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I'm a grandpa trying to start my 8 year old grandson in LEGO Technic building. I am particularly interested in mechanical parts building and motorization. He already loves LEGO and attends after school and summer classes at school which focus on LEGO and coding.

Piecemeal I purchased all LEGO motors along with a bag of assorted bricks (I just don't understand if there is a difference between so called original bricks and LEGO Technic pieces). I also bought Crazy Action Contraptions for him, which seemed to me to be the most elementary.

I apologize to you pros out there, but I'm such a novice that I had to ask my question this way.

  • Hi DRS, and welcome to bricks.stackexchange.com! There is no need for apologies, everyone was a beginner once :) Could you please tell us more about yourself and your grandson, especially about your grandson's experience with LEGO? The situation could be really different if he has not had any exposure to LEGO yet or if he already likes LEGO. – zovits supports GoFundMonica Dec 17 '18 at 15:55
  • Zovits, I worked in the forging industry for my career as a Purchasing Mgr. We forged parts for the construction equipment, agriculture and gear shops nationwide. My grandson loves Lego and has for a long time. Wednesday's after school and through the summer he attends a Lego class at school which is directly tied into coding. I was hoping to tie Lego Technic and coding and mechanics together. Thank you for your comment, a valuable one. – DRS Dec 17 '18 at 20:55
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The best way would definitely be to appeal to his already existing preferences and show him how LEGO Technic can integrate into that or even enhance that.

Does he like cars? Let's build a simple car with him, later add a steering system, and still later a motor for driving.

Does he like robots? Offer to build a robot, with gears to move the arms, legs, head, etc. These can be motorized later as well.

The same can be done with planes, boats, farm machinery, animals, almost anything he might fancy.

You mention Crazy Action Contraptions, you could sit down with him and build some of the models included. Along this process you'd be able to gauge his interests both by area (i.e. does he like the Speedster or the Grabber more) and by general attitude (does he even like the whole building, or is he just waiting for you to finish it so he can play, or does he even care about it at all).

As alluded to in the last sentence, you should be mentally prepared for the possibility that you might not be successful, as he might not be interested in the topic. Don't take this personally, we all have different interests and forcing things usually don't turn out well.

just don't understand if there is a difference between so called original bricks and Lego Technic pieces

This sentence hints at your own inexperience regarding the subject, maybe in this case you can approach the topic as a common learning process, where you both venture out to explore the world of LEGO Technic. Alternatively, you could get familiar with the terminology, basic building techniques and principles so that you can coach him. Either approach is viable, they just require different attitudes and preparations - you can switch between them however, if the need arises.

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Instead of providing a pile of assorted Technic bricks and motors, I would (and already did) rather start with medium-sized sets. This guarantees success and shows how everything fits together nicely. I am doing this with regular LEGO sets and my children are already demanding larger and larger sets. MOCs (i.e. "My Own Creations") can follow later.

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I'm just going down this route with my 7 year old.

The old style primary colour gears (G9 / G15 / G21) have proved to be better for little fingers and more engaging than the "standard" technic gears, if you can get hold of them in sufficient quantity.

Of course, some of the model instructions we've followed have required a little adapting, but that's all part of the fun.

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