In my personal opinion there are very few things, if any at all that are more precious than the time you spend with the children in your life. Because I don’t live near my brother and his family the quality time between my three year old nephew and me is rare, therefore we don’t just go to the movies or have ice cream we go on adventures.
On Thursday we visited the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chaska, Minnesota to see one of Sean Kenney’s internationally touring exhibits called “Nature Connects”. We picked up our map at the Oswald Visitor Center and set out on our trek in search of all thirteen sculptures made from Legos.
Sean Kenney is an award-winning artist from New York. Even though he is not sponsored by The Lego Company he creates these incredbible pieces made entirely of Legos. Amazingly he doesn’t generate patterns with a computer he simply sits with his Lego bricks and figures it out like he did as a child which makes these exhibits even more impressive.
Currently the exhibits are on display in Kentucky, Alabama, Missouri and Minnesota but the tour will continue into the year 2019 with several different locations already scheduled along the way, check out the list at www.seankenney.com to see if the exhibit will be touring near you, I highly suggest it for a family fun day.
Not unlike my nephew, Minnesota weather can throw the occasional tantrum and ruin an otherwise perfect day but the weather cooperated as well as the kid and it turned out to be a beautiful day to spend outdoors and we managed to find all thirteen sculptures, which surprisingly was not easy. They are scattered throughout the Arboretum which is more than 1,200 acres of garden collections, tree collections, forests and trails. It is a beautiful place to spend an afternoon on any occasion but made even more special by the excitement of my nephew each and every time he found a new sculpture.
1.) Hummingbird on Flower-61,107 Legos
2.) Peacock-68,827 Legos
3.) Bonsai Tree-9,143 Legos
4.) Giant Corn Spider-16,492 Legos
6.) Giant Pansy Flower-29,314 Legos
7.) Birdbath-14,802 Legos
8.) Wheelbarrow-29,900 Legos
9.) Galapagos Tortoise and Finch-23,317 Legos
11.) Roseate Skimmer Dragonfly-27,788 Legos
12.) Lego Brick Mosaic-12,990 Legos
13.) Grandfather and Grandchild Gardening-46,940 Legos
To me, the idea of art with Legos is a great way to get kids excited about being creative and challenging themselves in a fun way without any pressure. The layout of the exhibit itself is genius, getting kids outside to seek the sculptures is a great way to spend an afternoon being both active and playful. Children so rarely have the opportunity to do something just for fun because usually the adults in their lives have some over-analyzed hidden agenda, and I’ll admit I’ve been that adult too.
Childhood is not what it was when I was a child. Kids are put up against some really heavy expectations now. Doctors and teachers are making up diseases for kids just so they can label them and categorize them, forgetting that kids are not ready to be adults. Let them have fun and be silly, let them daydream and be messy, give them time to grow and nourish their good traits instead of scrutinizing them for their bad ones. They are only children after all and so many people are already who they will be for the the rest of their lives, so why should they be pressured into being anything other than who and what they are.
My nephew is growing up so fast and sometimes the time gap between our adventures together is so long that when I see him he has changed so dramatically that it’s like he’s a whole new person and I feel like I die a little inside. As thrilled as I am that he’s growing healthy and strong it still breaks my heart that I have already missed so much of his life.
My nephew is a very precocious little boy and most people are surprised when you tell them he’s only three, because to them he appears to be older. He’s intelligent, intuitive and articulate. Now I know I might be biased but he proved me right when he brought me to tears while I was making supper after our adventure. As he was playing in the living room by himself and having a two part conversation with his new toys I had just bought him, I heard him quietly say “but I am home, this is my life, isn’t it beautiful?”
His parent’s tease me that I spoil him and they are 100% right but since I have no children of my own I want him to know how incredible and special I think he is and even though in a few short years he isn’t going to want to spend time with me anymore I will always love him with all my heart and I think he’s worth more than all the Lego Bricks in the world.