I wouldn’t say I was a LEGO fanatic growing up: we had LEGO around and I would build a house, but that was as far as my creativity went.

My 11 year old, on the other hand, loves LEGO and he has quite the collection of it, both random bricks and sets. The sets he happily completes himself – usually while listening to me read – but the bricks we use to make up stories and create magical lands, which usually involve a house created by me.

LEGO city complete with a house, a dragon (LEGO kit), mini-figures, classic LEGO, old LEGO, New LEGO and a dragon.
Our freestyle LEGO play usually involves creating magical worlds that come with stories and may involve battles – and a house by me.

And it makes me happy – the creating of our worlds and the time spent together.

So I was curious about DK’s Build Yourself Happy, The Joy of LEGO play by Abbie Headon ($21.99).

In this little hardcover book, Headon suggests playing with LEGO provides the same joy as it did when you were kid, but with the added benefit of offering stressed out people a chance to unwind, find zen and build me and creative time in their lives. And Headon is right, there is nothing more satisfying running your hand through your LEGO container and listening to that “pleasing ‘snap’ “ when you connect two bricks, apparently called “clutch power.”

In the book, Headon suggests people don’t need a large LEGO collection to get the effects of LEGO building and stress reduction. All bricks are welcome. She also offers suggestions on how to change up your building and purposefully creating something other than your usual house.

I like Headon’s writing style, which offers a lot of humour. While she obviously truly believes in the power of LEGO, she doesn’t take herself too seriously either. She also reminds people to use brick separator rather than your teeth to take apart LEGO pieces (while acknowledging that sometimes they may never come apart again) and the fact that if you don’t clean up after yourself, you will experience the pain of stepping on these painful bricks.

Headon also offers ideas such as creating mandalas; patterns; and closing your eyes and just building (as a note, I just let the pieces go wherever, whereas my son actually created an amusement park with his eyes closed).

I also liked the idea of creating a tower and learning what kind of builder you are. My son could be considered a daring building where “towers go up, but they can also reach out to the sides, defying gravity and all the rules of physics” and we are both the designer “a tower just isn’t complete until it has a balcony and a helicopter landing pad for visiting mini-figures.”

The author suggests LEGO building allows adults to get creative, learn collaboration, exercise the mind and body, improve cognitive skills, get in touch with emotions and practise mindfulness.

“No matter where you are or where you’re going, there are endless ways to play with LEGO bricks to help you feel more relaxed and realize the simplest joys in your life.”

A copy of this book was provided by DK for an honest review. The opinions are my own.