Lego And The Disconnect From Nature

 I recently wrote about “battery” children and NDD – Nature Deficit Disorder. Earlier this year, I posted an item on Lego now being made with wind power.
The two seemingly unrelated issues were connected last week during the celebration of 50 years of Lego in Australia.
Before Lego fans get upset by this; I’m not pointing at Lego with a trembling finger and declaring it an abomination, nor am I suggesting Lego is the root cause of our children disconnecting from nature. As far as toys go, I think Lego is wonderful stuff as it goes beyond play in terms of its benefits to children and for adults it sure beats sitting in front of the television too.
The following is just an interesting observation about how fast things have changed in our society.
When Lego hit our shores back in 1962 courtesy of British sales rep John Peddie, it didn’t exactly take off. However, it seems it is now our no.1 toy, with Australians owning an average of 70 bricks each.
The reason it wasn’t a smash hit straight away? Mr Reddie was told by retailers “it would never work here because our kids preferred being outside.” The critics were correct for a while; but much has changed in 5 decades.
Thinking back even to the 70’s; being told we must play inside on a nice day seemed a horrible punishment. 
When we acquired an Atari 2600 games console in the early 80’s; that changed somewhat – but outside was still an important play area; with “outside” being the forest nearby, a local BMX track or any one of a half dozen other places where we used to hang out that weren’t covered by a roof or involved shops.
I find it really sad that Nature Deficit Disorder is increasing for whatever reason, particularly among city and suburban kids. It’s not just about the effects the deprivation has on children directly, but we may also be depriving ourselves of millions of future environmentalists – and that is a little frightening.
Connecting Kids With Nature