crafting a meaningful little project at a time

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Lego (Learning) Mania!

Operation Rage Against the TV Screen is in full swing around here…and so is Lego Mania! The littles are obsessed with Legos- they have a few sets between the two of them, and they inherited their Daddy’s Lego cases from when he was a little boy, so they have plenty of the little blocks to build with.
Do you have kids who are into Legos at the moment? Or do you have bins full of Legos at home that need new life breathed into them? Here are some of the things we’ve been working on- maybe some will work for you and your little ones this summer!
The first step, after pinning ideas, printing, and laminating of course, was to put together the Big Lego Binder. The bulk of the activities in the binder came from one of the awesome printable learning packs from one of my favorite learning resources, 1+1+1=1 . There are all kinds of printable themed packs available on this site for free for preschoolers and Kinders, and many have related Bible connections and scripture practice too! (The Lego one does not.) The Kindergarten LegoPrintable Pack features sight word practice, patterning, greater than/less than practice, counting with coins, writing, reader booklets, printing practice, matching games, and more. I downloaded the whole pack and just printed the pages I thought would work best for us right now. One of the kids’ favorites from this pack was a memory game that we played as Go Fish- there are so many fun mini-figure cards, from Disco Dude to Indiana Jones to the Mime…finding new “guys” is just as fun as making matches to win the game!

Another activity I adapted and added to the binder is a set of blank mini-figure templates. I found this image on Pinterest as well, and just printed them four-to-a-sheet to make them smaller. The kids have been busy designing their own “Lego people.” When we get these done, I plan to cut them out, laminate them, and glue magnets to the back. The kids have big plans of making a Lego village with scenery on the front of our dishwasher! (I plan to sneak in some sight word practice here too by printing some colored Lego brick shapes, writing in the words we need practice with, and working out a way to make Lego story sentence strips…muah ha ha…)

Another big hit in the binder is the DIY Lego Game from Inspired By Familia. Also a Pinterest find, this game was super easy to assemble- it includes playing cards and a set of directions for the game. I adapted the instructions to simplify the rules a bit, found a free blank game board template online, and colored it instead of setting it up the way this site suggested to save time. I laminated the game board and three-hole-punched it to keep it in the binder. The game works like this: each player picks a mini-figure, which line up on the Start box. The game board is set up for play by making a pile of various Lego pieces, and the pile of playing cards. Play starts with the youngest, progressing to the oldest. The first player draws a card and follows the directions. The cards include directions like, “Take one Lego piece,” “Lose a turn,” or there will just be a color that the player moves to. The goal is two-fold: who will collect the most Lego pieces/build the biggest Lego structure, and who will get to the end of the board game first- so we end up with two winners at the end.

Another fun addition to the binder is a neat spin off of the color-by-number idea, which my kids love. This one is color-by-sight-words, featuring Ninjago characters was called Kindergarten Sight Word Pages from Fun with Learning. It’s pretty self-explanatory: the Ninjago characters are labeled with various sight words, and the kids have to read the sight words- and color words- to decide which part to fill in with which color. I thought this might be beyond my little guy, who is four, but he is so intent on being able to do everything that Big Sister does that he plowed right in and surprised me!

Since Ninjago is the theme of Lego people that my littles are most interested in at the moment, I took some extra time to create a set of Ninjago cards from scratch for a matching game. Totally worth the time! They have had just as much fun playing memory with this set as they have using them as story-starters. They will lay all the cards out, face up, and tell stories about the characters. Sometimes they recreate the story lines from the cartoon, and sometimes they make up their own scenarios. My Little Pony figures have gotten involved at a few points, and I’ve seen them propping the cards up in their rice bins to really set the scenes for their imaginary play episodes as well. I found the pictures on the Brikipedia site- you can find any kind of Lego characters or themes here, or you can brush up on your Lego terminology here too!

’ve kept the Big Lego Binder and a bin of Legos out on the sofa table over the last week so the kids can access it when they want, and we’ve also spent time working on activities from the binder together under my direction. Playing Lego Go Fish has been a popular after-dinner option, and every time they’ve spent time watching a Ninjago episode, they have gone right to the binder afterwards to follow the TV watching with some Lego learning play time. Woo hoo!
I hope some of these Lego learning activities can work for your kids too- they are a cheap, fun alternative to sitting around, staring at a screen all day!  :)

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