we believe, like many parents I know, that playing with LEGO encourages creativity. And look! It works! The moment of self-congratulation passes as my son encourages me to eat the pie, because as I dutifully pretend to nom away on raspberries (red bricks), blueberries (blue bricks), and bananas (you get the pattern), I wonder why the belief that LEGO contributes to creativity is so pervasive.

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