Sometimes being a parent can make you feel really stupid, and it also presents you with the opportunity to see how much you really don’t know about anything. I wrote a post awhile back titled 1,000,000 Questions a Day. It was about all the questions I get asked throughout a day (the latest being about Legos…I’ll explain in a minute…) that make me feel really inadequate and uneducated.
Remember back in the day before the internet when your parents would tell you to go look it up in an encyclopedia when you asked a question they didn’t know? Well, nowadays we have all the answers at the click of a few keys. My brother’s girlfriend is famous for Googling anything and everything that comes up in a conversation that we either (a) don’t know the answer to or (b) are arguing about. She’s so famous in our family that we now say “Where’s Candice? She’ll Google it!” when we have a question. And when she’s not around we say “I wish Candice was here! She’d Google it. Who has their phone so they can do it?”
Google and the internet are wonderful things…and make you feel a little less stupid if you use it with the kids to answer questions. Are we as a society smarter now because of these tools? Maybe. More inquisitive? Absolutely. Because we can always find the answer.
So when Ethan approached his dad the other day and asked him “How are Legos made?”, Jason hopped right on the internet and found the answer. The story behind Legos is actually pretty interesting.
I figure if my son is asking, lots of other kids are asking about where and how Legos are made too. So here are the answers.
What Does Lego Mean?
The Lego Group began in the workshop of Ole Kirk Christiansen (born 7 April 1891), a carpenter from Billund, Denmark, who began making wooden toys in 1932. In 1934, his company came to be called “Lego”, from the Danish phrase leg godt, which means “play well”.
What Are Legos Made Out Of?
Again, from Wiki:
In 1958, the modern brick design was developed, and it took another five years to find the right material for it, ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) polymer. Before they used ABS they used a plastic called Cellulose Acetate. The modern Lego brick was patented on 28 January 1958, and bricks from that year are still compatible with current bricks.
Where Are Legos Made?
From Wiki (again):
Manufacturing of Lego bricks occurs at a number of locations around the world. Moulding is done in Billund, Denmark; Nyíregyháza, Hungary; and Monterrey, Mexico. Brick decorations and packaging is done at plants in Denmark, Hungary, Mexico and Kladno in the Czech Republic. The Lego Group estimates that in the course of five decades it has produced some 400 billion Lego blocks. Annual production of Lego bricks averages approximately 36 billion per year, or about 1140 elements per second. If all the Lego bricks ever produced were to be divided equally among a world population of six billion, each person would have 62 Lego bricks. According to an article in BusinessWeek in 2006, Lego could be considered the world’s No. 1 tire manufacturer; the factory produces about 306 million small rubber tires a year.
How Are Legos Made?
If you go to the Lego website, you will find a very boring response that no kid (at least not a 6 year old) would be willing to sit through while you both try to read through the entire thing and explain it (What are granules? What does automated mean? What’s a mould?) at the same time. We read it, but Ethan still didn’t get it. So we found this very cool video on You Tube!
See? Much easier (and more fun!) for a kid to understand. So the next time your kid asks you about Legos, you’ve got all kinds of information to share!
And if you have a Legos-obsessed kid like I do, you’ll definitely want to visit Legoland if you ever get the chance. It’s really a pretty amazing place, and fun for the whole family.