I admit it, I am addicted to Pintrest. I really don’t think it’s a BAD thing, not like my addiction to chocolate, which I know is bad. Pinterest is full of interesting ideas that are wonderful for taking and either using straight out of the box, or using them with just a twist. A pin-twist.
One of my most recent ones involves a pin from Frugal Fun 4 Boys. Their blog has a Lego Fun Friday feature, and this one involved a Bridge Building Challenge. She uses hers with her boys, and they spanned their bridges across the kitchen, and across tables and everywhere else. Obviously, I can’t have kids trying to span Lego bridges across the library stacks (especially when my programming space is across the hall from the library), but it did spark a variety of ideas for my tween and teen Lego makerspaces.
My pop-up makerspace is very pop-up and very mobile. The details and basics that I started with can be found here. I added as money permitted more Legos and 8 football-sized display cases that allow the tweens and teens to display their works between programs- they LOVE to show off their work to others.
With the tweens (8-12 years) I had been giving them general challenges about what to build to get them started: animals, evil lairs, catapults, etc., but never something that needed to have a dedicated end result. They could make rainbow zebras, snake-filled labyrinths- whatever came into their heads.
By twisting that idea to what we could do in my programming room or in the library (build a building at least so feet high that can support this book in 15 minutes; in 20 minutes build a car that can go over this obstacle course, with this cup of Legos, build a space ship, etc.) it became a two-prong program. I had a freezone program, and a challenge, and with that challenge their excitement actually doubles.
We have set blocks and areas where those that are doing the “challenge” can build, and other “free zone” areas where those who just want to create are free to engage. When those who are done with the challenge (either have finished testing their creations or decided that for some reason they are done) they are free to move back to the free zone and work on a creation of the day which goes into one of our football-sized display cases.
In fact, the teens have gotten into the act by helping design and volunteer to run the challenge portion of the tween Lego portion, still volunteering and being “in charge”, but yet at the same time still playing with Legos.
Every week there’s always a questions about the next Lego night- whether someone sees the cases and wonders what a library is doing with Legos, or one of my regulars wants to know what the next Makerspace is. It’s a wonderful thing to know that they’re actually looking forward to the library.