In Lego and Literacy (1), I discussed skills kids develop when building with LEGO bricks, and said many of those skills also contribute to literacy. I gave you some ideas to build on young LEGO fans' interest, and maybe inspire them to further creative activity.
Today I want to look at one particular website, and use it as a focus for encouraging kids to write. I've mentioned Minimizer before, in Using Toys as a Springboard to Writing. If you haven't done so already, do check it out with your kids. I think they'll enjoy decorating their own digital LEGO characters.
Once your kids have made a couple of characters at Minimizer, they can take screen grabs of them, and use them to:
Write a story - it will have to be a simple one, because the poses are static. Suggest to your kids that they create a dialogue between two LEGO people, or perhaps present a snippet of a longer conversation.
Write a list where they describe each character's likes, dislikes, habits, hobbies, strengths and weaknesses.
Create a wanted poster - this is another way to get kids to think about character, something that will benefit their writing as they get older.
Create a comic - make some text boxes for panels with a word processor, then add the Lego character pictures and write captions underneath. Speech bubbles are optional. Or use software like Comic Life (available for Mac or PC) the way I did in the picture above. I simply had to choose a template, drag my Minimizer pics to it, and add speech bubbles. Another idea would be to use ToonDoo, and use their ImagineR feature to import your own LEGO pics to a ToonDoo book. If low-tech suits you better, your child can build and pose the scenes he wants for his story with bricks and minifigs, then you can photograph them, scan and print, and he can add speech bubbles and captions with a marker.
Older kids might also like to create a book trailer, using LEGO pieces. They can use The Odyssey or Lego Money Pit Mystery Animation as inspiration. Encourage them to storyboard their ideas, and write a script for their trailer. Or they could try a movie like the one that Chase March and his class made.