If you’re like most kids, you probably love to play and build things with those colorful little blocks we all know as LEGO® blocks. Let’s learn a little more about the history of these fun toys.
LEGO® blocks are just part of the overall line of construction toys made by the Lego Group, a company from Denmark. In addition to the colorful interlocking plastic blocks we’re all familiar with, other LEGO® toys include gears, figurines, wheels and various other parts that allow kids to construct all sorts of buildings, machines, vehicles and even robots.
The great thing about LEGO® toys is that they can be taken apart and reused over and over again to make new creations. LEGO® toys have become so popular all over the world that they have expanded from just toys to include movies, games, competitions and even LEGO®-themed amusement parks!
The Lego Group got its start in the carpentry workshop of Ole Kirk Christiansen. He started making wooden toys in 1932. He began calling his company “Lego” in 1934, based upon the Danish phrase leg godt, which means “play well.”
The Lego Group began making its famous plastic interlocking blocks in 1949. At first, they were not very popular, because customers still preferred wooden toys. Over time, though, they became very popular as the company made them part of an overall system of toys that kids could use to build an unlimited variety of things.
The LEGO® block design still in use today was patented on January 28, 1958. Blocks from that year are still compatible with blocks made today. The Lego Group takes great pride in manufacturing precise pieces that fit firmly together, yet can be easily taken apart.
Since 1963, LEGO® blocks have been made from a special plastic called acrylonitrile butadiene styrene or ABS. Over the last 50 years, the Lego Group has produced over 400 billion LEGO® blocks. That’s enough LEGO® blocks for every person in the world to have over 60 LEGO® blocks!
Today, the Lego Group also makes LEGO® robotic sets that help young students learn how to build and program robots in competitions, such as the Junior FIRST LEGO® League and the FIRST LEGO® League.
Some children may also be familiar with the video game series that have developed from the popularity of LEGO® toys. Some of these popular video games include Lego Star Wars, Lego Indiana Jones, Lego Batman and Lego Rock Band.
The popularity of LEGO® blocks has grown so much over the years that these toys can be found in all parts of popular culture and even in schools as educational toys. In 1998, LEGO® blocks were inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame.