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).
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.