What Residents Do When You Put LEGOⓇ Bricks in Front of Them

This is super interesting and fascinating because you don’t know what’s going to happen. First, off one of 2 things happen. Either they grab bricks and start building or they don’t know what to think. Most residents we build with are 80 years old and older. This generation did not have LEGOⓇ bricks growing up. The LEGOⓇ Group of Companies has only been around for 60 years. Some residents might have played with LEGOⓇ bricks with their grandchildren but most have not.

During our sessions, we never force anyone to build. I believe this is never the way to entice someone to play, instead, I encourage them to keep us company, join in the conversation, and watch how others build. Eventually, most join in.

What’s interesting are the 3 groups of builders that emerge; The Sorters, The Builders, and the Designers or Organizers. There are a few other types of builders but these 3 are the main ones I will talk about today.

The Builder
The Builder loves building towers and stacking bricks on top of one another. Sometimes it is balanced other times it isn’t. They simply enjoy putting bricks on top of bricks. Sometimes it’s with a purpose, other times it’s not. I love the builders. They are not afraid to try a new connection or to stack up high. Most men tend to build this way but I’ve had many women choose to build this way too.

The Sorters
The Sorters will sit and sort out all the colors and put them in piles and build with them or they will choose one color and build something out of the collection of all the parts in that color. Like the women on the right. She pulled out all the red pieces and built her animal. She was so proud of what she built here.

Personally, I love to sort LEGOⓇ bricks. There is something truly satisfying when you take a bucket of bricks and sort out the different parts and colors. It is usually how my inspiration hits after I’ve had time to sort and see what kind of pieces I have to work with.

The Organizers or Designers
Other residents are fascinated with our collection of LEGOⓇ Minifigures and accessories. Most residents in this category love to line them up and talk to them or create little dioramas with the animals. It’s really a beautiful thing to see.

One woman had two rows of male characters lined up facing each other. I asked her if she wanted a female or animal. She said no because her boys were playing football in front of a talent scout for the NFL. I was stunned. This woman had refused to play with us until that week. She said it was important for her to build with a story and what a story she came up with. I was blown away.

(Bonus) Cross their arms & say “I don’t play with toys!”
We’ve had many residents who say: “I don’t play with toys” or “I don’t play games.” I think this type of attitude is so sad. I tend to ask them what does bring them joy? Most do not have an answer for me so I say, please come join us and keep us company. We promise we won’t bite 😉

The funny thing is that they almost always join in. Some take longer than others but once they see everyone having a good time laughing and having fun, they usually want to at least try. I think they initially refuse because they don’t understand what is happening. They didn’t grow up with LEGOⓇ bricks and it just looks like a kids toy. But, once they realize it’s fun and it feels fulfilling to build something with your hands… they immediately jump in.

Pretty cool stuff, right?

-Patty Sherin

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