Friday, January 11, 2013

Ten Creative and Fun Ideas with LEGO

Ten Creative and Fun Ideas with LEGO
by Susan Stephenson,

It's around that time in Australia when kids roam about looking for something enthralling to occupy them. Yes, it's the middle of the school holidays here in the southern hemisphere.

If the charm of holidays is beginning to pall, or like me you believe in the learning power of LEGO, why not suggest your kids start a LEGO project?

1. Visit the LEGO Quest website. It's not being updated any more, but this blog's archives hide real treasure for LEGO fans. They hold 51 LEGO quests, each suggesting a prompt for children's individual creations. Once each challenge was over, kids sent in photos and text descriptions of what they'd built from LEGO as a response to the prompt. Your kids get to see the prompt, and also take a look at how other kids have interpreted that - great for reading, learning and creative thinking!

Here are some random samples of prompts from the archives:
Modern Marvels of Engineering, Functional Household Object, Elements of Surrealism.

2. LEGO blocks can be a way to sneak a little writing and story telling into kids' lives. Introduce your children to comic editors Pharaoh's Quest, Hero Factory, and LEGO City Comic Builder where they can create their own LEGO-based comics. Find out more in my posts: Make a LEGO Comic at Pharaoh’s Quest, Make Comics with LEGO Hero Factory and Lego Literacy.

3. Do your kids collect LEGO minifigs? At Minimize Me, kids can choose from a range of elements to generate their own LEGO characters. Above, you can see a comic I created from screen shots I took at this website. Great challenge for your kids!

4. Storytelling is such an integral part of the LEGO experience. Listen to kids play as they build and act out roles with their LEGOs. The next step is formalizing these stories. Kids can choose a format like a movie or a five frame digital story to tell the story prompted by one of their own LEGO creations. I talk a little about using iMovie to stitch photos of toys together in The Book Chook Makes a Movie.

5. Here's a cute online matching game using LEGO pieces. Can kids create their own matching game with real LEGO blocks? Can they trace around a flat LEGO structure to make a template for a friend to fill?

6. LEGO blocks are great for challenges:
Who can build the tallest tower on a base plate/without a base plate?
How much weight can a LEGO bridge bear?
How fast can a LEGO vehicle go down a ramp?
How long will it take to build a castle/car/city from LEGO?
What can you make with six wheels/ only black blocks/ in two minutes/ that might fly/ has three doors/ is smaller than your fist?
What can you build from exactly 99 blocks?
Can you make all the letters in your name with LEGO blocks? How about all the letters of the alphabet?
What's the smallest LEGO vehicle you can make that will carry 8 LEGO people?

7. Sometimes kids can get LEGO "block", or even hit a "brick wall" with their building (!) If you think your young creators might need some instructions and plans to read, browse Brick website with them.

8. If you own an iPad, here are some LEGO apps you might like to explore with your kids:

LEGO Super Heroes Movie Maker

LEGO Photo

9. Make a board game based on LEGO. It might be set in one of the LEGO worlds, like Ninjago or Star Wars, be built from LEGO, or use LEGO blocks or figures as game pieces. Add in useful ideas from games you know like dice, chance cards you create to suit, a timer, a board game grid etc.

10. Have a LEGO drawing competition. Here's a tutorial on how to draw a mini fig. At LEGO city, you can download dot-to-dot LEGOs and colouring pages. You could set up a LEGO display to show your drawings AND your best LEGO creations. Make labels for them. You could even get some friends together and start your own LEGO club.

(Kids not into LEGO? Here are more than 350 printable pages from MakeBeliefsComix to encourage kids to create and have fun.)

Here are some other related Book Chook posts that might interest you:
LEGO and Literacy 1
LEGO and Literacy 2
LEGO Literacy
Construction Ideas
Using Toys as a Springboard for Writing


  1. On another blog just this morning I was singing the praises of lego for my child who doesn't like to sit still whilst I read to her in the evening. We've taken to emptying out the lego box and she happily builds away whilst we read, often creating something related to the story she's listening to. Satisfies her need to be not sitting still, but also makes us all happy to share a story.

  2. What a wonderful idea! I'll pass the word along.

  3. Great idea and brilliant work.


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