I love LEGOs. My brother's sprawling city (including space station) snapped together on six folding tables was a child's wonderland, with the highlight being the 'snow' (soap flakes) we'd douse it with every winter. While the bottom line is better than ever, corporate changes are sending this toymaker in a new direction.
LEGO has clout as an educational toy, inspiring creativity, invoking learning. It also has a reputation as a green toy, and is listed in publications including Mark Batty Publisher's Green Design, which lauds it for safety and longevity--LEGOs are often passed down to the next generation instead of tossed into a landfill. The company has even introduced products like LEGO recycling trucks that teach kids how to be green-conscious early.
So why is this firm suddenly going gadget-crazy? Beginning this fall, LEGO will roll-out LEGO Electronics from Digital Blue. Including digital cameras, MP3 players, boomboxes, the line is all made out of the signature plastic bricks. From a tech-stand point, they don't seem to be anything special: Simple, cheap, a bit bulky, and not exactly option-packed.
But really, it's a bit sad to note that a major part of this company's appeal was left on the drawing board. Will they last long? No, gadgets in their very nature have a shorter lifespan than most products on the market. Will they educate? Well, not in a field that our kids are particularly lacking education in. Will they inspire creativity? Photographers, musicians, you never know, but future architects...probably not.
Here's to being a traditionalist, and hoping the signature plastic brick will continue to thrive.
More on LEGO From TreeHugger and Planet Green
Building a House, One Lego at a Time
Lego: Fun and Green!
New Book on Best Green Products
The Week's Best DIY Projects, June 26-July 2: A $10 Wedding Dress and Lego Security
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