10.20.2011

Lego-licious

Soooooo...

We had danced around doing a Lego Club for awhile.  Last year's Games Club was a start with a variety of games played on alternating weeks - board games; Wii; Book Bingo; Giant Candyland and Lego building. Legos was clearly the most popular - and the least contentious.  So we decided to morph into a Lego Club this fall.

Although we asked for donations from our public, we got only one disgusting set (eeeee-yoooooo!). So we bit the bullet and purchased six 650-piece basic sets (blocks of various sizes and colors, no bells or whistles) and planned a four week after-school series for Gr 1-5 kids.

Hot doggies, has that been a hit or what?  We get anywhere from 20-30 boys and girls and many return each week. The kids love it, we love it and the check-outs before and after the program have been great. It's popular enough that more sets are on order!

We have a pretty simple set-up - three tables with a big piece of tagboard at each end. Kids empty the bricks on to the tagboard and are asked to keep the pieces on there (it helps us keep the sets basically together).  When they come in, we have an upbeat older kids CD playing to set a mellow mood. We announce a challenge theme (building; transportation; animal; monster; robot) and ask kids to create their first piece to the theme.  After that, it's free build! With only six sets kids gather together and build from the same brick pile - some on their own; sometimes creating complementary pieces together (horses and corrals; helicopter and landing strip) and sometimes working on one big mega-piece (deluxe dog house with build in food and water bowls and multiple entrances).

One staffer oversees the action armed with a digital camera and lots of words of encouragement and wonder.  A picture is taken of each creator and their Lego. Once the picture is taken, kids can break apart their creation and start again. When we are down to five minutes we ask kids to wrap it up and at three minutes to the end, we ask everyone to break apart and help clean up the bricks. Boom!  They all pitch in and before you know it the bricks are stowed and the kids literally skipping out.

What do I love about the program?  I love the cooperation. I love the joy of the kids. I love the creativity(One mom said her kids only build from sets and she is astounded to see them create wheels, windows, faces and more with only little rectangualr bricks). And I love just chatting with the kids as they let their imaginations take over and create and play.

8 comments:

  1. Marge, where did you order your sets from (if you don't mind me asking)? I am gearing up to start doing a Lego program at my library, and am trying to figure out the best source for the bricks. Thanks for the inspiration, by the way - both with this post and in general. I am always amazed with how your topics seem to synch up with what's on my mind! - Michele

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  2. Our business manager, a crack shopper with an unerring eye for bargains, found it online on the Lego website - basically $30/set: http://search2.lego.com/?pt=&cc=US&lang=2057&u=&q=6177

    And thanks for the props. Its fun to do the blog and glad it helps!

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  3. I was also thinking about starting a lego club. I'm glad to hear yours is going over so well, it's encouraging! Also, thanks for posting the info on cost and where to buy the sets.
    Adeline

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  4. Another example, too, that kids can be extremely expressive if you actually talk to them about/engage them in stuff they like! I love proof that kids have passions too.
    Can we throw out that donation then? :) it found a home on my desk, haha

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  5. I was contemplating starting a Lego Club in January and now I'm sold! Thank you for helping me make up my mind with your inspiring post.

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  6. We started one last February that meets once a month. Families really love it. We asked for donations and received a lot from families wanting to reduce their kids stash. I did buy one of the 650 brick only sets. We get 15-30 kids plus several dads each month. We have a theme and it is fun to see what the kids create.

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  7. Are there any problems with using the word Lego in the publicity for this program? Does the company care? I did buy their product.

    Martha in CA

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  8. We haven't had any problems so I am assuming we are good to go.

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