Usefulness of LEGO®-Compatible Base Plates for Youth Organizations and Schools
Every year, as spring rolls to a close, parents all around America begin trying to figure out what to do with their kids for the summer. Kids have enrolled in daycares and summer camps; college kids between semesters earn money by babysitting; volunteer and charity organizations change from after-school programs to summer programs. All of this in a combined effort to keep kids safe, keep them out of trouble, and (hopefully) keep them learning. Each organization has its own methods and priorities, but almost all parents have the same five goals in choosing a summer solution, which, again, are (in no particular order):
• Security (no run-ins with angry police, neighbors, or both)
• Educational content
• Affordable price
Safety and security are closely related, and should ultimately be solved by just having the children enrolled somewhere or generally having responsible adults around. Being simultaneously fun and educational, however, is a completely different and much more difficult endeavor – especially without the right tools.
LEGO® Base Plates: Affordable for Organizations
LEGO® compatible base plates are an affordable, familiar, and flexible tool for any youth-centric organization. Kids love to create and to express themselves – there is a reason why LEGO® was named “Toy of the Century” in 2000. Even now, in 2018, with video games reigning supreme for many, if not most children, the two most popular are still Minecraft and Roblox, where block-based building are still major elements. Physical LEGO®s are still just as good at holding those short attention spans as they have always been, and are great tools for teaching mathematics, engineering, and more.
LEGO® Walls: The New Trend in Education and Maker Spaces
LEGO® walls are popping up all over the country in schools and daycares. And for good reason – they’re cool, have a great aesthetic, and, most importantly, kids love to play with them.
There is something to be said for the engineering challenge involved in building things on a wall. Most kids playing with building blocks are accustomed to using a grounded base. On a wall, however, the base is vertical, and the kids have to figure out how to fight gravity. It makes for interesting building problems, and the kids learn about making support structures and integrating those into their designs.
A LEGO® wall can also be used as a student art area, displaying the artwork of a particular student for a day or a week. Not every child wants to build – and especially if the surface is vertical, some will be inclined toward making a picture. This is because of the miracle of these little building blocks – not just the LEGO® brand, but all of them – is in just how flexible they are. LEGO®s can teach much more than just engineering and math. Basic problem-solving, patience, and so much more can be imparted to a child who is just playing. A child at play is engaged, and an engaged child learns effortlessly.
These spaces can also be used as a method of positive reinforcement. Those who remained on task all day, etc, get a chance to play with the LEGO® wall. And these spaces can host multiple children simultaneously, especially since Slab Dream Lab’s LEGO® compatible base plates are capable of snapping together to form seamless workspaces that can be tailored, in this way, to fit in whatever space the organization has available. Kids can create and build individually or collaboratively on the largest LEGO® wall they’ve ever seen!
Did You Know?: LEGO® slabs from Slab Dream Lab are capable of snapping together. So if you’re looking for the largest possible LEGO® compatible base plate for your home or organization, you won’t find anything more capable of fitting your needs than a base from Slab Dream Lab. And, in the same way, that the slabs fit together, they can come apart for easy storage.
LEGO® Slabs as a Flexible Educational Tool
LEGO® walls are not the only use for LEGO® slabs in an educational setting. These surfaces can be attached to tables or left free to move about as needed, and can teach any number of subjects when properly applied. In fact, The LEGO® Group actively pursues educational aspects of their building blocks as a central element of their public relations and business practices, producing specialized materials and resources along with their basic blocks.
LEGO® slabs from Slab Dream Lab are compatible with any building blocks – standard LEGO® or not. So no matter which materials are best for a particular organization or class, the base plates should remain usable, meaning there is no need to have multiple different types which would cost more, only to get confused and misplaced and mixed in with one-another. Then, whether the class is using individual slabs or large LEGO® base plates for entire tables, the kids become immediately much more involved in any lesson or activity.
Did You Know?: For organizations with limited budgets, finding room to make the initial investment in the LEGO® compatible base plates and LEGO® kits may be a bit tricky. To combat this, there are charities that actually host LEGO® drives to help provide blocks to children who would otherwise be without.
Improving Youth-Centric Organizations and Services with Creativity
The most crucial, gripping element of LEGO® bricks and other building block toys isn’t the clicking noise or the gleeful schadenfreude of a father stepping on colorful plastic caltrops at night – it’s that kids love to create. Again, this is why they color, draw, and rename everything under the sun. In the eyes of a child, the world is theirs to mold and shape as they see fit. Using activities that make use of and encourage that drive to create leads to more success in both entertaining and educating children during those long summer days when they’re overjoyed to not be in school (ugh!). Further, using these activities in school can help the classroom feel less like school (blech!).
Creativity and Learning…
There are, of course, many ways to achieve this. Building blocks, LEGO®s or otherwise, are just one. But if your organization likes the idea of letting kids loose with as many LEGO®s as possible to encourage a free-for-all fracas of creativity and learning, there are just two things that should be taken from this article:
- Wear shoes in all LEGO® building zones
- Get LEGO® slabs from Slab Dream Lab to enhance the fun and the capabilities of your amazingly creative kids.