Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Episode Four: Lego Ice Skating Rink

This was a big learning experience for me and I'll explain why further on. When I was young Lego put out a themed series of sets based on a fictional ice planet. That year their catalogue featured perfectly orchestrated scenes involving Lego men trapped in ice cubes and full landscapes of glistening ice. It goes without saying that those pages sparked my imagination.

Ice is a cheap, accessible and fascinating material to work with. It is abundant as you want it to be and, as those glossy pages of the catalogue proved, it can be manipulated in many ways. Case in point: The Lego Ice Skating Rink.

I originally saw this idea on Pinterest via this blog post and thought of my Lego-obsessed boys and my own ice fascination straight away.

It's dead simple: Fill a baking dish half full of water and put it in the freezer. Then, put Lego mini figures into a ice cube tray, standing up, fill with water then freeze.

I made a few variations on these instructions and I'm sure you and your children can come up with some others. First, I stored the tray in the freezer with one end propped up on a box of Popsicles. This created an ice ramp that the figurines could use as a jump. Very cool.

Now with these instructions hopefully that's pretty self-explanatory. It does take some prep, typically the night before and this is where I came unstuck.

The lesson I learnt here, and I guess this can be applied to most of the ideas, is: preparation is not a one man job.

You see, I thought that I would save my children the wait and freeze the tray and figurines the night before. Then I could show it to them using a 'Here are some I prepared earlier' scenario. I was worried that if I showed them the idea, then told them we had to wait overnight while the water froze, they would lose interest.

In business terms I had no buy in. The kids were not interested and had no investment in the idea. In bloke terms the idea died on its arse. Here's why: the night before I had gone through their mountain of Lego choosing out various Lego figurines who I thought would feature in the ice scape. Apparently I chose wrong. That makes sense. There is no way Zurg could have happily skated next to Woody and the Octan truck driver - I should have known that.

Children don't like things sprung on them. This is why we tell them that we're leaving in ten minutes. Or let them know how long they have to play until bed time. We know that if we drop something like that on them, they start to act up. These kids were put out by the fact that this awesome activity was thrust upon them. They wanted more say in how this idea was laid out and I can't fault them for it.

Now I'm not saying you have to run every single thing you do together past them. But, when its a cool idea that will inspire play, their input can really help secure their participation.I'll be keeping this in mind moving forward.

Have fun!


  1. I love the way you write, Abraham.
    I also think we should have a take-two on this one. I think the boys would be keen as.

    1. Why thank you, Rhiannon.

      I thought the same thing as I was editing this post last night. Let's do it!