As you might know, LEGO Play Day (or in this case, week), is going on, during which LEGO employees are encouraged to rediscover "play" and gain inspiration. Recently our internal communications team reached out to a small group of AFOLs to discuss how they "play". The article was shared internally and I wanted to share it here as well.
Article by Giovanna Devoraes Rossin.
Just like kids, our adult fans (AFOLs) should be our role models. They spend a big part of their lives playing.
We talked with three AFOLs to understand why it’s important to keep playing even as an adult – and perhaps get inspired to bring more play and fun, beyond this week, to our daily lives.
Richard Jones: “When people don’t understand my hobby, I explain that it’s like being a football fan, except without the football, or 10 pages in the newspaper. Then they get it.”
Training creativity to overcome work puzzles
Richard Jones, a self-described ‘child of the 70’s and 80’s’ based in Australia, relies on play to turn away the pressure of everyday life and maintain his creativity sharp and ready for work challenges.
“As an anaesthesiologist, when you have a limited time to get to know a patient before their surgery, it’s important to be able to build rapport and put them at ease quickly. This might require some creative solutions and keeping creativity and playfulness in training in the off hours helps to come to these solutions a little faster”.
It was Richard’s children who helped him rekindle his childhood passion for the bricks but now he’s the most enthusiastic in the family. In recent years, he has travelled to showcase his ‘My Own Creations’ (MOCs) around Australia, Japan, and Portugal, and since 2016 he maintains The Rambling Brick blog.
Fun against university stress and homesickness
Unlike many AFOLs that enjoyed LEGO® sets in their childhood, Krista Simpson only discovered the benefits of mindfulness-based building when she reached university.
“LEGO play definitely became important in my life during my university years – I had moved far from home, I lived alone, and university was stressful. In fact, it was such a useful tool that I continued to build with LEGO bricks when I carried on to a different university for my graduate degree.”
After a brief hiatus during which Krista got into the working world — and fell for “the false idea that being adult means you can no longer play” — she rediscovered LEGO fun and co-founded MILUG (Mid Island LEGO User Group) in Canada in 2016, hosting monthly build nights with other playful adults.
Feeling like a child again
To Luis Escalante, ambassador of Ticolug, the first and only Recognised LEGO User Group in Costa Rica, “LEGO hobby brings out the child inside us, lets our imagination fly at any level we want, and allows us to see our life easier – like a simple brick.”
Coming from a country where many people don’t have access to LEGO bricks, Luis and the local AFOL community organise at least one charity event every year. In 2019, they exhibited their MOCs and collections at the National Children’s Hospital to bring happiness to the kids, doctors, and families.
Luis’ dream came true last year when he visited Billund with his wife to celebrate his 35th birthday. “Having fun in LEGOLAND®, LEGO House, and being in front of the house where this ‘crazy’ hobby began was the most amazing thing that ever happened to me. I really felt like a kid again and the feeling was exactly the same as when I received my first LEGO toy.”
Edited by Sara Skahill