LEGO Designs by Jane and Polly Karr

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This page describes some models created or enhanced by my young daughters, Jane and Polly Karr. I'm hoping that this is not so much a page about how cute my kids are as it is about what young children might create with LEGO. Kids that young have imaginations that work entirely unlike mine, and entirely unlike that of just about anyone else who might be reading this document. I have been continually surprised and impressed by the things they have come up with.

Creations by Jane Amanda Karr

The Johnson Museum

Jane was building with her Duplo blocks--we hadn't given her any LEGO yet--by herself, when she came up with this model and said, "Look, the Johnson Museum!" (The Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, on the Cornell campus, is a modern building designed by I. M. Pei, and my immediate reaction was that Jane had captured the gestalt reasonably well for a 3-year-old.)


Doctor/nurse with stethoscope

When Jane was 5, I helped her build a doctor's office. Of course a doctor's office has to have a doctor. And of course any good doctor needs a stethoscope.


The rest of the doctor's examination equipment was similarly oversized, except the scales (for measuring weight and height) which were a bit more reasonably in scale.

Airplane cockpit canopy

I had built a simple but reasonably large airplane using some black Space wings, when Jane (age 5) decided it needed a full canopy. She enclosed the cockpit fairly thoroughly in 2x4x2 sloped vehicle windows and a couple of hinged vehicle roofs. Due to the hinges, the canopy could easily open and close.


Rainbow horse

Jane created a ``Rainbow Brite'' horse at age 5. She used an old basic simplified horse design of mine as the basis, but added the mane, tail, rider, and base. Note the use of purple yarn in the tail--definitely not a LEGO part.

School bus

I put together a school bus in about a minute or two for Jane (age 5) to play with. What really made it a school bus, however, is the yellow door that Jane insisted on adding to the right side. Now it's actually a reasonably playable model: wheels that turn, a driver's seat, a turning steering wheel, seats for a number of children, and a door for everyone to enter and exit. So what if it lacks sides and roof? Those just get in one's way when loading or unloading the bus.


At age 5, Jane conceived her crocodile-in-a-cage starting with the ``Look, Daddy, a crocodile!'' head that is described in the Projects page of the LEGO Information Server. After Jane built the head, she designed a crocodile to go behind it and a cage (supposed to be made of gold) around the crocodile.



Jane made a volcano at age 5.5. It's composed of the four different kinds of old gears (vintage 1970) in my collection. If you turn it upside down, it's a tornado.

What amazes me is that Jane figured out there are 21 teeth on the yellow gears. I knew she could count to 21 (and higher), but I didn't think a 5-year-old would know when to stop counting the teeth. (I asked how she knew to stop, and she said, ``Because that's the last one!'' Of course.)


Jane made three flowers at age 5.5. The blossoms are the 14-tooth (smallest size) gears from the 1970 gear set.

Mama Cat and Kittens

At age 6, Jane made a striped "mama cat" with four little kittens in a yellow basket. The kittens are represented by four two-stud bricks of different colors.


Creations by Polly Alice Karr


Polly created this model at age 3.5 essentially by putting a minifigure on wheels.

(Motorman doesn't really stand up by himself; for the photo, I added a hidden prop. But he's a fun toy for a 3-year-old.)

Flying car

Polly constructed a flying car in early November, 1994 (at age 3.5). It's built on a 4x7 car chassis with a white 1x8 brick for the ``wings.''


The driver, by the way, is a woman, though only Polly can tell this.

Fantasy windmill

Polly put this model together seemingly at random at age 3.5. But there's a deliberate design to it, as one can see from the stack of alternating red and yellow clear 1-by-1 plates in the corner. The rotor of the windmill, a propeller from a 3+ Basic bucket, really spins if you blow at it.


Fantasy airplane

Polly insisted that this model, constructed at age 3.5, is an airplane. For an adult, this takes a lot of imagination to see. But Polly worked very hard on it.

Last updated Mon Sep 29 00:57:17 EDT 2003 .

From David A. Karr's LEGO Collection, by David A. Karr.