The Lego Christmas (and my fabulous Lego table)

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This fall, my oldest two boys just suddenly became very interested in Legos. They had gotten some Star Wars Lego sets for birthdays and liked those fine- but as Star Wars toys, not really as Legos.  Being 7 and 5, I suppose this is around the time that happens but up until now, my youngest (3) was the only one who played with Legos at all. As they all began to like them so much we realized we simply didn’t have enough; one little box of Lego’s someone had gotten a year ago that Seth exclusively played with and two Star Wars kits didn’t make many Legos.  They took apart their kits (elaborate air planes that took a very long time for Daddy to build) in order to build and create their own ideas.  Weekly their play with the Legos got more and more elaborate. Storylines developed, their interactions with each other grew. Loving Legos myself and especially loving that they were becoming friends and not just brothers, I got them a little playmat to share.

My personal issues with the Legos was they played them on our dining room table. Legos are a “table toy” and therefore that was a good, logical place for them to not get lost and be responsibly cleaned up, etc. However, we do school on our dining room table every day. (Yes, I made a beautiful school room out of our playroom…only to realize that didn’t work as well as I had hoped. We often do Science in there. Otherwise: dining room table is the place to teach and work and the playroom has reverted back to the place for Seth to play while we learn, a place for reading and playing after work is done and can be left messy when needed once more.) We also, of course, eat three meals and two or three snacks a day on this table. So the Legos are cleaned up and moved no less than FIVE times a day. The kids never complained. But as their elaborately built creations were broken apart just minutes after they’d finished them, I started to realize we needed a Lego spot.

At first I thought I’d buy an old table at one of our wonderful local junk stores. But the more I searched the more I realized 1. I didn’t want to spend that much on this project: table+tons of Lego mats=more than I wanted to spend and 2. many old tables I found had rounded corners and my original design just wouldn’t work with it. So, I decided to sacrifice my old dining room table from when we were a much smaller family (really from before I had a family at all) that I had recently refurbed (chalkboard paint on top- so cute) and was using outside on our big front porch. I’m so glad I did that.
TableNow, you must know, because of my illness and problems that have lasted far too long (we’re about 9 weeks in now but who is counting?), I was behind in working on this project. I started planning the Lego table back in, oh, October. The week of Christmas, the table looked like this I was a bit frustrated and worried.  I had bought Lego mats several times when I was without kids but once we started actually putting all this together realized we didn’t have enough. Initially I had planned for the entire top to be covered in Lego mats. But, our table would not fit them without a lot of cutting.
That just wasn’t going to happen….as we couldn’t find Lego mats anywhere in town and needed many more to do even a minimal design on top (again, last minute projects aren’t my favorite). I also don’t like the grey mats (sorry, I know, it’s supposed to be road or something but it’s not colorful and kind of blah).  So I ordered a bunch more green and blue mats from Amazon, promised to arrive by December 24th and we had to make the decision to make the table with less mats- and not covering the entire top. I was concerned if we had trouble cutting the mats or the glue didn’t work or some other problem arose, we would have no way to get more mats before Christmas morning.

And I desperately wanted them to have the table on Christmas morning.

For one because I’d planned it so long, two, I knew they’d love it, and three, it was a planned-out “Lego Christmas.” We had given multiple family members a specific set to buy the kids, we had purchased one each for them, my grandmother had bought them each one of those huge buckets of building Legos (thank goodness!) and I knew Santa was bringing a special set each for the big boys. We wanted them to get to play with these Legos in their own space, without having to move and take apart creations in order to eat or use the table for family games during their Christmas break. I was determined.

So I modified my design and played with the mats. Glued a few down and weighed them down with kitchen items and began painting the legs.

IMG_5375I really have a huge amount of varying paints from all the projects I’ve done this last year and still had the teal we used in the playroom. Coat #1 took place after a long day of being very sick. Coat #2 took place a couple days later on a night I’d spent 4 hours in the hospital having tests and being treated for more complications. I did the painting after my nightly IV meds. (It’s been a time, you guys.) I chose 7 colors and each side of a leg got a different color. Greg helped with Coat #2 on all of these colors.

The rest of the mats did come Christmas Eve (thank you, Amazon!) and finishing the table took no time at all. I followed another mom’s blog and used Elmer’s Glue-All (all-purpose) and it has worked great!! (I did weigh them down, just FYI, for about 20-30 mintues for each square.)

If you decide to make a Lego table the most important thing to know is that you CANNOT line up the mats flush against each other- they actually need a small gap in between for a Lego to fit across them.  We used Legos to attach the mats to each other and glued them while they were together so we knew for certain they were exactly right. This was so easy, you guys.

IMG_5410Going to bed Christmas night I was very excited to see their reactions to the table! Santa left all their special gifts from him on the table including the hard-to-find Minecraft Lego set for Adam and a super-awesome Star Wars set for Noah.

IMG_5459It was a big hit! Lily loves her Lego Friends sets she was given and the boys have done very well at sharing and interacting with each other with all their kits. It’s so fun to listen to them play there.

Once we moved the Legos into the playroom (and we rearranged it to work for the Lego center plus a shelf system that will allow for their sudden love of games and educational toys vs. baby things (growing up so fast)) we set up a shelf/bucket system from Target to hold and organize all our Legos. I plan to add some shelves above the buckets for them to “save” kits and creations.
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Here’s our Lego Christmas. Thank you to all our family who got the kids Legos (and other incredible gifts which, a few of which I will share in another post…like Kinetic Sand (oh my stars!))
Greg and I did a little “race” to see who could put together the most kits. Technically, I cheated because when I’m hooked up to my IV twice a day at two hours a pop, I can’t get up so I have a lot of time of sitting: perfect for putting together Lego kits.So I won. But with a “Barry Bonds Asterick” I suppose. Anyway, thanks! Merry Everything!!

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