Donating unwanted LEGO to someone less fortunate is a great way to bring more joy to the world

Lots of folks continue to build fabulous creations out of LEGO well into adulthood. Others tire of it, as they do many of their other childhood belongings, at an early age. Both are fine. What's not OK is being a kid who, because of their parent's financial situation, doesn't know the joy of having a box full of LEGO to call their own. Given the years of imagination-stretching enjoyment the wee plastic blocks can bring into a life, that's a damn shame.

Here's what you can do to put a dent in this unfortunate state of affairs.

Lifehacker had a recent post on what to do with old LEGO, if you're not able to pass it down to a younger member of your family or hand it off to friends for their kids to mess around with. They mention that you can sell the blocks online but, better than this, there's organizations out there that specialize in putting LEGO bricks in needy hands:

Sites like Brick Recycler, The Giving Brick and Brick Dreams have launched in recent years in order to address the unique supply and demand problem presented by LEGOs. Each has its own requirements for donations, but in general they accept donations of LEGO bricks of all kinds: mixed up, all together, dirty or clean. Brick Recycler says it has “repurposed” more than 3 million LEGO pieces.

The groups clean and sort bricks and then donate them to children’s support groups, hospitals, daycare facilities and more. Some sell cleaned sets that were donated in order to pay for operations.

If you're thinking that you'd like to see them put to good use by grateful little hands closer to home, calling around to children's hospitals, family resource centers or homeless shelters in your area to see if they'd be willing to take your unwanted LEGO as a donation is a great way to go. However, before passing them along to someone new, you might want to think about giving them a good cleaning. LEGO's website has some good ideas on how to do this:

Cleaning your LEGO® bricks is really easy! We recommend that you clean your LEGO parts by hand using water no hotter than 104°F / 40°C and a soft cloth or sponge. Higher temperatures may affect the quality of the parts. You can add a mild detergent to the water - please rinse them well with clear water afterwards and you're done!

A word of warning! Please don't put your LEGO pieces in the washing machine or dishwasher, and don't try to dry them in the oven, the microwave or with a hair dryer. When the bricks get really hot they may change shape, which means they won't work anymore!

No matter whether your home's being overrun by the 12 too many LEGO kits you bought for yourself on sale last year or your kid's moved on from building with bricks to creating with Minecraft, delighting someone with your used bricks is a great way to go.

Image via Wikipedia Commons