The very definition of

Cathy ZielskeCZ Life120 Comments


There's this really expensive and exclusive Lego chess set on the market; so exclusive, it's not even available for purchase in the United States, and of course, my son has had his eye on it.


It retails for somewhere in the neighborhood of $200—sorry, I just had to cough—dollars. Even though Cole's birthday is months away yet, of course he would point this out as a possible idea. My response? "I don't have a job."

Rather than let my less than encouraging response beat down his indomitably sunny outlook, he took action and last week, created his own, playable version.


Took him hours, but he figured it out. Complete with one-of-a-kind pawns, knights, kings and queens.




The next time I'm all whining about the stuff I don't have, maybe I should just bust out the bricks. I'll bet it's possible to build just about anything.

Cathy ZielskeThe very definition of

120 Comments on “The very definition of”

  1. #1

    Your son is pretty creative and innovative, for sure.

    I saw online the other day.. can’t remember where though… someone had made an entire life-size computer desk out of Legos. It was pretty amazing.

  2. #2

    Wow – I am so impressed – that Cole sure has an imagination and the ingenuity . . . he will go far . . . very very far!

    Good job, Cole!!!

  3. #4

    cole is a genius. love this!

    could you please ask him to make a PAYCHECK out of those bricks? dh has been unemployed for 3 months (although he is returning to work next week) but i would send him every lego we have in our house if he could make a bankable paycheck out of them!

  4. #6

    WOW!! He never ceases to amaze me with his talents. You are a very lucky mom to have such a talented young son.

  5. #8

    I have to start saving also-this is what #2 son wants as a present for getting his master’s degree! I saw an episode of “While You Were Out” where a woman had furnished her house in legos-lego coffee table, picture frames, etc. Incredible.

  6. #13

    Wonderful Job Cole! Cathy thanks for sharing…kids keep us real. I just moved (downsized) and we had legos in the attic…some exclusive sets from Europe…and my husband didn’t care about keeping them…but I insisted…we will have grand-babies someday and we are such a throw-away society now that it saddens me. Anyhow, I showed my husband this blog post and he appreciates my OCD now with the legos…lol
    Have a great day, Roberta

  7. #15

    as the mom of a son who lived and breathed Legos from the moment he could put 2 blocks together…that is absolutely stunning! Now my son is grown (and a Marine) and an avid chess player. He would adore something like this!

  8. #17
    Jaana Olsen

    Please tell Coleman that some strange lady from Alberta thinks his lego creations are AWESOME. They always bring a smile to my face. Are you ever too old to start playing with lego?

  9. #21

    I can’t tell you how many times that I’ve called my 12 yr old son over to the computer to read one of your blog entries about Cole & his LEGOs. Thanks for sharing Cole’s amazing creativity with us, for giving us a glimpse into your everyday life, and for allowing me to share yet another thing with my kids that is a direct offshoot of my scrapbooking hobby.

  10. #22

    Not only is Cole’s chess set cooler than the pricey one, but it is a testament to not being given everything he WANTS. Good going, Mom. You are encouraging the greatest gift- the power of imagination and ingenuity.

  11. #26
    liz a.

    well, that is really neat! cole did a fabulous job! i actually like the set he made better than the “store” one…his has personality and delightful looking pieces…good for him! i think i would actually enjoy playing chess with that set! lol!

  12. #28
    sherry d

    Way to go Cole! Wish more kids had his gumption to do something like this when what they really want may not be attainable! Most keep begging and, yes, whining instead of doing something about it. KUDOS to COLE! I like it better than the one he wants!

  13. #29

    That is so cool! Cole’s chess set is great. I cannot wait to show it to my Lego obsessed g’son. Thanks for the other links too.

  14. #33

    My boys love to look at those $200 + Lego sets OVER and OVER again on the Lego website! I will definitely be showing them what your genius Cole made as soon as they come back from school 🙂

  15. #37

    Wonderful, Cole! It’s much more interesting to look at than the (cough) Other One. More power to your creative elbow!

  16. #39

    Cole is a genius! That Lego chess set is totally awesome. Can I ask a (hopefully) easy Lego question? (My 7 year old is just getting into legos.) How do you store them? What kind of containers do you use? Do you keep the sets together or just dump all the bricks together? Other Lego moms, I would love to here your suggestions as well!

  17. #40

    i swear that cole is a genius!!!!! i am so impressed by everything he does, incredible talent!!
    AWESOME JOB COLE!!!!! ilove it!

  18. #42

    Sue, we have some big old bins from Target that we use… cloth bins. And usually just toss everything in together, although… cole has started a new organization project. I’ll have to share at some point. it’s kind of cool.

  19. #44

    That is so AWESOME!! Tell Cole he really rocked those Legos. My Lego fans are going to be so jealous they didn’t think to do that. (I know my son has been eyeing that chess set as well.)

  20. #47
    Susan W

    Wow! My 6 year old son loves legos and is always asking and begging for more. He would love that chess set. Since I am out of work too my answer is usually no. Lots of other things we would rather spend money on. Anywho, he does the same thing as Cole. Makes what he wants out of his lego collection. He has made some crazy things and I have a book of photos with all his lego creations.

  21. #52

    Hi Cathy, I know I blogged about this before but you have one cool soon. He’s so creative with his legos. I bet he’s just as happy with his set as compared to the $200 one. Great job. Great kid.


  22. #53
    Jan Connair

    Holy moly, that is totally cool. I can’t wait to show this to my sons Ryan and Sean, who were complete Legomaniacs when they were younger. Ryan, especially. He was 8 when he saved up enough $ to buy a $184 Lego monorail set! Ryan is almost 24 now, but he is going to think this chess set is brilliant.

  23. #55
    Jeannette P

    Cole definitely fits the ingenuity definition. Sheesh has he got an imagination! Great work on the chess set. I’ll have to show my hubby since he’s into legos too.

  24. #56

    Wow – this is fantastic, Cole has done a great job! Very imaginative especially, finding other ways to fix the problem – you have a futurestar there!

    My two sons’ favorite toys (years ago) were Lego and Simcity … they would build everything they could think of, out of Lego, and were amazingly creative – and loved designing cities on the computer!

    And do you know what? Now, BOTH of them are civil engineers – and they love their work. They say they owe it all to years of lego and Simcity!

  25. #57

    you’ve got two ingenious kids there lady ! any kid who likes to not just make do with what he has but make it better ranks high up in my book. and your precious girl who loves thrift store shoppin stole my heart. my, my, my….

  26. #63
    Michele Stevenson

    OH my goodness–what a smart kiddo! Tell him that his chess set ROCKS and is much better than the other one; no one else will have one like it!

  27. #65

    I was reading this post and got to the “I don’t have a job” bit before scrolling down. I was thinking, surely Cole, with his awesome lego creativity, who didn’t love that Body Shop?, could make his own. Of course he did!!

  28. #68

    Your son is really creative…hmmmmmm…wonder where he gets that from???? AND I laughed my butt of when I clicked on what you would build!!! LOL! Thanks for sharing.

  29. #70

    That really is ingenius! How old is Cole? I am a big Lego fan and this idea was brilliant! Be proud 😉

  30. #71

    Ummm, I think Cole’s is WAY better than the fancy Lego one. And, if he really wants the Lego one, I think he should eBay his. I bet he gets much more than $200 for it…

  31. #72

    Cathy, you are a terrific mother!!
    By saying, “No”, or “Not right now”, you have allowed him to be creative & show what he is capable of doing for himself.

    He is certainly a great kid with huge potential, but as the old saying goes, “An apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”

    Well done Tree!!

  32. #73
    Holly A. Moss


    Your son is totally INCREDIBLE ~ what he can do with LEGOS never ceases to amaze me! I see an architectural career in his future (possibly?). His vision and imagination is really quite brilliant.

    On another note: any news on the Design Do-Over front?


  33. #79

    Thanks Cathy! I can’t wait to hear about it. If it’s half as creative as the chess set, I’m sure it will be great.

  34. #81

    i love that he found a way! that cole, he’s a smart one. and really, i like his set BETTER than the other one. very very cool.

  35. #82

    How freaking cool is that?!?! I swear, if I ever have a kid with half the creativity, I’ll roll over and die.!! Also, I love how Cole’s set is more portable than the original… the pieces look like they stay where you place them, instead of the smooth-tiled original board… He could sell that as a Travel Lego Chess Set, and you’ll never have to work again!

  36. #84

    i have to agree that cole’s set is so much better. i bet he could get much more than $200 on ebay.
    question: when you store the legos in bins do you sort them in any way. my son was so into logos when cole’s age (now 25) and i saved most of them. now my grand children are into them and i have always tried to sort them in some sort or order. tired color, shape, size, and other. but they always seem to end up in just one big pile of doo doo. would really love to find a better way since i spend much more time making things with the grand kids than i did with my kids 🙁

  37. #87
    Tiffany N

    Go Cole! What a smart boy. You have taught him well. Rather than complain about something he doesn’t have, he works with what he has. And his set is so much better. Total triumph all around!

  38. #88

    ohhhh….I should start buying some Lego sets now so that my son has something to work with when he’s old enough – I hope he’s just as creative as Cole is! I’m constantly amazed at what he comes up with and I really do like his chess set better than the expensive set…you have a pretty awesome guy there 🙂

  39. #89
    Rose Huffman

    Wow. That is so cool and MUCH better than the original set. I think you have the makings of your own creative entrepeneur!!! Maybe you should contact legos and see if they need a new engineer or product marketer on their team:)

  40. #90

    I knew, even before I read the rest of the post, and saw the pictures, that thee amazing Coleman would build his own fantastic version. Does not surprise me in the least. way to go cole! Poo Poo on those elite lego people-who needs them!

  41. #92
    Mary Kate

    Cole and Cathy,
    Great job! I am very impressed with your stick-to-it attitude.
    Did you build the base or is there some premade base out there that looks like that?
    Mary Kate

  42. #93

    Wow – Cole never ceases to amaze me! I have Lego sets separated in plastic bags with instructions. My 8 yr old son really isn’t into them anymore. I should ask if I could send them to Cole……!!

  43. #94
    Jen Strange

    I am SERIOUSLY impressed by that kid’s Lego skillz. My 6 year old is just getting into the tiny Legos, and I always think of your Lego posts as I’m helping to put together Star Wars randomness.

  44. #97
    Heather H.

    Love this! Reminds me of my uncle who is an amazing craftsman. He built a car out of wood with all working parts. The door handles work and the doors open. The steering wheel steers the wheels. It has a mini bar in the backseat. All out of wood. I love ingenuity!

  45. #98

    Cole, ROCKS! One day, perhaps we will see his masterpieces on exhibit in the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore. How cool would that be…?

  46. #99

    WHOA! Nice work Cole!!! I like his version better. Legos are the only thing my 6 year-old son plays with. I’ll have to show him this when he’s home from school.

  47. #100

    My son does the exact thing. He will disappear into his “Lego Lair” for hours and show back up with some totally amazing thing he saw online or just came up with by himself. I wish I had the creativity and patience to do that too!

  48. #107
    Lyn Meeker

    My son when he was Cole’s age wanted to be a LEGO designer and work at LEGO LAND … (In the back of his mind he still does…) … That type of creativity can not be taught! Way to go Cole!

  49. #108

    Now there’s some ingenuity. He reminds me of his can-do mom…although you never made a Lego iphone, I’m sure you thought of it.

    I would be happy to pitch in to the Cole Lego Fund, if he gives me partial copyrights on his later inventions. 🙂

  50. #111
    Tammy Barkey

    Wow! That is impressive. While it would be a shame to sell such talented, creative work, I bet he could sell it for as much money as it would take to buy the one he has his eye on. I think the one he created has much more value though, being that it is his own creation, and one of a kind. Cole, you are pretty neat.

  51. #116

    That’s quite awesome. I’ll tell youse something more awesome. HEAVEN ABOVE. Beyond super-dooper awesome. These are 15 verses I love which’ll help you wiseabove. May God flagrantly bless you, my friend, and may the Trinity always put two options in thy Finite Existence (L or R) so you know the Way home to Heaven. May I meet you Upstairs and we’ll go for a beer? I’d like that.

    Hebrews 9:27
    2 Timothy 4:3-4
    Galatians 4:16
    Daniel 12:3
    1 Corinthians 11:1
    Isaiah 22:22
    Psalms 37
    Luke 13:24
    Acts 17:26
    Matthew 5
    Romans 8:18
    Colossians 3:17
    James 1:2
    Jeremiah 24:41
    gotta whole lotta that, girl…

  52. #117

    My son has also been eyeing that chess set. He’s a Lego maniac! He was sitting right here with me when I looked a Cole’s chess set and he thought (and so did I) that it was WAY COOL!

  53. #118

    That is amazing. You – and he – should be proud. and thanks for sharing, I’ll give it a try next time my ds “needs” another set 😉

  54. #119

    Just got back from Legoland (which is like crack for boys) and they had a lego chess set for sale there – it was about $50. I’m not sure it was the same one (didn’t look too close at it and went for the lego tic-tac-toe set instead).

  55. #120

    This is SOOOO creative! I have shared the link with a few Lego loving friends!

    Hm, wonder where he gets it from… you think???

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