Lego My Lego

We all have our obsessions, the thing that makes us go bonkers with desire. For my little guy it's Legos. He can spend an awful lot of screen-time time searching for collectable Lego sets, building Wish Lists with five-digit price-tags. He really isn't picky though- an equal-opportunity collector as excited by Atlantis or Space Police as he is his beloved Star Wars. And the mini-figures...he knows which square-people come with which brick set and will advise me excitedly when one is popular enough to be featured in various sets, facilitating multiple options for scoring a "min-fig" (as they are known by "brick masters".) Because the little building blocks seem to power his imagination with absolute jet-fuel, it's an obsession that is well supported by all of us.

Until recently, the only way to make him really happy was a new box of blocks. (Or a new box of rigid-edged foot-finders.) But we don't have a Lego Tree and it's a long wait for the holiday and birthday double-whammy that is December through February at our house. About a year ago I made light-sabers in the required colors (anyone that follows Star Wars knows the very significant difference between a green or red or purple saber.) I used old poster tubes, metallic paper and packing tape. He loved them and battled them to their death. He doesn't really seem to build with the blocks as much as he embodies them with personality and agenda, so could this approach not work with his drive to collect Lego sets? We tried it out by making a Star Wars carrier ship (the Republic Cruiser, to be exact) using empty toilet paper rolls, cut pieces of clear packaging and some plastic strapping. He loved it! It lives right next to the official Lego X-Wing that cost $60. But would this approach work with the.....the mini-fig?
Last week, in a hurry to satisfy his hunger, I printed out a few images of the mini-figures that he ached to acquire. I asked him to paste them to a piece of a used cardboard box, and then we helped him cut out around the more detailed perimeter of the image. They went into immediate service with not one size comparison nor mention of plastic inadequacy. Now he can search the internet for a new character for his collection, and minutes and zero dollars later, we have a full-size figure ready to rumble. As a fan of the Antoinette Portis books, I should have known it would work. One quick and almost thoughtless solution on my part and our guy has proven that his imagination is much larger than my wallet could ever be, feeding his obsession one free piece of trash* at a time.
*Another footnote about trash? My friend recently posted on Facebook that now she is a parent, unexpected visitors can plan on finding toys and food crumbs gone astray. Any visitor to my house, planned or otherwise, should brace themselves for the mound of craft supplies aka recycling perpetually growing in the corner of our kitchen. Of course the reality is that it isn't really free in any way, but this upcycling-waiting-to-happen strecthes our grocery dollar that much further. Not too trashy.