UPDATE DIRECT FROM LEGO AT BOTTOM!
I think it is pretty safe to say that judging from my son, and all of his friends, as well as what I've seen from older boys (and adults) that Lego is most definitely the most popular boys toy in the world.
Lego Imperial Star Destroyer
May I also venture to say that, what Apple computers are for adult men over 25, Lego is to the 4-years-old boys to 16-years-old market for young men. Lego is, perhaps, one of the greatest toys ever made. Lego is a hands-on solutions for science, mathematics, spatial concepts, designing and 3D skills (there's probably more that I'm not seeing). Through Lego, kids learn to combine logic with reasoning and eye hand coordination. They get to transform, explore and combine ideas and objects. Not only that! The kids get to use their imaginations after the toy is constructed and deconstructed (which they all inevitably seem to be at my house) into brand new objects that are conceived of whatever my son wants and imagines them to be!
I am convinced that Lego is pure genius and probably one of the greatest toys ever made! I think Star Wars Lego is the greatest boys toy ever made bar none! Why I say that is because my son and his friends have been Star Wars Lego crazy since he was four years old. Lego sets start at 4 years old and up. Currently, my son is eight but he is now working on a Lego Star Wars set that was designed for sixteen-years-old and up.
Ah! Say "Star Wars" and what child between 4 and 40 doesn't light up with extreme interest immediately? Say "puzzle" or "3D puzzle" and you'll get yawns and a distinct lack of enthusiasm from the recipient, but say "Star Wars" or "Star Wars Lego" and you'll have your kid all over it and jumping up and down saying, "Daddy I want one!"
Buy these when they first come out and they are $200 ~ $300. Later they become collectors items like this... This is no longer a child's toy. I bought this one for my son new when it was $180 (about).
Find me one other educational toy that invokes such a strong desire and reaction out of the average child and you'll be showing be another genius invention. I can't think of any, can you?
Some people will say that Lego is "So expensive" but I don't think so. If you consider Lego just a toy, then maybe it is expensive. But Lego is not just a toy. Lego is a toy, a learning experience, a science tool, a babysitter, a world of imagination all it's own and much more. A Lego toy is played with for months if not years after it is first taken from the box and assembled!
Lego is not expensive at all when you consider all that you get for your money.
I especially enjoy the fact that my child can learn at his own speed. If he is five and is ready for the Lego designed for 7 years old boys, have at it. If he is 7 and can do the 12 years old and up, then take the challenge! Why not? He is learning as he is having fun!
Learning and having fun while doing so is the key to the perfect education.
For the more advanced Star Wars Lego sets, there's no way that a child (along with dad, who needs to spend more time with son, by the way... Ahem) can put one of these things together in one sitting. The current model my son and I are working on is a Lego Star Wars Imperial Shuttle. It is for 16 years old and up. It has 2503 pieces so, knowing that, you'd know that it will take quite a while to construct this toy.
It is taking all the resources the empire can muster to put this shuttle together in time to be ready for battle!
I always try to work together with my son when he is constructing his Lego sets. As I mentioned, it is a great time (and future memory) together. He does all the assembling and I help with pushing in difficult or extremely tight fitting pieces (and refrain from doing so unless absolutely necessary - I want him to have strong hands). He assembles and I sit and find pieces for him (mom helps when were stuck). We chat about various things while doing so. It's a great way to spend time together.
We've been working on this one for two weeks at about 30 minutes a day. Very cheap entertainment for father and son (especially when raining or dark outside). Quality and fun time together.
We usually block off 30 ~ 40 minutes at once to work on the kit. So far, we've been working on this one model on and off for nearly two weeks and we're not even half way done so you can see that this is a great way to spend time learning with your child and having fun while doing it.
Another amazing thing I have to point out to everyone about the value of Lego is the customer service is great. Over these last four and one half years, my son has constructed every single Lego Star Wars that was made. I think that must be easily 40 or 50 different models. Many of those models have had over 1,000 pieces. It doesn't happen often, but, there have been times when pieces were missing...
Now, usually when something like pieces missing happens, it's a major headache; find the receipt, take the toy back, wait in line, hassle with details, ... Not with Lego! With Lego, you go online to their Lego customer service page for Replacement Parts and order the parts you need. They then send them to you in three weeks for FREE! Now that is killer customer service!
Out of well over 50 Lego sets that my son has assembled over these few years, we've discovered missing parts only three times. Three times I ordered the pieces and got them delivered to my home with no hassles and No Questions Asked! They didn't ask where I purchased the toy, where my receipt was, or any intrusive questions! They just shipped me what I needed! They even ship them to Japan, where many of the models are not sold, with free shipping too! (I buy the models overseas as many are not available in Japan and bring them back!)
Wasn't I saying something about, what Apple computers are for adult men over 25, Lego is to the 4-years-old to 16-years-old market for boys and young men.
Lego's service might even be better than Apple's and that is hard to do!
Like I said, I think Lego is a genius toy and probably one of, if not the, greatest boys toy ever invented.
(Disclaimer: No I do not own Lego company shares nor do I have any plan to. If there are any complaints about Lego, then may I say that I wish they'd license all the Star Wars Lego's for the territory of Japan also so that I may order them directly in Japan? I always have to order in the USA and then sent to my family then to be sent to me! I sure hate bothering the folks.... Or, how about this; "Hey Japanese toy manufacturer! License these products for Japan!")
Lego Star Wars Motorized Walking AT-AT
If you can still find this Lego Star Wars Imperial Walker buy it. This is, I think, the best one at the best price so far. I bought it at $170 new (now sells for $199) and had about 1100 pieces as well as a motorized engine that made it walk. It was wonderful for my son to see how and engine works and turns gears. He built it a year ago and still plays with it!
Just to show what a fine and quality company Lego is, they found this article written about them (smart companies are checking the Internet t see what people are saying about them!):
For the history of Lego see here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lego