It wasn’t the reaction of the children that proved to organiser Karl Hallam that Sheffield’s first ever Lego Club would be a success. It was the reaction of the dads.
“They came here that first weekend almost having to be dragged in after their Sunday dinners,” he says. “By the end, we couldn’t get them to leave. They were sitting at the tables trying to out-do what each other had built.”
Such, it seems, is the magic of this most ubiquitous of toys.
Today, The Diary is witnessing it first hand.
Here, at Lego Club - a new once-a-month gathering at Harland Works in John Street - more than two dozen playmates are excitedly building spaceships, boats, cars, houses and pianos from bricks of all different colours and sizes, all the while chattering and laughing with each other. And the children are just as excited.
In the background, there’s music from The Lego Movie pumping out, while in the courtyard there are organised table-top games. One family has travelled here from Hull, though most are from Heeley. At no point does anyone get told off for leaving a stray brick lying around for an unsuspecting (and almost certainly bare-footed) parent to stand on.
The only minor disappointment comes when a young girl asks if she can take what she’s made home.
“I’m sorry, we have to keep the Lego here,” says a play leader. “But we can take a picture of it.”
“Why do kids love Lego?” muses Karl. “I think it encourages them to be creative and use their imagination. I think also they like this club because they don’t have to pack away at the end. They come, they have fun, they go. That’s a win for a child.”
Karl and wife Sophy - of Millhouses, parents of three, - started the scheme in February.
The pair own Harland Works - a cutlery complex turned office and studio space - and have held regular family fun days there since 2012. The Lego sessions on offer at those dates proved so popular they decided to make them a monthly ticket-only club. All bricks, incidentally, are brought from Karl and Sophy’s home.
“It’s great,” says nine-year-old Toby Frances, of Meersbrook. “I love Lego but I don’t have this much to play with normally.”
Dad Sy was too busy building a spaceship to comment.
Next club Sunday, April 13, 2-4pm. Limited places, book at harlandworks.co.uk