It’s not that I need more kid-friendly project ideas from magazines, web sites and blogs, I just need a filter for them. Thanks to Nana, who applies an eagle eye and information sorting ability, the best ideas percolate to the top. The filter measures: 1. Will it make life or daily tasks more functional, manageable or organized? 2. Does it provide for learning or offer pure enjoyment? 3. Is it affordable? 4. Can it be done in an afternoon or reasonable amount of time?
When Nana came for a visit recently with a page ripped right from the latest issue of Disney’s Family Fun magazine, I knew she meant business. It started with a pitch to my 6-yr-old son, Calvin, about the idea. Would he like to create a table that housed his thousands of Lego parts by color, topped off by large working board for building and displaying his Lego creations? Silly Nana, of course, Yes! I seconded the motion that landed all of the lego parts in a huge pile in the middle of the floor for sorting. Super-time consuming Step 1 took 3-5 sorters working for 2-3 hours each. Luckily we also had the help of the Lego separator tool – saves on the teeth.
This was more involved than one afternoon. With sorting complete from the day prior, we were ready to shop for the clear drawer carts. We started at The Container Store which proved pricey (about 4 times the price of the product we eventually ended up with) and not quite the right size, yet full of pre-packaged Lego-branded solutions and containers. The yellow Lego head jars were $20. Cute, but only plastic. We also checked out Bed, Bath and Beyond with no luck. Surprisingly, we walked into our next prospect, Home Depot, went directly to the storage aisle and found 2 four-drawer carts with casters that were the near-perfect size at a very right price ($17 each).
Dare we venture into the electrical aisle to find electrical tape? Yes, there it was. We picked up a 5 pack of white, blue, green, red and yellow (on the narrow side) and a wider roll of orange ($8 total). We bypassed the black and brown options. The tape was for labeling the legos by drawer. A step not to be skipped.
A few other errands sprinkled into the search made for a 3-hour outing and as expected, Calvin was eagerly anticipating our return and those perfect drawers for his Legos. We got started immediately, selecting from the 4 large and 4 small drawers for colors. Black and grey were together- - so many of these (due to StarWars Lego sets) that they warranted a large drawer. White, red and the accessories (wheels, etc) took up the remaining 3 large; while brown/tan/orange, yellow, blue and green filled the four small drawers. We also bought four small tray dividers at Target to place in the drawers ($14 total) for the ultra small pieces.
Calvin put all of the eletrical tape on – it was very forgiving and we lifted it up a few times to get the lines as straight as possible. The next step will be to take the 3 gray flat lego boards (purchased at Lego MOA the day prior at $14 each) and attach them via bluedot to a white melemime board (in the meantime a makeshift foam core board is standing in). The board (most likely a trip to Home Depot for Papa this week) will be reversable with a non-stick skid-proof paper attached to drawer cart tops to hold it all safely in place.
To replicate the chair in the magazine photo, a mod-looking one with silver legs and a bright-orange seat, we’ll be making a trip to IKEA with high hopes. The only remaining add I can think of not covered in the Family Fun feature is a place/stand to hold the instructions for the current project being work on. After all, we went to great lengths to archive the box covers and instructions in two 3-inch binders.
Are we finally organized Lego-wise? $98 dollars later (plus $12 for a board and $20 for the chair we have yet to add), I’d say it was worth the effort. Anything to keep the Legos contained and out of my vacuum cleaner.