I don’t know what your kids are like, but mine sometimes struggle with getting out bunches of toys and then not doing anything with them except acting wild. I have named this phenomenon “toy dumping.”

Toy dumping is when they pour out bucket after bucket of toys looking for something fun to do. They get out all the Little People and play with them for 2 minutes. Then they get out something else. They play with that for 2 minutes. Then they go back to the Little People and instead of playing with them, someone drives a toy truck through the whole mess, sending little parts flying in all directions. A brother laughs at the destruction, and the wildness grows…

Here is something that has helped us, especially with LEGO®’s:

Lego Timed Building Game

When it seems like all the boys are doing with LEGO®’s is using a toy backhoe loader to scatter them all over the place, it’s time for this game!

I give everyone a small pile of Legos. Mainly basic blocks. Dad and I play along.

Then we announce the object to be built in this round of the game. We can only use the pieces in our piles! Today, round one was a vehicle. When I announce that time is up, we all show what we have built.

They come up with amazingly creative constructions with very few blocks! It’s fun to see what everyone has built.

Round 2 was an animal. This is my duck next to Gresham’s (age 3) blue alligator.

Aidan (age 7) made a giraffe in the animal round.

After two rounds of the game, the boys had all kinds of ideas of things that they could build, and they happily (and calmly!) built with LEGO®’s until it was time to go out to the grocery store.

Ideas for more building rounds:

  • A dinosaur
  • A bridge
  • A flower
  • An alphabet letter
  • A tree
  • A snake
  • A dog
  • A chair
  • The tallest possible structure with the blocks you have
  • Something to wear (not to actually wear – just a model)
  • An ocean animal
  • A house
  • A boat
  • A dragon

For preschoolers, use duple LEGO®’s, and it will work just as well.

LEGO® is a trademark of the LEGO® group of companies which does not sponsor, authorize, or endorse this site.


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  1. Cathy Aug 13, 2010

    I learned from another Veteran Lego Mom that you keep a blanket or sheet with the legos. You always keep legos on the sheet, and clean-up is easy.

  2. The Activity Mom Nov 10, 2012

    Great idea! I just posted how I made a Lego Christmas Countdown for my son.


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