6

My six year old son loves to build with LEGO bricks and has quite a few LEGO sets. Over time they have been disassembled, so we decided to try to rebuild some of them. We have the original instructions.

In order to make it easier to find the correct bricks, we sorted the LEGO into boxes of one or two colours (different blues in one, green and brown in one, etc.). The next step is to start building, but it seems like a lot of work to find the right bricks. Does anyone have some good advice or ideas on how to do it most effectively (and still fun for a six years old boy).

5

Sorting by color is the first thing any LEGO collector will do, but soon you will find out that finding that one specific piece in a whole box of black pieces is quite difficult, and your sorting method will further differentiate between plates and bricks, SNOT pieces etc. Check out this post for more tips and details.

For your particular problem I would do the following: get as many large ziploc bags as you have sets (or if there are big sets, use multiple bags). When your son is in bed or at school, look at the back page(s) of the set instructions - there is a list of all elements and their counts.

enter image description here

Pick all the pieces for a given set based on this list. The lists are already sorted by color, so if you have your son's collection sorted by color this means you need to look only at one box at a time - a handy bonus! Put the pieces in a ziploc bag and mark the bag with the set name or set number (or print a picture of the set on adhesive paper and attach it - go to http://www.brickset.com for good pictures of new and old sets). Now, once it is time for your son to rebuild, he just takes the bag he needs and builds the set.

After he is done with playing with the set (and when it has slowly degraded into a million pieces, as is the case with the way my kids play with their LEGO) you can first do a quick clean-up by again sorting the pieces into the color-coded boxes, and then once redo the filling of the ziploc bag based on the instructions.

  • I'm not sure "six year old" and "everything in ziplock bags" is going to work. Bigger plastic containers would be more likely to work IMO. – Móż Nov 20 '15 at 1:42
  • Sure - containers would do fine. My local Kroger (I'm in the US) sells plastic shoe-storage boxes for $1 per piece - ideal for storing a good amount of bricks. – Phil B. Nov 20 '15 at 2:07
3

As Phil noted, you can sort by both color and part before building in order to speed up the process. However, for a relatively small collection this level of sorting may be unnecessary.

I would recommend sorting by part first, and then only sorting by color if needed. This feels unnatural, but the reason to sort by part first is simply that your eyes will very quickly be able to pick out a red part from a pile, while they are relatively poor at differentiating between a 2x3 and 2x4 brick of the same color in a pile.

Simply having parts sorted by size can even be a good place to start. There are even some sorting systems you can pick up such as the sort and store head to make this process simpler:

Sort and store head

This semi-automatically separates the large pieces from the small, which can help to save time when sorting.

  • He got 20+ sets including a fire station and some blue boxes. Not sure if that is what you call a small collection? I've sorted them by colour and the sorted black and grey into the three groups. Seems like a good start. Sorting by part must take a lot of boxes? – FingeNB Nov 14 '15 at 18:13
  • 1
    Heh, some people would call 20 sets a good day at the LEGO store. That said, at least one LEGO nerd I know keeps his collection mostly sorted by color and uses ziplocks to keep the parts sorted too, so he basically has large boxes of a given color with a bunch of baggies in it. – gev Nov 14 '15 at 19:44
  • I like the ziplocs inside boxes idea! – Phil B. Nov 15 '15 at 0:51
  • FWIW if you have a lot of really small parts a final sifting using a tennis racquet or similar can split the last layer into two groups which helps a lot. – Móż Nov 20 '15 at 2:18

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.