How to Be a Master Builder Mom When You Suck at LEGO

I am upping my LEGO-building skills and finally enjoying playing with these classic bricks with my son! My secret? DK Books Build Your Own Adventure!!

We received some books in exchange for this post.

I loved playing with LEGO when I was a kid. I worked with the traditional 4×2 and 2×2 bricks, building sprawling ranchers for my mini figures. There was never anything architecturally astonishing about my work. We had a big old box of standard-sized bricks with an occasional building set with a decidedly domestic theme thrown in, and I built run-of-the-mill, rectangular houses. I had a small farm, a speed boat, an ice cream shop, a pizza parlour and a camper van if I recall correctly. And once I built those items, they stayed built. I was never one to disassemble a model and improve upon it.

Cub’s entire LEGO collection is from the DC and Marvel Super Heroes collection. As soon as they’re home from the LEGO store, he and his Papa are sprawled out on the living room floor, building an elaborate vehicle with accessories known as Cosmic Cubes and Hulk Busters. And then he breaks them into smithereens.

So when Cub asks me to play LEGO with him, I am faced with this:

How to Be a Master Builder Mom When You Suck at Lego

Aside from putting Hawkeye’s hair on Falcon’s body, I just don’t know what to do with these LEGO pieces! There are tons of pieces, but they’re all so … fancy! I haven’t got a clue how to combine them to make any semblance of a vehicle or shelter, or, as Cub puts it, “Something cool.”

If I’ve learned anything from Super Why, I know that if I’ve got a problem, I have to look … in a BOOK! A DK LEGO Build Your Own Adventure Book!

How to Be a Master Builder Mom When You Suck at Lego

I gave Cub the LEGO Star Wars Build Your Own Adventure book for his birthday. It comes with a mini figure and a small vehicle. Building something according to instructions, when all the pieces are right in front of me, is totally something I can handle, so we built the Y-Wing immediately.


The first pages of the book are instructions to build the Y-Wing, and then you get into the “Build Your Own Adventure” part. Since kids have different LEGO pieces in their collection, the book doesn’t give detailed instructions but rather inspiration to create vehicles and buildings from the Star Wars universe.


When we sat down to play LEGO with the Build Your Own Adventure Book, it was the first time I really enjoyed building LEGO with my son. I found myself wishing Little Miss would keep herself occupied more efficiently with her Duplo so I could keep building.


Thanks to the book, I had guidelines! I had inspiration! I understood how to work with the seemingly random pieces in Cub’s LEGO box! I made a snazzy vehicle for Captain Iron Spider based on the Snow Speeder Bike. We didn’t have the exact same pieces of course, but it gave us somewhere to start.


Cub, who doesn’t really need a book to come up with cool LEGO structures, built this communication station:


We used LEGO as a wind-down activity before bed the other night, and we found a new challenge—a Pilot’s Bunk! We worked on it together, and I found myself getting kind of bossy since I had a specific vision for this dormitory that Cub was not respecting. I had fun. And this is coming from someone who typically finds it mind-numbingly boring to play with Cub and his toys.


So there you have it: I’m on my way to becoming a Master Builder. I love showing Cub how even though we don’t have the exact same pieces in the examples, we can use them as templates to create our own models. Finally, I love LEGO again!

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