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Building, Bonding, and a Confident Girl

Posted Apr 28 2014 6:12am


A couple of years ago, in the throes of her developmental delays , my Sophie had very weak hands. I was shocked when at an evaluation her hand strength was shown to be extremely poor – shocked both because I didn’t realize it and because it was so bad. So, a month before she turned four, we began working very hard on her hand strength. She went to occupational therapy, and we also worked hard at home. I taught her to cut, we played with play-doh and therapy putty, used clothespins to pick things up, and many other “games” to help get her hands strong.  One of those games was a basic LEGO® set. Sophie loved them, but her hands were so weak that even putting two bricks together was a struggle.  But bit by bit, she was able to do more and more before her hands tired out, and finally was able to make huge towers with her LEGOs. Months and months of hard work and determination on both of our parts paid off and by the time she was five, Sophie was caught up in every way. And now, she doesn’t remember a time when she couldn’t do it all. The girl goes after everything she wants to do and she does it well. But I remember those months of struggle, and I’ll never forget.

Sophie when she graduated from Occupational Therapy at age 5

Sophie when she graduated from Occupational Therapy at age 5

That’s part of the reason that I was so happy when Sophie showed a  huge interest in the LEGO® Friends line of building toys when they first came out. Because for a long time, simply putting to LEGO® bricks together would have been an impossible task for Sophie. Yet, because I know building toys are a great way to combine creativity with reasoning during play, I was always hoping that she would be able to be a LEGO® girl one day. And as soon as she got a small set of LEGO® Friends as a birthday gift her 6th year, she was hooked. She loved the characters, she loved building and pretending with them. She loved inviting Joshua’s LEGO® Star Wars guys over to dine with Mia and Andrea at the LEGO® Friends Heartlake City Cafe. This mama was very, very happy. I was additionally happy when she wanted to follow the LEGO® Friends characters in their chapter book series – we have them all and she loves to read them again and again. The characters are all distinct, strong girls who pursue their own passions and help each other out along the way, and I love that Sophie loves them and learns from their stories.

SONY DSC

Last weekend Sophie and I sat down to build her latest LEGO® Friends acquisition, the Heartlake News Van, together. Watching Sophie build is so much fun because when she sits down with a pile of bricks she experiences and exudes real joy in the building process and is so proud of and confident in her creations. She is also so, so determined to do everything right – she is definitely a girl who likes to build her sets by the instruction book the first time around, and then get creative with them after.

When Sophie and I were building her set together, I found myself obsessed with watching her hands – those hands that used to barely be able to open and close scissors – because they are so strong now, and capable of so many amazing things.

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

Another thing I observed about Sophie while we were working together was her commitment to getting the job done – we worked on this for over two hours with only a quick break for lunch – this girl was in it to win it and she wasn’t going to stop til we were finished!

SONY DSC

She graciously allowed me to decorate the cake. :)

I loved watching Sophie’s confidence level rise with each completed page of the instruction book – she was practically glowing when we finished the first bag of pieces! She was absolutely beaming when we transformed this:

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Into this:

SONY DSC

And she couldn’t wait to get her creative juices flowing and make up more stories for Emma to report on with her newsvan and trusty cameraman sidekick, Andrew, as well as invite some of the other LEGO® Friends girls along for the ride.

Sophie is my strong, confident, creative girl – and her determination to WIN at life has amazed me a million times over. A determined girl like Sophie is such a good match for LEGO® Friends because they support other awesome initiatives for girls like Girls on the Run®, a fantastic physical activity-based positive youth development program to inspire girls everywhere to achieve their limitless potential – Emily has volunteered with GOTR in the past and I’ve financially supported friends who fund raise for them because even though I’m not a runner, I believe in programs like this that instill confidence, strength, and goal-setting in our girls.

LEGOFriends Collage



I’m so glad I’ve been able to build with Sophie over the past year and bond with her over the girls of Heartlake City. A toy that flexes my girl’s hand muscles as well as her creative muscles and confidence? Well, I couldn’t ask for more than that. I sure am glad she likes it when I play along, too!

LEGO Friends 9

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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