LEGO instructions 1974

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[twitter]There’s no such thing as girl toys or boy toys. Toys are toys. It’s something that was understood in the 70s, but seemed to fade away for 30 or 40 years as the pinkification of the princess movement transformed the girls’ aisles while weapons and super heroes migrated to the boys’ aisles.

Toy stores set up clear lines of segregation in their stores trying to identify toys as for boys or for girls. Even LEGO got in on the game when they announced their LEGO Friends line in 2011.

LEGO Friends was created to help LEGO capture “the other 50 per cent of the world’s children.” Except they already had them.

Look at the LEGO ads from 1981. Before the era of rabid licensing (which, truth be told, saved the company from extinction), LEGO was a universal toy loved by boys and girls.

LEGO Ads from 1981

LEGO was never a boys’ toy or a girls’ toy. It was a toy.

The LEGO instructions from 1974 that went viral the past week perfectly illustrate why everyone loves LEGO and how LEGO has deviated from their original imaginative mandate with the creation of so many licensed sets that have created an artificial gender divide instead of a world of free play.

To Parents,

The urge to create is equally strong in all children. Boys and girls.
It’s imagination that counts. Not skill. You build whatever comes into your head, the way you want it. A bed or a truck. A dolls house or a spaceship.
A lot of boys like dolls houses. They’re more human than spaceships.
A lot of girls prefer spaceships. They’re more exciting than dolls houses.
The most important thing is to put the right material in their hands and let them create whatever appeals to them.

Genius. We need to stop over thinking things. Kids will do what kids will do, we just have to give them the freedom and tools to explore, imagine, and create.

Perhaps LEGO is back in on the idea that their toys are loved by everyone, regardless of gender. With the announcement of a sequel to the wonderfully imaginative LEGO Movie came news there would be more female characters in the second installment.

Some have contested the veracity of the 1974 LEGO instructions, but a tweet this week from @LEGO_Group should end that debate.

Give your kids a bucket of bricks and let them play. Just. Let. Them. Play.

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