Is there anywhere I can find more lego instructions for a given set?
June 4, 2016 5:43 AM   Subscribe

My kid really loves playing with legos by following the building instructions. It looks like most kits let you build only say 5-7 things, even though there are a lot more lego pieces than that. Is there anywhere we can find more instructions for a given kit, without having to buy more kits? Or something else so we can (cheaply) scratch the same itch?

The kid in question is young enough that he struggles to figure out how to invent his own creations with the more complex pieces of lego (he does that with duplo but I think that's getting boring; duplo don't have the scope to make that much very exciting). So he's in an odd middle ground and I think making lots of things following the instructions is the way to scaffold himself up to being able to creatively engage with lego more on his own. Plus, he really loves following step-by-step instructions. We bought the classic 10698 set, which came with these instructions, and he has made all of them multiple times.

The thing is, legos are super expensive, and I'd rather not keep buying them just for the instructions! (because he doesn't really play with all the other pieces) What would make my heart sing is if anybody anywhere had put together instructions for how to make other things out of the pieces for any one lego set. I'd even be willing to pay for them (at least a bit) because presumably they'd be far cheaper than a lego set.

The key would be they'd have to be step-by-step, and in colour. He's pretty young so something with just pictures of the completed product wouldn't be sufficient (I mean, it would be better than nothing because we could do it with him, but I'm looking for something that he can do substantially on his own).

Is there anything like this out there? Maybe lego hobbyists have put such things together? If not, are there any "standard" sets that I could get that there are lots and lots of different things you can make out of them? I wouldn't mind getting one or two more sets if that came with instructions for say 30-40 different things. It's just paying umpty money for one set that only has instructions for a handful of things that I can't do.

If there's nothing like this, does anyone have suggestions for other toys that scratch the same itch, with extensive illustrated instructions for how to construct lots of little things out of them?

Thanks, I know this might be kind of a long shot.
posted by forza to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (13 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I don't have an answer for this but it was the primary reason I stopped buying Legos for my kids; whoever invents alternate Lego projects with on-hand materials will make a fortune.
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 5:53 AM on June 4, 2016

Best answer: There's the Rebrickable site which shows you how to remix sets you already have including "MOCs" My Own Creations which are user submitted build instructions. It has some integration with Brickset which is also a neat online LEGO community. He might still need help with the instructions, but they do show some steps.
posted by bluefly at 6:12 AM on June 4, 2016 [11 favorites]

You may want to look into Lego Master Builder. If I remember correctly, each set that shipped to our house had 5-6 different "iterations," as well as ideas for alternate projects. Granted, this was 6-7 years ago, but it looks like it's still going strong...
posted by kuanes at 6:13 AM on June 4, 2016 [4 favorites]

Seconding Rebrickable.
posted by The Elusive Architeuthis at 7:29 AM on June 4, 2016

Best answer: Sean Kenney books are a godsend for this problem in our household, especially the Cool Creations ones.
posted by rabidsegue at 7:52 AM on June 4, 2016

Seconding the Master Builder kits - not only do they have 3 main builds and a bunch of alternate/smaller builds, they have big fat books that talk about the techniques the Lego staff use to *create* the builds. It's super cool.
posted by restless_nomad at 8:06 AM on June 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

Results may vary depending on age and motor skills. I've found the labeled age ranges on Lego's sets to be about right in our case. At four my son could do those classic sets (labeled 4+, I think) with minimal help, but he got a couple of the Sean Kenney "Cool Creations in {35/101} Pieces", and those use small pieces in some tricky ways, and were more frustrating for him.

I think there are several more similar sets in the "Classic" series that are $20ish or under. But, understood that the instructions on their own are still only good for a couple hours.

I think it's good for them to play with the models and take them apart and figure out how to put them together, but I've found that does involve more frustration and cries for help as they discover that, for example, two pieces stuck together with only one or two studs aren't going to hold very well....
posted by bfields at 8:36 AM on June 4, 2016

There are lots of official and unofficial Lego "ideas" books. Do you have a book man where you work, who sells remaindered books, toys, craft kits etc for cheap? My book man always has several of these books, so try there if you have someone similar. Or here is a search for "creative Lego ideas" which gives some promising results.
posted by goo at 10:06 AM on June 4, 2016

FWIW, I have noticed that those sets...the creative ones in the yellow boxes are a few bucks cheaper at Target than the lego store. Have you tried playing lego pictionary? (That's a game I made up that's really fun)
posted by sexyrobot at 10:15 AM on June 4, 2016

My public library has several of these Lego projects books. There are tons of them on Amazon.
posted by irisclara at 1:28 PM on June 4, 2016

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone. These books look useful (especially the Sean Kenney ones), that's awesome.

I also have a follow-up, probably really idiotic, question. I've looked around the Rebrickable site and can't tell how to search for things that just contain parts from the classic 10698 set (or any set). I thought I should select "parts filter" and "only parts from set" "classic 10698" but doing that gives me loads of things that don't appear to use just those parts. I also tried a filter by set, "classic" but it doesn't give me any options beyond that and it too appears to give a set of things that aren't what I'm looking for. Am I missing something obvious?
posted by forza at 9:59 PM on June 4, 2016

Best answer: Have you clicked on "Build" on the Rebrickable site?
posted by oceano at 10:44 AM on June 5, 2016

Response by poster: Oh god, I'm a moron and you're a savant, thank you, I got it now! This is perfect.
posted by forza at 6:36 PM on June 5, 2016

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