The building bricks of creative learning

EVERYBODY loves Lego.

Lego bricks, Lego figurines, Lego movies, Lego cake, Legoland – after 66 years these colourful construction toys continue to capture the imagination of children and adults around the world.

Recognising the potential of this long-held love, Angela Hawkins and Kylie Kumpulainen recently decided to open their own business and bring a unique program called Bricks4Kidz to Tasmania for the very first time.

Operating in more than 35 countries worldwide, Bricks4Kidz uses Lego as a tool to explore educational concepts through themed model building.

Ms Kumpulainen said she had the idea to launch a Bricks4Kidz program in Tasmania after she saw how much her six-year-old son loved playing with Lego.

“From having a young boy I can see how popular Lego is with children,” she said.

“It has been around for so many years and has stayed popular throughout that time, for both boys and girls.

“I saw the opportunity that Bricks4Kidz offered and decided to recruit Angela to help me bring it to Tasmania.”

Operating since June, Bricks4Kidz offers a range of specially themed school holiday workshops with after-school, weekend and birthday programs to be introduced in the future.”

Ms Hawkins said the programs were designed for children aged five to 12 years old and based on the benefits of play as a tool for learning.

“It was recently announced that the University of Cambridge is looking for a Professor of Lego who will head up research into the importance of play for children,” she said.

“Play can assist children in their development by using imagination, curiosity, logic and reasoning, as well combing scientific and artistic exploration.

“At Bricks4Kidz we offer a range of programs including space adventure, pirate quest, superheroes and mining and crafting which align with the children’s interests, but also contain educational benefits.

“Playing with Lego provides different ways for children to use their own natural abilities, allowing them to harness their imaginations and learn in alternative ways.”

Ms Hawkins said the program’s point of difference was its use of models that had been specifically designed by engineers and architects.

“We use a range of technical pieces in our models, such as batteries and motors, which kids don’t usually play with at home,” she said.

Workshops include half-day ($40), full-day ($80) and two-day ($160) options and are currently offered in four locations (Lenah Valley, Howrah, Taroona and Kingston).

Ms Hawkins and Ms Kumpulainen are also looking to begin after-school classes in third term, both in schools and at a central community location, where a term-length program would be run on a single topic.

Ms Kumpulainen said children would build a different model each week in a one-hour session, while also allowing for free play with their models.

She said the topics of these classes might include land, air and sea, forces of nature and space.

“Kids loving playing with the mini figure and model they have constructed themselves at the end of the session,” Ms Kumpulainen said.

“It’s a combination of learning and fun.”

For more information about the Bricks4Kidz programs, phone 0408 454 851 or email hobart@bricks4kidz.com

To enrol in an after-school program visit www.bricks4kidzaustralia.com.au/tasmania-hobart/

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About the Author: Glenorchy Gazette

The Glenorchy Gazette is your monthly community newspaper, reaching over 24,000 homes and businesses in the Glenorchy municipality. It is the product of Nicolas Turner, Justine Brazil, Ben Hope, Simon Andrews, Tobias Hinds and guest contributors, with support from advertisers.

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