London - Modern Lego is harming children’s development and stifling creativity because of the rise of prescriptive build-it-yourself kits, adventurer Ben Fogle said.
The TV presenter, who was named as a brand ambassador for the Danish giant four years ago, said the toy had “ruined the world” by encouraging children to “build by conformity”.
Fogle said he meant no disrespect to Lego, but selling its toy bricks in “cookie-cutter” kit form had created “boundaries and limits” on children’s imagination.
Lego now offers numerous elaborate kits, many of which feature detailed instructions and are branded to tie-in with films like Star Wars.
Fogle made the remarks at the annual conference of the Boarding Schools’ Association in Manchester to explain his views on child development. He told delegates: “If I were to write a thesis on this topic I think I would call it, ‘How Lego ruined the world’. Where once Lego offered a whimsical form of escapism into the world of sub-conscious, encouraging creativity and imagination, it has transformed into a rigid box-ticking discipline where children are encouraged to build by conformity.
“One misaligned brick during assembly or one tiny lost component can spell disaster.”
The adventurer also said he had watched his son “fall apart” because the finished toy he had built did not resemble the picture on the box.
Fogle was Lego’s brand ambassador for one advertising campaign in 2012.
Lego declined to comment on his remarks.
* Spot Ben Fogle on DStv's BBC Earth (channel 184) in Where The Wild Men Are With Ben Fogle.