The Importance of Play

As part of the partnership with LEGO® DUPLO®, ALSC is committed to examining the role of play in early literacy. Among the resources you will find here are programming ideas, a librarian toolkit, and a white paper that addresses the importance of play in the lives of young children. We hope that you will use these resources in your library to promote the critical aspect of play. 

White Paper

 
This white paper, written for the Association for Library Service to Children by Sue McCleaf Nespeca, was adopted by ALSC's Board of Directors on September 10, 2012. 
 

Librarian Toolkit

 
Play draws children in for a richer learning experience. LEGO® DUPLO® and ALSC know that librarians are the ones who bring these experiences to life. For more information on how you can spread the joy in your library, download the Librarian toolkit above.

Constructive Play at Libraries

Ashburn Library, Ashburn, Virginia.
Submitted by Rosanne North, Library Assistant.

My co-worker and I designed a program using Legos based on the 1,2,3 Math and Science curriculum that our library has (aimed at children ages 8-11).We have had these classes each week throughout the year and wanted to tie in the theme of our Summer Reading program, "Invade Your Library" for the Summer classes. We designed the class teaching the children about physics and how rockets and spaceships are propelled into space. We also talked about Unidentified Flying Objects and identified different parts of a space ship with stations for the kids to add on to their space craft. They started at one end of the room and built the "base" of their ship with Legos, and then went around the room and added "feelers", "eyes", "reachers" and other parts to their spacecraft. It was a huge hit.

Boise Public Library, Library! at Hillcrest, Boise, Idaho.
Submitted by Jennifer A. Redford, Librarian.

Lego Club Lesson Plan : Building Bridges

Summary of Program: A Library! staff member acts as a facilitator for the program and reads a picture book or chapter from a larger book to set the theme for the day. After a brief learning activity and discussion on the importance of constructive play, the children are each given a cup full of Legos to begin building. They have until 4:00pm to build and play, then their creations will be put on display as space allows for one week.

On a white board the following was written for parents: Playing with blocks is a great way to encourage brain development! Blocks help your children:

  • Develop Fine Motor Skills
  • Learn about problem-solving
  • Work in Teams
  • Learn about physics
  • Develop Math & Science skills
  • Have fun!

Today’s Lesson—Bridges:
Book: Iggy Peck, Architect by Andrea Beaty
After reading this story, go to PBS’s Building Big Bridges website to learn some basics about bridges (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/buildingbig/bridge/basics.html). Make sure to click on the links that show the different forces acting on different types of bridges. Talk with the children about which types of bridges they are going to try to build. Wrap up your discussion with an overview of the Lego Club Rules (see below) and let the kids build. Some kids will get done soon and some will take the full two hours. When families show up late, make sure to brief them on the theme before the kids start building.

Lego Club Rules:
1. Since we are borrowing the blocks that we use, it is important to keep them separate. Blocks in the Lemhi Room stay in the Lemhi Room and blocks in the Camas Room stay in the Camas Room.
2. Everyone can start with 1 cup of Legos. After you have started building with your first cup, you can come and get another.
3. Please be respectful of your neighbors and share blocks when you can.
A couple of other notes: When you see parents taking pictures of kids and their Lego creations, make sure to remind them to tag BPL if they are uploading the pictures to Facebook.

Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn, New York.
Submitted by Katya Schapiro, FFY Grant Programs Coordinator & Rachel Payne, Coordinator Children’s & Family Services

Five programs described below are all part of their “Read, Play, Grow!” Play Tips

Cereal Box Blocks
What you do: Empty cardboard cereal boxes or other boxes can make great blocks. Stuff the boxes with newspaper to make them sturdier and tape the flaps closed. You can line a few of them up on the floor like dominoes and show him how he can push one into the others and they will all fall down. Build a tower with the blocks. You can also talk about the pictures, colors or letters on the boxes.
What you can say:
When you line up boxes like dominoes, talk with your child about cause-and-effect:

  • “What do you think will happen when we push the first box? Let’s push it! Look! They all fall down!”

As you build towers, compare them: Ask:

  • “Which is taller?”
  • “Which is shorter?”

Point out letters on the boxes:

  • “Look, there’s a T. Your name starts with T: Tom!”

Safety tips: If any of the boxes have sharp edges, cover them with tape.

Board Book Blocks
What you do: Get various board books of different sizes and line up board books on their sides like dominos and show your baby how to knock them over. You can also build short towers of books. Often their babies and toddlers will knock them over! Make a tunnel out of books. Get creative! Read the books when you are done building.
What you can say:

  • Make lots of sound effects as you knock books over, it will keep your baby or toddler engaged.
  • Ask your baby or toddler, “What do you think will happen when we knock the blocks over? Will they fall down? They fell down!”
  • You can even play peek-a-boo with books. Hold them in front of your face and say “Where did mommy go?”

Safety tips: Don’t make any tower or building so high that it could fall on your child.

The Sorting Box

What you do: Toddlers love to sort objects, particularly blocks. You can make your own block sorter for your toddler using a shoebox with a lid and your toddler's own assorted shape blocks. Trace around each different shape block on the shoe box lid, and then cut out each shape. Let your toddler have fun putting stickers on his sorting box and then turn him loose with his new homemade toy!

What you can say: Use lots of descriptive language to teach your toddler colors and shapes: “This block is a triangle! It is blue.” “Can you find the triangular hole?”

Sort blocks by color and shape: “Let’s put all the square blocks together!” “Let’s put all the red bocks together.” Focus on the concept of In and Out: “Look, we put all the blocks INTO the box. Let’s take them all OUT!”

Black & White Cube
What you do: Very young babies see black and white images best since their vision is still developing. Take a box (a boutique-size tissue box works well) and cover it with black and white pictures. The bolder the design the better, such as a checker board design or the image of a zebra. Cover the pictures with clear contact paper or packing tape to protect it. Give it to your baby to play with.

What you can say:

  • Comment on what your baby looks at. “What do you see on the box? I see a zebra!”
  • As your baby plays with the cube, describe what your baby is doing. “You touched the cube!”
  • Babies love when you imitate them. Mirror back facial expressions and echo their babbling.

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Squirrel Hill Branch, Pittsburgh, PA.
Submitted by Megan Fogt, Manager of Children’s Services.

Super Science @ Your Library Program Plan Created by Children’s Librarians at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh For Grades K-5. Theme: Inventors & Inventions: Bridges

Program Objective: Children will learn about different types of bridge structures and inventor John Roebling through stories and hands-on science activities.

Met Kindergarten PA Academic State Standards in Reading and Third Grade PA. Academic State Standards

Recommended Books:
Picture Book:
Twenty-One Elephants by Phil Bildner

Informational Text:
Bridges! Amazing Structures to Design, Build and Test by Carol Johmann
The Bridges of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County by Robert Gangewere
The 10 Most Amazing Bridges by Suzanne Harper

Additional Titles for display:
Brooklyn Bridge by Lynn Curlee
Water Street by Patricia Giff
Bridges by Seymour Simon
Pop’s Bridge by Eve Bunting
The Three Billy Goats Fluff by Rachael Mortimer

Materials:

  • Marshmallows (1 Large Bag/1 Small Bag)
  • Toothpicks
  • Stack & Stick Bridge Building Kit

Introduction: Show children the photographs of various bridges (see below). Before you introduce any of the concepts of bridge building, ask participants if they see shapes that are used in all of the photographs. As you discuss the photographs talk about the following vocabulary words:

  • Bridge: (brij) noun a structure spanning and providing passage over a river, chasm, road, or the like.
  • Arch Bridge: (ahrch) noun a bridge that uses the principle of high arch, either above the deck or below. (Fort Pitt Bridge, Pittsburgh, PA)
  • Beam Bridge: (beem) noun the simplest type of bridge, a plank over a stream for example. Each end rests on a firm foundation or multiple piers. (Veterans Bridge, Pittsburgh, PA)
  • Suspension Bridge: (suh-spen-shuh n) noun a bridge that has a roadway supported by cables that are anchored at both ends. (Roberto Clemente Bridge, Pittsburgh, PA)
  • Truss Bridge: (truhs) noun a structure of triangular-shaped forms which support the weight of the bridges as well as the load of traffic. (Smithfield Street Bridge, Pittsburgh, PA)
  • Engineering: (en-juh-neer-ing) noun the art or science of making practical application of the knowledge of pure sciences, as physics or chemistry, as in the construction of engines, bridges, buildings, mines, ships, and chemical plants.

Once you get to this vocabulary word, tell participants that they will be learning about a famous engineer and that today they will be designing like engineers to create their own bridges.

Read Aloud: Twenty-One Elephants by Phil Bildner

  • Look at the cover of the book and ask the students if they have walked across a bridge. What do they think a bridge builder has to consider? Briefly discuss John A. Robeling the chief designer of the bridge.

Primary Activity: Build A Bridge
Give children toothpicks and marshmallows and let them build a bridge. Use the photographs to give participants ideas of different bridge structures. Focusing on the Truss bridge works especially well when building with marshmallows and toothpicks. Truss bridges use triangular shapes, called tetrahedrons, to form their structure. Ask children to see if tetrahedrons can be used when making their toothpick bridge.

Secondary Activity: Testing Your Design
Once children have completed their bridge invite them to test their design. First, place two chairs side by side with a gap for the bridge. Place a piece of foil through the middle of the bridge deck and gradually place pennies to increase the weight. Once the bridge starts to break and/or sag, encourage participants to go back and revisit their design. Keep track of which design is most successful.

Additional Activity: Bridge Blocks
Students that are not permitted to use food for allergy reasons may use Lego or Duplo blocks instead of the food items to build. Also, you can split the class into two parts and have half the students use food and half use blocks. Which team has the stronger bridge? How many pennies will each bridge hold?

Closing:
You may want to take pictures of the bridges for posting on your library’s Facebook and/or Flicker accounts. Children should be encouraged to take home their bridges and continue to explore their designs with materials they find at home.

My Pittsburgh: Imagination Builders Program Plan Created by the Children’s Librarians at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
For School Age Students (In School/In Library) Theme: Building/Architecture

Program Objective: Children will use Lego blocks and other building implements to create a cityscape or their own building. The artwork could be digitally photographed for inclusion on library’s Facebook or Flicker accounts.

Met Pennsylvania State Standards for: Arts & Humanities; Civics & Government; Geography; History; Mathematics; Reading.

Materials

  • Book: The Three Little Pigs: An Architectural Tale by Steven Guarnaccia (or another book that focuses on architecture – see resources list below)
  • Building Materials: Lego Blocks, Duplo Blocks, K’Nex Blocks or other building materials
  • Building Ideas: Photographs of local landmarks or a book such as Arches to Zigzags: An Architecture ABC by Michael J. Crosbie that shows various features of buildings. If you have other books with building ideas, put these out on display for participants to browse as they work on their own creations.

Program

  • Introduction: Create a list of things that participants know about buildings. Start with a question like: What different things (features) make up a building? Expand this conversation by talking about favorite local buildings or architectural features, such as pillars, facades, arches, towers, etc.
  • For even more architectural features and photographs show some of the pictures in a book such as: Arches to Zigzags: An Architecture ABC by Michael J. Crosbie
  • Read: The Three Little Pigs: An Architectural Tale by Steven Guarnaccia.
  • Discuss: Talk about the story with the children. For example, ask:
    • What was your favorite part of the story?"
    • How would you build a house strong enough to keep the wolf out?
    • What Pennsylvanian landmark is pictured in the book?
  • Build: Each child attending the program will be invited to build an individual building or work as a team to create a model cityscape. The artwork does not need to be an exact representation of the subject but should reflect the child’s creativity.
  • Share/Closing: Upon completion of the art project begin a discussion of the children’s work, encouraging them to discuss their piece and how it represents an aspect of architecture, a building or a city. Take pictures if you are going to post the children’s work to Facebook or Flicker.

Resources

Books:

  • Alphabet City by Stephen T. Johnson
  • Arches to Zigzags: An Architecture ABC by Michael J. Crosbie
  • The Big Orange Splot by D. Manus Pinkwater
  • Bottle Houses: The Creative World of Grandma Prisbrey by Melissa Eskridge Slaymaker
  • Built to Last by David Macaulay
  • Roberto the Insect Architects by Nina Laden

NOTE: This program can be used as a month long exploration of building/architecture by keeping the same format and choosing a different book each week.

Web: Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh Architecture http://www.clpgh.org/research/art/pittsburgh/pgharchitecture.html#N Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation: Architecture for Young Children http://www.phlf.org/education-department/architecture-for-young-children...

Chappaqua Public Library, Chappaqua, New York.
Submitted by Miriam Lang Budin, Head of Children’s Services.

Lego Club - The program is for kids in 3rd-5th grades and meets every other Tuesday from 4:00-5:00. We limit registration to 16 kids. We set the participants a "challenge" at each meeting and they don't know what it will be until they are in the room. It might be to design their "dream bedroom" or "the world's best vacation spot". It might be to build a project that fits onto a certain-sized piece of paper. After they've worked for 50 minutes or so we stop and let them show and describe what they've constructed. Our bins of Legos are comprised of donations (largely the collections amassed by my sons). We get both boys and girls regularly.

Cook Memorial Library, La Grande, Oregon.
Submitted by Carrie Phillips, Youth Services Librarian.

We connected with our fair board, and have a LEGO building competition during our local fair. The library provides the LEGO pieces, and kids receive ribbons just like any other exhibit.

Coeur d’Alene Public Library
Submitted by David Townsend, Communications Coordinator

The Coeur d’Alene Public Library has had the LEGO-rama program since 2006. The program was introduced to provide something of more interest for boys that would be comparable to the American Girl Tea Party the library had offered for several years. (Both programs are, of course, open to boys and girls.) Along the way we have received donations of LEGOs as well as purchasing some kits. We now have a sizable collection for use at LEGOrama and as part of our weekly LEGO Club (more on that later). We have scheduled LEGOrama during January. The program has evolved somewhat, but basically works like this: • Free Play – We have a 25 by 25-foot tarp we put down in the center of our Community Room and we pour out the LEGOs on it. As kids arrive they can create whatever they want, but must keep all of the library’s LEGOs on the tarp. This simplifies cleanup – just use the tarp to pull the pile into the center and scoop the LEGOs back into the Rubbermaid Tubs.

Competition – Participants build their own creations at home and bring them in to be judged. (Another reason we keep the library’s LEGOs on the tarp so they don’t get mixed up with those the children bring from home.) Judging is in three age groups – 4-6, 7-10, and 11-13. Older and younger children are invited to display their creations but are not included in the judging. Designs have to be original and built entirely by the participants. I use volunteer judges. This year a high school robotics club did the judging. Certificates are awarded and winner can pick out prizes from a selection of books, art sets, science kits, etc.

Program – we usually try to have a speaker. We have had wood workers, architects, crafters and this year the Robotics Club brought in their robot to demonstrate. The goal of the programs is to inspire the young participants with an appreciation for building and doing things with their hands and imagination. I also display related books and emphasize the library as a resource for building.

Games – Using the library LEGOs we have a timed competition. Participants have three minutes to build whatever they can with one handful of LEGOs. The younger players are allowed two handfuls so it is not too frustrating for them.

Snacks – We started out offering a LEGO-themed cake and after cleaning smashed cake out of the carpet now offer paper cups of animal crackers (thank you Costco) and LEGO punch (half lemonade and half cherry drink mix in a lovely bright orange-colored refreshment that will take the enamel right off their teeth). This one of our most popular annual programs. A few years back youth services started adding the LEGO Club activity to the weekly programs. It is primarily free play, but the librarians start each session with a sing-along and do display books about LEGOs and building.

Cromaine Library, Hartland, Michigan.
Submitted by Jeanne Smith, Adult and Youth Manager.

We have at least one Lego day at the library during the winter and then multiple during the summer reading club. In the past we would give them a theme, the child would make their creation at home. bring it to the library, and then the creations would be judged and prizes given out. Now, we have them bring in 2 gallon sized plastic bags filled with whatever Lego pieces they want, and I put masking tape on the floor to give each child their own space. I announce the theme and they have 30 minutes to make what they interpret for the theme. After the 30 minutes each child explains what they made, and why! No prizes, but they love it!

Cuyahoga County Public Library, Parma, Ohio.
Submitted by Sarah Kepple, Youth Programming Specialist.

We’ve done many open building play programs, but for the last few years we’ve focused on building STEM and Literacy skills through Lego robotics materials such as the Mindstorms, and, most recently the WeDo kits. The following is information on our RobotixBlox programming. Many of our Children and Teen Librarians have been trained in robotix and lead both one day programs and day camps. We evolved to have these programs be book inspired. This summer our camps were around Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Percy Jackson and the Olympians and the Hunger Games. You can see more about our programs here: http://cuyahogalibrary.org/robotix.aspx This fall, we’ll be piloting monthly Robotix Clubs for 7-10 year olds at two branches using the LEGO WeDo software/kits. For these, we’re starting out using the curriculum provided by LEGO, which specifically targets literacy play as well as STEM skills.

Deschutes Public Library, Bend, Oregon.
Submitted by Josie Hanneman, Community Librarian. At our libraries we will start our first round of LEGO programming this fall. Our plan is to read a book to elementary aged students, then have them build around that theme. For example, we will read If I Built a Car, by Chris van Dusen, then have them build their own dream vehicle. We will photograph the resulting structures/vehicles and display them in our children’s area.

Douglas County Public Library, Minden, Nevada.
Submitted by Kathy Echavarria, Youth Services Librarian.

Douglas County Public Library, NV conducted a LEGO building challenge/contest as part of the 2009 Summer Reading Program “Be Creative.” The contest was modeled, in part, on the Lego building contests that are regularly offered in the Lego Magazine. Instead of bringing or sending us photos, we asked the children to bring their own Lego constructions into the library. Parents and children were required to sign a disclaimer releasing the library from liability should their construction become dismantled or pieces of their construction disappeared. Children competed within different age categories. We were surprised to receive over 200 entries, and our summer reading program enrollment increased dramatically. Kids came in regularly to view the new entries, and they brought in relatives and friends to view their entry. Library visits increased dramatically during the summer. Entries were placed onto the shelves with Museum Wax. Photos were taken of every entry, just in case we had to do a quick reconstruction. Winners received Lego sets. It was such a success. Word of mouth traveled to the County Commissioners, and they invited us to their meeting in order to properly honor the winners. By January 2010 kids were asking when we were doing the Lego contest again. Teachers told us that the summer reading program was an easy sell when they mentioned the Lego building contest. We decided to do the program again in 2010. We discontinued offering the program summer 2012; instead we will offer it December 2012/January 2013 in hopes that it will stimulate library visits during the school winter break.

East Baton Rouge Parish Library, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Submitted by Pabby Arnold, Children’s Services Coordinator.

Our librarians use Lincoln Logs occasionally with construction storytimes.

Ottawa Public Library/Bibliothèque publique d'Ottawa, Ottawa ON.
Submitted by Jane Venus, Manager, Lifelong learning and literacy.

Use the Force (Greenboro Branch)- For ages 6-12, this program brought together Star Wars themed materials from our collection with LEGO building, as well as other activities. The first part of the program was a book talk about a number of Star Wars and LEGO books, followed by a showing of some short films from the Internet created using LEGO and based on the Star Wars films. The second part of the program involved the children working together to build a town from LEGO. Photos were taken of their creation, and prizes were given out at the end. This program was so popular (registration was completely full after just a few days of it being advertised, and there was a waiting list) that another session will be held in November. As one staff member said “The beauty of this program is that it took the least amount of prep time and staff hours and it was one of the most popular of all our summer in-house programs.”

How It Works (St-Laurent) - This program for 6-8 year olds was part of our TD Summer Reading Club roster, and its main idea was to explore the inner workings of machines and other things. LEGO was used during the program so the children could build their own fantastical machines. Themed Block Parties (St-Laurent) - This branch also held a number of programs last year for school-aged children based on a variety of themes (one was submarines). These worked much the same as the “Use the Force” program: a short booktalk would be given, LEGO-based films were shown (often from http://www.brickfilms.com), and then the children built their creations based on the theme. LEGO and theme-based books were displayed, and a door prize of a book was given out at the end of the session. The children’s creations were displayed in the library for a while after the program.

Block Party (North Gloucester) - The building session at the North Gloucester branch was based around three different activity stations: a free play building station, the Nintendo Wii with LEGO-based games from our collection (http://ottawa.bibliocommons.com/search?audience=juvenile&formats=CDROM&l...), and a craft station with LEGO Kirigami and print-making (inspired by http://zakkalife.blogspot.ca/2010/04/lego-kirigami.html, http://mamalibrarian.com/tag/crafts/, and http://debduzscrappin.blogspot.ca/2010/06/cards-lego-party-invites.html). A display of “idea” books was also set up for the children to browse (http://ottawa.bibliocommons.com/search?locale=en-CA&t=keyword&q=lego&aud...). We also have some LEGO programs planned for the future: Brick

Builders Book Club (Carlingwood) This non-traditional book club for ages 7-11 will be held monthly on a Friday after school, and was inspired by lists of themes on a library website from Kelowna, BC. Books on the theme will be provided ahead of time (the meeting before, ideally) for the children to read before the program. The program will start with a book talk, and then a group book rap followed by a game or activity. The rest of the meeting will be dedicated to building. The theme for October will be “spooky places”, and possibly bridges for November (with ideas from this site: http://www.startwithabook.org/booklists/builders-and-buildings). Books will be available in both English and French.

Multicultural Block Party (Main) No definite plans or date have been set for this yet, but the idea of a multicultural LEGO-based program has come up, in partnership with our Newcomer services. Perhaps participants could learn about and build models of various landmarks or culturally significant objects (i.e. a pyramid, the Eiffel Tower, an inuksuk). Overall, the feeling from Children’s staff all over the system is that LEGO is a wonderful learning tool and draw for our programs, and that it would definitely be beneficial to have more available.

Penn Yan Public Library, Penn Yan, New York.
Submitted by Sarah Crevelling, Youth Services Librarian.

At my library we had a LEGO Build-a-thon that raised money for our local chapter of Habitat for Humanity. Teams of two competitors paid $5 each (all entry fees were donated to Habitat for Humanity) and participants had a limited amount of time to build a house using the library’s Legos. A guest judge from Habitat for Humanity judged the houses based on how well they would make actual homes for needy people in our area. We awarded small Lego prizes to the winning teams. This was a popular program that we look forward to repeating for many years to come.

Smyrna Public Library, Smyrna, Tennessee.
Submitted by Mindy L. Barrett, Youth Services Assistant.

Smyrna Public Library's Lego club requires registration. You may register once a month and is designed for 7+ years of age. All Legos are provided by the library. Attendees pre-register each month and attend the session they have registered for. (Although patrons attend ONE Lego club a month, it is offered 2-3 times that month to ensure maximum reach. Same program, different day) Youth Services plan a theme for each monthly meeting. Previous themes include space, pirates, ninjas, and farm life. Upcoming themes include Planes Trains & Automobiles, and Toys. After Lego Club etiquette is discussed, a short presentation (five minutes max) offers information and background on the selected theme to jump start those creative juices! Youth Services also pulls a variety of books that include the theme. Attendees divide themselves into 4-5 groups with no more than five in each group. They must work together to design and build one creation based upon the theme. Creations are moved to display tables (so stressful for them!) and can then be shared/discussed with the other groups. Photos are made (permission to photograph is included on monthly registration form) and posted on Lego Club Facebook page.

Tulsa City-County Library,Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Submitted by Marie A. Welden, Children's Area Supervisor, Martin Regional Library.

The Great Lego Build-Off! was a program held for children in grades 1-5 and tween/ teens grades 6-12. Participants build an original creation at the library based on our Summer Reading Program theme within a time limit. Every year, I was amazed at the creativity of our "builders." Three years ago, one of the teens asked if the winners at our branch could compete against other branches at another competition. I presented the idea to the other children and teen librarians in our system, and that year four other branches held branch level competitions with winners advancing to the final round at our Central Library. More than once I heard comments from parents on how this program encouraged their child to be more creative in a variety of ways: engineering, art, history (one participant built the skyline of Tulsa and researched the history of landmarks) and helped them to build skills such as time management and organization. Last year, after the success of having a final round competition, I decided to open the program up to more branches. (We have 25 in our system.) This summer, we had 15 branches compete with over 200 children and sixty tweens and teens participating on the branch level. Forty-three children advanced to the final round, and twenty-eight tweens/teens advanced to the final round.

West Bloomfield Public Township Library, West Bloomfield, Michigan.
Submitted by Amalia Ash, Youth Services Librarian.

Lego Camp - Join us as we build out of this world Lego creations. The possibilities are endless! (Ages 4-12) During the session, limited to 30 youth due to space and material constraints, participants created an open ended Lego project. The session lasted 45 minutes with some staying past the allotted time or leaving a little early. At the end of the session, they were instructed to tear down their Lego project as they had to be used again. We are unable to display Legos at this time. Most were able to do it as I would walk around taking pictures of their Legos if they liked. For those who didn’t want to tear their project down, as they were attached to it, I offered to leave it until after they left and would break it apart so they didn’t have to. That was acceptable for all participants. Each Lego camper was provided a piece of heavy white cardstock and allowed to select one of the 6 bags of random Lego pieces per table. They were able to share or trade their pieces among the table. Often they would collaborate on projects. These collaborations would also extend to other building materials. For example: one group of boys created cars out of the Lego pieces. I suggested they try seeing how far or fast their cars could go and took a triangular wood block for use as a ramp. They took my simple suggestion and created a 5 story ramp with obstacles. It was wonderful thing to see this group work together. Other times, I would offer building themes, but most chose their own themes. I provided different stations within the program mostly due to the age range of participants. Typically, I offered use of a portable Duplo table, giant Lego blocks and wooden blocks. At some sessions Lincoln logs were offered and at others, Jenga was available for play. I found a lot of the older participants used Duplos and the large Lego blocks as much as the smaller Lego pieces. As the group members changed between sessions, all eight of them, the consistent theme was one of creativity, storytelling and cooperation. It was the first time we conducted the program. In preparation, we purchased a supply of Lego bricks- standard, special pieces and vehicle building materials.

*** Please note that an article by Tess Prendergast titled “Brick by Brick: LEGO-Inspired Programs in the Library” is available in the Winter, 2012, Vol. 10, No.3 issue of Children and Libraries. Information is also available at: legointhelibrary.wordpress.com