Lego Club Challenge–Zip Line Racing

Go Lego Go!!  This one is a favorite for my kiddos because it’s definitely not something you do everyday.  After I explained the rules of Lego Club, I told them the day’s challenge.  They first had to build a car, plane, boat, carplane, boatcar, or any other combination.  But they had to work into their design some sort of loop to attach a paper clip too.

There are lots of Legos that could work so kids didn’t really have problems figuring it out.  I went around to each table and explained it again just in case anyone was stuck.


Setting up the track in my room is actually pretty easy.  I have a large coat rack at the back of the room that’s attached to the wall.  So all I have to do is tie some string to the coat rack, measure out the string for my tracks to make it kinda even, add some pulleys, and then tie all the strings to the leg of some tables.  You might have to get creative if you don’t have a similar setup like my coat rack, but it doesn’t take a whole lot of distance or height to make it work.


This time around I did four tracks (MORE is BETTER) but that turned out to be harder to manage.  People were able to race faster, but getting kids to hook up their vehicles, then getting the parent volunteers to drop at the same time was a bit of a hot mess.  So I would recommend only doing two lanes.


So anyway, once kids were done building, they could practice on the track, but only one at a time.  Otherwise they start racing each other and it’s too distracting for everyone then.  Once they were ready, I would attach their paper clip to a pulley; from there I would try to bend the paper clip to make their vehicle face forward so that it actually looks like it’s flying.  It doesn’t really have the same effect if it’s flying sideways.


I would tell them to wait to the bottom of the track to catch their piece.  Most of them made it down the track just fine, I told them to add weight if it didn’t make it all the way down.  And if it exploded when it hit the table leg from going to fast, I would tell them to make it a bit sturdier.  Kids LOVE it when their cars explode though, so no one ever follows that advice.  Although I did have a few kids try to make bumpers for when their car hit the leg of the table.


If there test drive was successful, I told them they could either try to add more weight to make it go faster or they could build a garage for their piece.  We built and tested for about 40 minutes, cleaned up for 5 minutes, and then spent the rest of the time racing.  Great fun!!  Thanks to Little Bins for Little Hands for inspiring the idea.



Lego Club Challenge–Scavenger Hunt

Scavenger Hunt!!  This one took a little bit more prep than usual, but it’s totally worth it.  I started out by looking through all of my Lego buckets for some unique items.  Hats, animals, jewels–things that stand out and that kids always want to use in their piece.

After that, I went to Google and started looking up pictures for all these different items.  The GREAT thing is that basically every single piece is going to be on Google Image somewhere since they often get sold individually, so you shouldn’t have a problem finding photos.

Then I took all those photos and made a quick name tag for every item.  When we get to the “Scavenger Hunt” portion of the lesson plan, I think it’s really helpful to have a good picture and a basic description of what it is.

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After that, I taped all of my pieces to their name cards so that:
A) Kids wouldn’t lose them.
B) I wouldn’t lose them.


I prepped about 40 of them, in case I had a lot of kids or in case kids lost their special piece.  It all took about 4 hours of prep, so not too bad.

So then it was time for Lego Club!!  After our normal rules, I explained that everyone would get one special Lego that they would have to hide in their piece.  But there were some extra rules:

  1. You can’t hide your special item under anything.  It has to be out so that everyone can see it.  So the goal is to hide it, but not cover it.
  2. No trading pieces.  I knew that this would lead to confusion later.  Besides it doesn’t really matter what you get, it only matters how well you hide it.
  3. Don’t detach your special piece right away.  We don’t want kids losing them and I don’t want to spend an hour looking for ONE thing.
  4. Don’t throw out your name tag.  They’ll need it for the end!!  I had copies of all of the tags, so that wasn’t a big deal.

So kids built a piece for about 45 minutes to hide their special item, then we cleaned up everything extra.  I set up some tables along the back, so that kids could take their piece AND their name tag and place it on the back table.  After that, we spent about 10 minutes running around and trying to find everyone’s special items.  A LOT OF FUN!!


Kids seemed to need more parental help than usual, but everyone had fun and they all turned out REALLY good!!  Here’s a few the kids made–can YOU find all the secret items?





Lego Club Challenge–Hidden Treasure!!

This was another really simple concept that kids liked!!  After we went over rules, I told our kids that our theme was: secrets!  We didn’t really brainstorm as a group, but I told them some of my ideas.  They could build a house with secret doors or secret passages or a secret jail.  Or they could build something really big and hide something small inside of it.

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My kiddos got to work RIGHT a way.  Every once and awhile, kids get stuck on the theme but not this time.  They knew what they wanted to do, and as always, they blew me away with what they and their parents could come up with.  And they loved talking about all the stuff they had hidden and where.  Here’s one with a really cool secret passage:

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Here’s a Egyptian tomb with skeletons hidden in the crypts:

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One of my younger kiddos made this one, but it works!  Lots of small stuff hidden in that car and in the buildings that he made:

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And here’s a secret house.  When I asked him what was inside, he said “It’s a secret!”  But if you ask me nicely, I might tell you what’s inside:

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This got me thinking for my NEXT theme!!  It’s going to be kind of a “Where’s Waldo?” but with Legos!!  Can’t wait to see how that one turns out, so stay tuned!!

Lego Challenge–Car Obstacle Course

This one was a BIG hit at Lego Club!!  After we quickly went over rules, I told everyone that the theme would be cars…but that was too easy.  So we had to build one car and at least one obstacle for their car.  We quickly talked about what an obstacle is and brainstormed really quick.  Most kids said ramps, but we soon starting getting into flamethrowers and pirates!  YEAH!



So it could really be anything, as long as a car could either go through it or over it.  Make sure to remind them about that.  If they ignore that rule, it’s okay.  Cars somehow will be able to FLY around any obstacle 🙂

I then told kids that at the end, we would line up our obstacles and we would be able to run through all of them!!


Some kids had a harder time with this one than usual.  Thinking of what obstacle to make and then actually putting it together was difficult for some.  This was also one of the few meetings were a good chunk of kids didn’t feel like they were done when time was called.  But everyone came up with something–even if it was just a tunnel, it’s still fun to go through!!


We usually share what we built really quick, but we ran out of time, so I had kids set up their obstacles on a few additional tables I set up.  Then I had them sit back down to explain the rules.  I told them that they could go through the obstacles, but to try to be gentle since we worked hard on building them.  I also reminded them that some of them might break and that’s okay, but we weren’t going to purposely go full-on Godzilla on our obstacles.  The kids seemed to understand, and they LOVED going through everyone’s obstacles.  I spent that time quickly fixing any that got broken.  SO MUCH FUN!!  Definitely doing this one again.


Everblocks in the Library

After only two years of use, the playhouse in our children’s library finally broke.  The door had fallen off the hinges, making it look more like a playshack than a playhouse.

We didn’t want to spend money on something that was just going to break again in a few years, so we weren’t sure how to replace it.  But then I saw this viral video:

So I thought, instead of buying a new playhouse that’s just going to break, how about buy these giant blocks and kids can build their own playhouse!  Or really–anything they want!  Like these kids that made a car:


Using the site’s “3D Virtual Builder” I figured I would need about 70 blocks worth about $500 to start making a decent playhouse.  In the end, the director decided to go with half that: 2 sets of 18 block pack for about $250, which was around the cost of our original playhouse.  That ended up being the right call for our trial run.

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Each block is made of heavy duty plastic and measures 6″ x 6″ x 12″.

When we got our two boxes, we were REALLY surprised by how heavy they were.  Each box weighed about 40 lbs. and with 18 blocks in a box, that means each block is over 2 lbs.  We should have realized they would have been heavy, since they can be used to build actual walls, like in the video.  I became worried that a large tower, if knocked over, would equal A LOT of weigh and might hurt someone if they weren’t looking.

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We tried posting a series of rules so that parents would know how to play with the blocks properly.  But kids were still building too high.  In the end I went with a more visual way to show how kids should play with the blocks.

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The line is about three feet from the ground, so that’s six blocks high.  Parents now understand the expectations a lot better and are much more likely to intervene.  I’ve noticed that I’ve had to go over to the play corner a lot less and explain proper use of the blocks.  And it’s now a lot easier to explain to people.

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So the end result has been mostly positive.  It promotes constructive play and family engagement, but it’s also much more cost effective than buying something that will just break again.  Kids do miss having a playhouse, and some kids don’t really get the concept yet that they can now make their own.

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But some kids have REALLY taken to the idea, and I’ve seen a few houses and castles pop up.  Whatever gets built usually gets destroyed and rebuilt a different way in a matter of hours, so we are already getting our money’s worth I feel.  And with the safety measures in place, I feel that kids will be enjoying these for years to come.

Here’s a few more of my favorite creations that kids made:



And this kid made a dog house!!


Lego Challenge–April Fools’ Day

Ah April Fools’ Day.  A terrible holiday for terrible people.


But this year, I actually celebrated it by tricking my Lego kids!!  After we went over rules of Lego Club, they were told they could build ANYTHING they want for 20 minutes.  After that, they would get an April Fools’ Challenge Card, which meant they would have to COMPLETELY change their piece to whatever the card said.

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The idea here is not to destroy your piece and start over, but add or change your piece to fit the new challenge.  PROBLEM SOLVING YEAH!!!!  As always kids didn’t have to do the challenge if they didn’t want to.  And kids got to switch their challenge cards if they didn’t like what they pulled.  Here’s how they turned out!

Here’s a kid that made a pirate scene:


BUT he had to make it into a CAR:


Turned out really cool!!  Here’s a kid that made a battle scene:


But he pulled the “Add to Your Piece to Make It as Tall as Possible” Card:


But this was my favorite.  This kid started out with a shark:


And he kept pulling cards until he got the “Turn Your Piece into a Haunted House” card.  He finally had an idea and build a scary aquarium.  IT’S AN ASCARIUM!!  BOOM!


Most kids loved it, I only had one kid that didn’t want to change his piece, and that’s okay.  I think this one really challenged some of my kids.  There’s nothing wrong with just building a car, but it’s great to get my kids to start thinking about solving problems with creativity.  Try it out and let me know if it worked for your Lego Club.  Funny story: the kid that pulled the “Only Add and Build Things that Start with the First Letter of Your Name” card ended up being named Xavier.  Wah wahhh.  He created a xylophone…and that was about it.


Lego Challenge–Bridge Attack

So I’m lucky enough that we’re able to put all of our Lego creations into a display case once we’re done.  I highly recommend finding a display case if you don’t have one.  Kids love the idea that EVERYONE will see their creation.  And kids that don’t know about the program can stop by, see what we do, and hopefully come next time.  Also some kids HATE destroying what they build, so that fixes that problem.

Anyway, we weren’t able to display our Legos this week in our normal spot.  So to fix that problem I decided that we were going to wreck our creations on PURPOSE!  My kiddos were asked to build a bridge for 3o minutes, then we would go around and try to destroy them with cans of tuna!!  I don’t have a set of weights, so I used tuna cans because they are cheap, lightweight but heavy in bulk, and most importantly, easy to stack!!

So to get kids excited, I made this diagram of their enemy, the tuna:

Did I mention I have a weird sense of humor??

They could build the bridge any way they wanted to, the only rules were you could only have TWO supports on the bottom, and those supports had to be about a foot apart (otherwise your bridge would be too strong.)  I went around to my tables to make sure that everyone got the idea and made sure everyone was following the rules.  I also told kids that they don’t HAVE to have their bridge broken, but they will get broken down soonish (didn’t say when to avoid tears) so let’s just break them now.  By the end everyone wanted to break theirs, so that wasn’t a problem.

Then it was time to share bridges and test them.  I bought 16 cans of tuna, thinking that would definitely break most of them.  But only about 5 out of 25 bridges broke!!  But the kids LOVED it when they broke.  I would recommend testing them in a safe spot where kids can’t get hurt, like the center of a table.  Kids love seeing everything tumble down, so don’t stop the disaster from happening, but make sure everyone’s at a safe distance but can still see.

Here are some of my bridges that passed the Tuna Attack!!

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And here’s some that didn’t:

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Everyone definitely had a great time!  Now if you’ll excuse me…I have to go make tuna salad sandwiches for the next 3 months.