Brick by brick: LEGO addicts use imaginations to build

2014-06-08T08:00:00Z Brick by brick: LEGO addicts use imaginations to buildJennifer Pallay Times Correspondent
June 08, 2014 8:00 am  • 

Four-year-old Westin Hahn's love of LEGOs inspired his family to throw him a LEGO themed birthday party complete with a LEGO brick cake and custom centerpieces, gift bags and balloons put together by mom, Alina. Dad, Kris Hahn has also fostered his son's growing hobby by building Westin a LEGO table that folds off the wall. It soon filled with LEGOs and he has since built a LEGO toy box to take care of the overflow.

The Valparaiso family has even visited LEGOLAND Discovery Center in Schaumburg, which features small rides and a 4-D movie, Kris said.

The indoor family park has more than three million LEGO bricks and nine attractions including Master Builder Academy, LEGO Factory Tour and MINILAND featuring iconic Chicago landmarks.

Westin's LEGO love began a few years ago when he started playing with the Duplo brand of larger bricks at age 2.

By 3, he started to understand the concepts better and in the last six months, his imagination has taken off.

Kris said he does a lot of projects around the house and that Westin wanted to have his own projects to do. 

"He likes doing buildings and airplanes," Kris said. He also loves the Ninjago series and its different vehicles.

Five-year-old Liam Boyle, of Highland, is another kid who loves to create. He said he has been playing with LEGOs since he was around 3 years old and loves that he can build anything he wants.

Favorite projects include Batman's jet, the Penguin's boat and the Joker's steamroller that was a 500 piece set, he said.

A family visit to Walt Disney World of course meant a stop at the LEGO store. Mom, Katie Boyle said Liam loved the store more than Disney and did not want to leave for lunch.

"I really did like that. There was a bunch of LEGOs," Liam said.

For his sixth birthday, his family is planning a trip to LEGOLAND Discovery Center where Liam hopes to get the Batman: Arkham Asylum Breakout set complete with "about 8,000 pieces," he said.

"I really do like the really big sets because they always have mini figures," Liam said. 

“That’s his favorite part is the guys. He loves all the guys, he carries them with him everywhere he goes," Katie said. He also enjoys putting his creations on display on his family's coffee table, she said. When the pieces aren't being used for a project, Liam organizes them by size and color with a special bin for "weird pieces."

"It will have strange shaped pieces that only fit that set. Then he makes things out of the weird pieces." Playing with LEGOs keeps him busy and content for hours, she said. "I’d so much rather him do that than watch TV or play video games. Everybody jokes that he’s my future engineer."

Eight-year-old Simon Nirenberg, of Munster, said he loves the challenge and creativity of building with LEGOs. He cannot remember his first set because he has so many but his favorite sets are those centered around the Star Wars saga. He has built 52 Star Wars sets to date. 

He said he loves “that the sets are always getting better. They get closer to how they look in the movies. The sets and the mini-figures both have more details now than the old sets did.”

The newest ones are always favorites because "the old ones get boring after I play with them for so long.  I’ve already tested out all the features. They always seem cooler when they are new."

He has visited the LEGOLAND Discovery Center, where he loved the build-your-own-racecar section, and plans to attend Brickworld this year, where he looks forward to seeing all the big cities on display.

Brickworld is a LEGO display and exposition with displays, interactive activities and vendors. It will be in the Chicago area next weekend, June 14 and 15.

He said other kids going to Brickworld should, "Always bring a camera – you’re gonna want to remember everything you saw. Always bring a water bottle; there aren’t many water fountains. Never forget your tickets."

Eight-year-old Brayden Donaldson, of Griffith, loves LEGOs because "you can make anything out of them."

He said he asks for LEGOs at Christmas, Easter and his birthday and has eight bins of LEGOs, as well as LEGO bed sheets and blankets. He has visited the LEGOLAND Discovery Center with his mom and dad and his summer camp.

"I liked it a lot. My favorite part was the roller coaster ride," he said. "I wish I could make the huge Lego statues they have at the Lego stores and the Discovery Center."

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