I'm a collector, a builder, an artist, an inventor, a sculptor. I am all of these things from the second I snap two bricks together, to the time I'm pulling out my hair because something just doesn't look right.
Above all of this, I am not playing.
Sure I'm having fun while I build, but isn't any fulfilling hobby or project intended to have that goal? I heard someone refer to Lego as a toy the other day, and I felt offended. Are you trying to insinuate that I'm playing with toys and nothing more? I'm building for purpose, to learn more about myself and the creations I have imagined. Sometimes when I have an idea for something, I'll make it in Lego just to have a concrete understanding of something that I had a relative image of in my head.
A toy denotes play, but where is that line? The line that separates a toy from something else, like a cardboard box that becomes a fort? Mostly, in my mind, a toy's only purpose is to be played with and nothing more. Lego is much bigger than that, and much more.
Take as an example, Lego Mindstorms. If one who was unfamiliar with the brand was introduced to the NXT 2.0 set performing its functions and asked what it was, most likely the answer would be a robot, and not a toy. Sets involving pneumatic systems, complicated Technic sets that demonstrate a specific physical property, sensors that have a purpose like detecting sound or color; these are qualities of things one would find more often in a science lab than a toybox.
Thanks to Lego, we can take a brick and create whatever our imagination will allow. Sure, it can be a toy, but it is in equal parts a tool, a sculpting medium, a color palette, a collector item, a demonstrative replica, a display, and countless other things. So please, don't call it a toy.