It’s not always easy to know how to talk about death, especially with children. Most of us try to avoid the subject, even though we are all certain to be confronted by it at one point or another in our lives. We’re able to discuss topics such as sex, drugs and money, but when it comes to teaching our children about death and dying, we fall short.
Children are sometimes unable to grasp the concept of death. However, a child’s curious and non-judgmental mind has the opportunity for things like death, grief, funerals, cremation to become less taboo if talked about openly. So, to prepare them better for these types of events later in life, Bestattungsmuseum, the Funeral Museum in Vienna’s famous central cemetery, decided to help their young visitors by introducing funeral LEGO kits based on somber scenes.
The first funeral LEGO kit the Funeral Museum introduced was a historical tram, which brought dead bodies to the Viennese central cemetery. It was used in Vienna between the first and second world wars for collectors. After that they put together kits of a truck and a historical hearse.
“In 2018 my team and I were thinking about new products made of LEGO components. We had a few questions from grieving customers like: “Can I take our children with us to the funeral of our grandfather?” or “my child is grieving, what can I do?” and so on.” Dr. Keusch explained.
“So we were brainstorming, how we can help children to overcome their grief. We have developed the crematoria, the cemetery with an excavator, the mourning family with a female and a male dead body and a skeleton and a historical horse buggy.”
Kits designed for the grieving process
Bestattungsmuseum consulted with the Viennese Association of Psychotherapists to ensured that the new LEGO products were useful for therapy with children and their parents, who were suffering from their loss. News about the funeral LEGO sets have gained worldwide attention, which Dr. Keusch has described as overwhelmingly positive, though there are always some quick to criticize.
While not official LEGO kits, they were designed in conjunction with the Funeral Museum and an Austrian company. They produced the packaging, the manual and organized the bricks and put it together in the box. There are currently three new sets available, with prices ranging from €50 to €90.
You can choose from a full cemetery with tombstones, tombs, excavators and cemetery personnel; there is also a crematorium in which a casket can be inserted. If you are more interested in role-playing the process you can find a funeral parade and a grieving family, which includes a father, mother, child, a deceased person and also a decomposed skeleton.
Do you think these funeral LEGO kits are an effective way to teach children about the realities of death? Let us know what you think below or on social media.