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Lego Story

Three out of every four of our homes have them. Some are concealed in sofas and vacuum cleaners. Others are hidden in carpets, only to be discovered – painfully – by bare-footed parents. Most of them are in the crisp innocent colours of the Dutch painter Mondrian. All of them fit together with a uniquely satisfying feel and sound.

They are, of course, Lego bricks. If your box of them is buried beneath a pile of white elephants for the garage sale, similar blocks can be viewed in awesome constructions, and destructions, at a cinema near you. The Lego Movie is, in more ways than one, a block-buster.

But where does Lego come from? It emerged from the skilled hands and sharp mind of a Danish carpenter-entrepreneur, Ole Kirk Christiansen, who had a love for children and believed in the value of play. He began in 1932 making and selling wooden ducks but turned his tools to wooden bricks when he decided that the best kind of toys are those that can be built, and then rebuilt. Stimulating creativity and imagination, they help develop character.

Ole encapsulated this philosophy in the name of his new company – 'Lego' – which is a fusion of leg godt, meaning 'play well' in Danish, and 'I study' or 'I put together' in Latin. But it took an incident with his son for him to decide on the company's motto.

One day, Ole's son and employee Godtfred proudly announced he had cut costs by dispatching a consignment of wooden toys he had painted with only two coats of varnish, rather than three. Far from pleased, his father sent him to the train station to retrieve the toys and finish the job.

The motto that now formed in Ole's mind was vigorously embraced by Godtfred when he inherited the company's helm, and it is still used as the Lego Group's slogan: 'only the best is good enough'. This idea inspired Ole's passionate belief that Lego was more than a toy, but a creative and integrated system. Each new set of bricks fitting the old, children found their imaginations fired by unlimited creativity. This is the creativity that animates the film and inspires the growing millions of child devotees and AFOLs – adult fans of Lego. Bearing the hallmark of a master builder, it stimulates what can best be described as godly play

Peter Heslam

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toys that stimulate creativity and imagination help develop character

only the best is good enough