Good and Bad Design 2
Legos and Lego Mindstorms
It seems to me that Lego was the first classic toy that successfully made the jump into the 21st century through the development of Lego Mindstorms. It is true that the online world has begun to take up a lot more time and kids are spending less time playing with traditional toys. Although i am obviously not a luddite in that I really like technology, I also know that there are lots of GOOD things about some classic toys - Lego being one of them.
Legos are great manipulatives and there are definite sorts of basic engineering lessons that can be learned from playing with legos: torque, gear ratios, conservation of energy, etc. etc. etc.
Mindstorms takes Legos and creates a whole new toy with them - self-designed and self-programmed robots.
And Legos are the almost perfect toy to do this with -
1) people invest in legos because they are modular and they are always backwards compatible
2) people can be successful with legos at any stage
3) the lego plastic is very durable and the bricks fit so well together
4) mindstorms has a visual programming enivronment that is being improved int he next version
5) lego has a very thoughtful, quality-drive development process that insures longterm sustainability of the product so that people invest
6) the limits to the toy having been greatly expanded as the need for smart toys has become greater
7) legos are good for kids and adults alike - sort of neutral playing field