A belated Happy World Book Day from Lab Awesome. After the kids had their fun at school and nursery and the costumes had been set aside, I decided to mark the special day the Lab Awesome way.
And because my Heathcliff also made a pretty good Luke from Gilmour Girls (once I’d swapped the Byronic hair for a blue cap), I had a go at Luke’s Café too.
One of the things I love about LEGO® is the way that it helps us to tell and create stories. The LEGO company have produced educational ranges such as StoryTales and StoryStarter that combine LEGO play with literacy teaching at the pre-school and primary levels. Real-world DUPLO® sets are designed to encourage role-play and communication skills and there are a vast variety of DUPLO and LEGO sets based around worlds of adventure.
We’ve been trying out some ‘storytelling’ games at home this week. LEGO is a brilliant medium for starting conversations about characters, settings and dilemmas and for working collaboratively to tell stories. Here are some of our favourites:
- Put in a character
We each took time to build a character who could be put into a story. We stayed away from minifigures for this one and created animals, robots and people from LEGO bricks. Once we’d finished we put them together in the middle of the table; took turns to introduce and describe our characters and then worked together to think of a situation they might be in where they’d meet and have adventures together.
- Build a World
We got this idea from our visit to Brick Live in Birmingham. We hadn’t seen Ninjago before going to Brick Live so we were a bit mystified by the Re-build Ninjago City section. Now that we’re firm fans of the show, we know that the city takes a battering pretty often in Ninjago! In typical LEGO fashion, it gets re-built and re-imagined to fit the themes and steer of each season of the show.
We start with a bare table-top and each start to add buildings, cars, characters and features to a growing, sprawling city or planet. It’s a project that’s as big as you want it to be and you’ll need to find somewhere else to have lunch but it’s really good fun building together and working out what kind of place you’re creating as you build.
In one of the the LEGO StoryGames competitions (based on the now discontinued LEGO StoryStarters sets), they had a challenge similar to this. Young builders had to research and create a new planet, using LEGO bricks to design their landscape. Coming up with themes and researching ideas is a great way to keep older builders challenged and is also a great way to combine project-based research with storytelling and building. We liked doing this collaboratively – there was lots of discussion and negotiation and most of it was even amicable!
- What’s this brick?
We were all given one identical brick (anything that we had duplicates of!). Using any additional bricks and special pieces we wanted, we built and transformed our bricks into anything we wanted to. When everyone had finished building, we took turns to describe our builds to each other, explaining what our bricks had become.
Tried something out? Got an idea for a storytelling activity with LEGO or DUPLO? Make our day and share your builds and ideas in the comments below or on our Lab Awesome Facebook page.