Lego Club

OWL’s Lego Club has been going strong since September. Each week children gather and listen to a story to inspire their creativity. Then they are given a Lego Challenge to build in a half-hour. It’s so much fun to see their brains work! Some children build something exactly as they saw it in the picture book story, while others take the idea and make it their own. I read a story called Twenty-One Elephants and Still Standing. It describes P.T. Barnum’s spectacle of using his circus elephants to walk over the Brooklyn Bridge to prove its safety to the public. Some children created their own teams and tried to make the longest bridge possible in thirty minutes, while others worked alone and created scenes from the story. Each child is assigned a number for this activity that corresponds to their parent’s email address so they have a keepsake of their weekly creation.

From left: three children teamed up to build an intricate bridge with cars riding on it, one child built an elephant with P.T. Barnum following, two children built the longest bridge using teamwork.

I was so inspired by their imagination that I incorporated Lego Land Florida as a stop into my most recent vacation. I think my engineer husband had more fun than I did! We spent all day in the land of Legos where outdoor decorations, signs, even amusement park rides were made of Legos. I was in awe: there were full-size animals, life-size people, and even city landscapes all made from interlocking plastic bricks.

Coming into winter, this is the perfect activity to use with your children or grandchildren at home. The possibilities are endless! Here are some suggestions on creating your own Lego Club at home:

This is a garage. The mechanic is working on a car lift.

Transportation
Whether you choose planes, trains or automobiles, the transportation theme is a great jumping off point to building a one-of-a-kind masterpiece. There are plenty of books to look to for inspiration. One of my favorites is the classic Freight Train. The train is rainbow-colored and eventually picks up speed, blurring its colors as it accelerates down hills and over bridges. Hot Rod Hamster is a rhyming story about racing cars. Hamster has to make lots of different choices including the size of his tires, the color of his car, and what color flames to paint on.

 

One child built the Mrs. Brains, Mr. Brains, Baby Brains and RoboMom.

Robots
Since Legos are already boxy, they are the perfect medium to build a robot. If you’re looking for a good robot, you can read Baby Brains and Robomom. This cute story features a superbaby who creates a Robomom to help Mommy and Daddy with household chores. The kids love to shout out, “I want my mommy!” with Baby Brains as Robomom malfunctions. If you want to build a bad robot, you can read Atomic Ace and the Robot Rampage. Atomic Ace, the town’s superhero, battles a pack of evil robots that descends upon his son’s school.

One child built Ethan’s bedroom with his monster, Gabe, oozing out from under his bed in I Need My Monster.


Monsters

Monsters are usually under utilized unless it’s October, but there are plenty of spooky stories to read throughout the year! I Need My Monster is about a boy whose monster goes on vacation. He tries substitute monsters, but their claws and bad breath don’t measure up to his Gabe. Forest friends help Duck with a “monster” under her bed in The Great Monster Hunt. Each animal adds a horrible noise coming from under the bed. When the “monster” is finally revealed, readers will have quite a laugh!

This is a butterfly with wings.

Flying
The possibilities are endless when you have to add Lego wings. The children in the Lego Club made a variety of winged animals and vehicles. They drew inspiration from one of their favorite authors Kevin Henkes. His vivid picture book Birds is bold and vibrant as it describes what birds and humans have in common. An oldie but goodie containing a flying car is Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. A family has adventures with their quirky, inventor father as he restores an old car that has special powers. You can read an excerpt from this book, or turn it into a read aloud bedtime story.

Two pirates had to walk the plank. One found a life raft, the other is awaiting his fate as the shark circles in the ocean.

Pirates
Every child loves a good “Argh!” and “Yo ho ho!” There are so many great tales of adventure for this lively theme. Pirate Girl describes Molly’s journey as she is taken aboard Captain Firebeard’s ship. She is made to clean the deck day after day. She bravely yells to the captain, “You’ll be sorry!” You won’t believe the look on Firebeard’s face when Molly’s grandma shows up to save the day. Roger, the Jolly Pirate is a fictional biography about how the pirate flag became known as the Jolly Roger. You’ll laugh along with Roger as he inadvertently becomes the hero!

For more ideas, browse our shelves or I’d be delighted to help you!

Lisa Shaia is the children’s librarian who just made Lego Batman earrings.

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