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Suggestions / Ideas for a kids building activity at church

pharmjodpharmjod 1,170 miles to Wall Drug, USAMember Posts: 2,885
I am hoping to solicit some ideas from the collective creativity and brainstorming power of this community. The children's minister at my church has planned several fun activities for kids this summer on Wednesday nights. One of them she is billing as a "LEGO" activity. She plans to tie in the Bible story about Nehemiah rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. Because I am the resident LEGO AFOL at our church I'm being consulted on what to do. We are looking at filling about 45 minutes to an hour with building activities. There could be anywhere from 30-50 kids on the low end, to upwards of 100 if the word LEGO brings them out of the woodwork.

I have no problems utilizing some of my "inventory" to help with this. I have numerous bulk brick boxes with upwards of 10,000+ pieces that I would be willing to "loan" for the event. We were thinking about some free building time with small groups of the kids where we give them a challenge to build your best "X" model. Doesn't necessarily have to be Biblical themed, but that would be a bonus. 

I had an idea to do a modular type build with maybe 2x10 plates with each end having a pin and hole with the middle part open and having the kids build a wall section and then put them together to see what kind of wall we get. Perhaps have some prebuilt corner sections to make the wall actually form a square or some other shape. 

If anyone here has done anything similar I would love suggestions. Also, even if it's not Biblical themed, I welcome suggestions on activities to do with large groups of kids involving LEGO (not complicated activities). The event in July 6th, so I have some time to source extra pieces from Bricklink or eBay or where ever I need to. 

So, whatcha got Brickset?

Comments

  • Bricklover18Bricklover18 PA, USAMember Posts: 720
    You could build a town with a wall around it, have the kids, or a few people destroy the all around it.  Then the kids could rebuild the wall around the city. 
  • BumblepantsBumblepants DFWMember Posts: 5,873
    Might be good to have a starter wall set up. It would fit the story of Nehemiah to have the foundation 'rubble' of where the walls once stood and the kids can build on top of that. Then they can get right into it without a lot of fuss over where to begin.

    Maybe a small building challenge could be to do with the various gates? divide into 12 groups and one makes sheep for the sheep gate, another makes fish for the fish gate etc. 
    pharmjodToc13kiki180703
  • LegoboyLegoboy 100km furtherMember Posts: 8,704
    edited May 2016
    Something a friend posted on his fb page yesterday.  Possibly not the most constructive but a bit of fun for break time perhaps?

    'Guess which Minifigure I stood on'.


    catwranglersnowhitiepharmjodJackad7kiki180703SprinkleOtterstlux
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 17,934
    edited May 2016
    It's not very biblical, but I've had good success at a birthday party by using the old pull back motors. I bought 20 of them (one per kid), combined with a set of wheels each, some bricks for decoration plus a minifig. The kids can then race them, go for record distance and go for accuracy (draw targets on the floor). It kept 20 kids busy for at least 30 minutes, boys and girls. I'm not sure it would scale to 100 kids though, not all at once.
    Jackad7kiki180703
  • AllBrickAllBrick UKMember Posts: 1,406
    @CCC - I don't remember cars in the bible?

    The wall idea sounds a little like the castle consequence game somebody posted on here a while back, could be a good one.
    pharmjodkiki180703
  • plasmodiumplasmodium UKMember Posts: 1,938
    edited May 2016
    If I remember the story of Nehemiah correctly, it spends a lot of time explaining how each family took a section of the wall each ("so and so's family rebuilt the wall from such and such a gate to the whatsit gate", etc). I think that'd lend itself well to a kind of 'castle consequences' game where kids (or groups of kids) build chunks and put them together at the end.

    Edit:
    For Castle Consequences, see http://bricksetforum.com/discussion/22833/half-term-fun-castle-consequences
    RogerKirksnowhitiepharmjodkiki180703stlux
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 17,934
    AllBrick said:
    @CCC - I don't remember cars in the bible?

    Hence the opening "not very biblical".
    Rebelego
  • Bricklover18Bricklover18 PA, USAMember Posts: 720
    Maybe divided the kids into groups to rebuild their particular gate. 
  • RogerKirkRogerKirk BrightonMember Posts: 348
    I think the idea of each child building sections of the wall and bringing it together at the end fits really well with the story of Nehemiah.

    You just need to be careful that the wall doesn't fall over if each block is 2x10. Could it be slightly deeper?
  • prevereprevere North of Bellville, East of Heartlake, South of Bricksburg, West of Ninjago City Member Posts: 2,876

    ^pharmjod - I've got a lot of experience in this area. I created a LEGO Bible Club for summer Wed nights about 3 years ago with really strong # of kids. Some thoughts from my experiences.

    1. Kids have really short attention spans. Activities need to switch up every 15 minutes or so. We did intro bible lesson - tell a story and brainstorm on ideas of what could be built from that (i.e. David vs. Goliath). Then we had 3 stations with 15 min rotations - A) Bible/Free build (taking from the story); B) Set build - have a bunch of mini builds with instructions for them to choose from (have options for 10 parts up to 75 parts – kids will advance as their skill level improves; C) Games - Create a weekly game involving LEGO .... this was all followed by snack time with some Veggie Tales DVD action until parents picked them up. It's one-packed hour!

    If you're comfortable with it, put the kids Bible builds on display in the church during the week (tagging each build by child). Parents and grandparents loved this.

    2. You want adults who are into creativity or art to help. They don't need to be LEGO experts - but they do need to have energy. Not the babysitter types who stand in the corner and look at their phone.

    3. Don't throw a bunch of LEGOs on a table and hope the kids learn something. That just turns into a big mess and you'll have a bunch of disappointed kids.

    4. Have a kickoff party at the beginning of the summer. Maybe cupcakes, and/or little LEGO giftbags to help get the kids psyched about the summer. I've found a kickoff event, rather than a "last day" party works best.

    Remember, some of these kids may not come from the best of backgrounds and/or may not have ANY LEGO at home. It’s important to think of them, and make the experience as special as possible.





    pharmjodstlux
  • cheshirecatcheshirecat Member Posts: 5,332
    Just building a wall would seem a bit boring. Is there some way you could do a bridge challenge but with a wall using small teams? The strongest, or the tallest, or the tallest that can withstand being hit by a model wrecking ball or rc car. The tie in is less strong but gives it some excitement.


    pharmjod
  • pharmjodpharmjod 1,170 miles to Wall Drug, USAMember Posts: 2,885
    Some great ideas everyone. The wall doesn't have to be 2 studs deep, I'm just trying to figure out a way to 1) keep it cost effective and 2) allow for some uniformity when it comes to linking them up. I like the idea of building gates and having different animal builds. The simple sheep in the LEGO Wool game would work. I'm sure there are some other simple builds that would be effective. 

    If anyone has any more ideas, feel free to put them here or direct message me. I appreciate the input so far.
  • SprinkleOtterSprinkleOtter Member Posts: 2,731
    If you can make something like the shaking baseplates they have for tower/bridge competitions, your could try a Jericho section of the wall...
  • MattsWhatMattsWhat Studley, UKMember Posts: 1,643
    Before I even begin to make a suggestion - what's the age range? 
  • pharmjodpharmjod 1,170 miles to Wall Drug, USAMember Posts: 2,885
    Good question @MattsWhat it will be primarily K-5th grade. The low end will be 4-5 year olds. I will probably have some duplo for the kids that haven't ever built anything. But was thinking about having a section for just them with one or two adults to help them.
  • MattsWhatMattsWhat Studley, UKMember Posts: 1,643
    edited May 2016
    So you are asking for suggestions of how to use your own collection with up to 100 children aged under 10?!  My suggestion - hide (you and your Lego).
    On another note, you could make duplo walls with colour patterns, photograph them then print them out life size and children can lay the blocks on as they attach them together to make patterned/details walls.  This would work with Lego too obviously.
  • pharmjodpharmjod 1,170 miles to Wall Drug, USAMember Posts: 2,885
    edited May 2016
    I am going to be purchasing LEGO to do some of the projects and either keep it separate for future use, or just donate it to the church. I am just trying to figure out ideas to make it feasible and not cost a small fortune. I already have a dozen or so bulk boxes from various black Friday sales so I don't mind using those where it makes sense. I'm wanting to scale back my obsession with LEGO and this event gives me a way to use some of what I have for a good purpose.

    Good idea on the duplo! I hear you though on the hide part =)
    LostInTranslationpreverecatwranglerbandit778
  • Panda_HeroPanda_Hero The bottom of the Mariana TrenchMember Posts: 24
    Maybe you could have the kids recreate the story of christmas. 5-10 kids could be tasked with making a certan event like the 3 wise men seeing the star, and mary and other guy going to inns.
  • davee123davee123 USAMember Posts: 809
    A friend of ours did a gigantic LEGO mosaic-- he's actually turned it into a "kit" that gets passed around to multiple churches every year, as I recall.  Here's a video of him describing the project:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7BpLZ6hsv4

    DaveE
    pharmjodcatwrangler
  • pharmjodpharmjod 1,170 miles to Wall Drug, USAMember Posts: 2,885
    @Panda_Hero a good idea, but the children's minister would like to keep it more in line with the specific story, or general biblical themes. I will keep that in mind in case this goes well and we do it again at a different time of year!
  • MrShinyAndNewMrShinyAndNew Member Posts: 248
    I recently took part in a "mini maker fair" at a school where we had 3 one-hour sessions for kids ages 6-12. The sessions were broken down by age. Kids were told to build whatever they wanted; we gave them some suggestions such as "vehicle" or "animal" or "playground structure". There was no problem keeping the occupied for the whole hour, they just had fun building. 

    Things I would do differently in an ideal world:
    • have a more uniform set of parts so that each kid can have something similar to work with: this would make it easier for them to find parts and make the whole thing fairer
    • Ensure a good selection of basic bricks, plates, and tiles
    • Make sure tires are on wheels and wheels are on axles/bricks
    • Give them a more focused goal - the playground structure was only suggested to the last group and they did really well with that.
    In your case a group wall-building exercise could be really good. If you have enough pieces, giving them a basic template and then suggesting they try to decorate it or build a scene with it, maybe working in teams, could be a good way to teach them to work together for a build.

    There wont' be enough time for everyone to build what they want. 45-60 minutes is barely enough for them to figure out what to build, find pieces, stick it together, etc. Kids are slow builders usually. I'd suggest, if you wanted to build a whole city wall, you'll need some time to fit the wall pieces together. Either let kids assemble the city as they go (faster kids/teams will build more sections) or leave time at the end (15 mins at least) to gather up the completed sections, and fit them together. You'll need to wing it and maybe whip up some connecting wall adapter pieces. The time will pass quicker than you think.
    catwranglerpharmjodkiki180703
  • GallardoLUGallardoLU USAMember Posts: 644
    also keep in mind that most kids in that age range will be really proud of what they make and will very much want to take them home to show others. and unless it's laid out ahead of time they and their parents may actually be expecting something to take home. from what I've read here I think you are preparing for that but it hasn't been plainly stated yet.

    as for what to build/do I'd suggest that you have various simple instructions for walls for the less creative kids. and lastly a limited brick size selection tends to generate the best creativity in my experiences. (big fan of monochrome stations at shows)
  • pharmjodpharmjod 1,170 miles to Wall Drug, USAMember Posts: 2,885
    Yeah, definitely not to take home. I will make sure that is told up front and in emails and communications before hand =)
  • sklambsklamb speaker of American EnglishMember Posts: 481
    What about making pairs of brick-built animals for an ark? (Just as an alternative to building walls.)
    catwranglerkiki180703
  • prevereprevere North of Bellville, East of Heartlake, South of Bricksburg, West of Ninjago City Member Posts: 2,876
    edited May 2016
    pharmjod said:
    Yeah, definitely not to take home. I will make sure that is told up front and in emails and communications before hand =)
    Parents assume that. Kids don't. I recommend not including any minifigs for building purposes. Kids will just play with figs for hours, and assume they can keep them.
    pharmjodSumoLegokiki180703
  • SumoLegoSumoLego New YorkMember Posts: 12,046
    Considering the bedlam I witnessed at a TRU event, expect to lose some bricks.
  • pharmjodpharmjod 1,170 miles to Wall Drug, USAMember Posts: 2,885
    Sure, I do expect some to disappear. But the biggest differences are tru was promoting the event as a take home and I can guarantee I'll have more actual adults helping supervise the event.
  • ReesesPiecesReesesPieces Member Posts: 820
    I would build a wall using Lego bricks and take a picture of it.  Make groups of 3-5 kids.  Show everyone the image of the wall you built.  Give each group of kids a bucket of bricks and a picture of your wall.  Give them 25-35 minutes to recreate the exact same wall.  At the end, groups that got it exact or closest can get a prize (like a hoth Han poly).
    pharmjodkiki180703
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