When I'm not busy working on our teaching websites, I can usually be found playing Lego with our children! It's an incredibly creative toy, but it can also be used to support work in a number of different curriculum areas. Here is our HUGE list of ways to use Lego in the classroom. Many of these ideas have been contributed by our wonderful Facebook community. If you have any other suggestions, please add a comment at the bottom of the page.
Don't forget that many of these activities could use Duplo too!
Teaching Ideas and Resources:
Letter-building - Create letters of the alphabet (or words) using Lego bricks!
Word-building - Lisa Weber says 'I put a letter on each Lego brick and then have the child put a word together. Helps with language and fine motor skills'. You could also put words on longer Lego bricks and individual letters on 1x1 pieces and ask children to build the words using those letters (suggested by Pienky Du Toit).
Word recognition - Write sight words on them and the more words they know, the higher their tower grows! Suggested by Tricia Armstrong.
Story starters - Create a scene using some minifigures and use this as a writing prompt. The teacher could make a scene for the children… or they could create scenes for each other!
Characters… Write a character profile about a particular minifigure. Could you give your character a twist of some kind? For example, a witch who is afraid of cats...
Character creation - Create your own Lego minifigure and think of a suitable setting. This could then be used as the starting point for a range of writing activities. Suggested by Clare Hopley.
Random characters - Hannah Victoria Smith puts 'different characters into a bag then each child picks one without looking and has to write a fantasy story about that character. Can use Lego to create the setting as well instead of a storyboard.'
Counting syllables - Give the children a selection of words and ask them to count the number of syllables in each word. If a word has three syllables, they should stick three bricks together to represent it. If a word has four syllables, they should stick four bricks together (etc).
Storyboards - Retell a story by creating 'storyboard' images to represent different scenes. Could you import these images into ebook / multimedia software (and add narration / sound effects / music)? Here is a scene from The Three Little Pigs...
Beginning / Middle / End - Build scenes to represent the beginning, middle and end of a story. Read more about this idea on Lee Parkinson's blog.
Writing Instructions - Create a set of written instructions to teach somebody how to create a simple Lego model. This can include lots of positional language. Challenge your children to test each other's instructions. Diane Tyson explains 'I used Lego with my special needs class to do instructional writing. They built a character, photo, deconstructed it and then wrote the instructions on how to build it. The children then swapped with someone else who had to recreate their character from instructions written'.
Creating Instruction Books - Take photos of the steps in the creation of a Lego model and use these images to make an instruction book, in a similar style to the ones found in official Lego sets.
Prepositions - Norma Vivar suggests using Lego bricks to practise using prepositions (e.g. the blue brick is in / on / under / above / next to the green brick).
Can you build it? - Build a Lego model (can be simple or very complex) outside of the classroom or hidden at the back. Children work in small groups to build a replica. However only one member of the team is allowed to look at the model and the other members of the team have to build it. Great for team work and communication skills! Suggested by Kim Rundle.
Parts of Speech - Lyn Renwood suggests using different coloured Lego bricks to represent different parts of speech. Stack them up to make a sentence and have the kids replace the colours with words.
Minifigure Expressions - Look at the expressions on the faces of different minifigures. What words would you use to describe the emotions that are being shown?
Heroes and Villians - Use minifigures to create heroes and villains which you can use to create word banks and for story ideas. See some examples of this on Bournville Junior School's blog.
More Ideas - The Literacy Leader have more English ideas on their blog.
Counting Studs - Count the studs on the top of each brick. How many are there? Which brick has the most studs? Can you sort the bricks in order of 'size', from those with the lowest number of studs to those with the highest?
Counting Bricks / Minifigures - Ask your children to count out a given number of bricks or minifigures.
Watch this video (suggested by Douglas Spencer) showing how to count Lego bricks in 1s, 5s and 10s...
Number-building - Can your children build numbers using bricks?
Calculations - Practise adding the studs on multiple bricks to find the total. They could also be used for subtraction, multiplication and division. Suggested by Wendy Liggitt.
Multiplication Tables - A 4x2 brick has 8 studs on the top. An 8x6 plate has 48 studs. Can your children see the link with their multiplication tables? Could they make a Lego multiplication chart (although finding bricks for some multiplication facts may not be possible)?
Estimation - Gather a pile of Lego and estimate how many bricks there are. Then check your estimate!
Fractions - Use different coloured bricks to show a fraction. Suggested by Marcus Lang, Tara McNally and Wenxi Chan.
Sorting - Use Venn and Carroll diagrams to sort a mixture of bricks into different sets (e.g. blue bricks / bricks with eight studs).
Statistics - Use them for sorting and tallying activities. Then build a column / bar graph to show the results. Suggested by Rebekah Bholanat.
Patterns - Use bricks to make simple patterns. If you start a pattern, can your children complete it? Could they make more complex patterns too?
Area, perimeter and volume - Multiply the number of studs on the sides of a brick to find the 'area' of the bricks. Could you also use this information to review perimeter and volume?
3D Shapes - Construct different 3D shapes (e.g. cubes, cuboids, prisms, pyramids) using Lego bricks. Suggested by Bridget Rillie.
Symmetry - Use a baseplate and add a line of bricks down the centre. Can your children create a symmetrical image using that line as the mirror line?
Algebra - Introduce children to algebra by collecting a pile of bricks (but don't count how many there are). Represent the number of bricks by the letter n. How would we show the number of bricks if we add two more to the pile (i.e. n + 2)? How would we show the number of bricks if we subtract three bricks from the original pile (i.e. n - 3)?
Ratio and proportion - Give children a pile of coloured bricks and ask them to work out the ratio of red bricks to blue bricks (or the proportion of red bricks). Can they make groups of bricks with specific ratios / proportions?
Make a Marble Run - Ask your children to design a 'marble run' game. This is great for Maths and talking about position, direction and movement. It's also a challenge for children to ensure that the marble reaches the end point. Suggested by Nicola D'Costa.
Lego Flashcards - Download and use the wonderful Mathematics LEGO Flashcards below, contributed by Callum Johnson.
Measurement - Use Lego bricks as a unit of measure, i.e. This book is six bricks (or 24 studs) wide. Suggested by Cara Louise.
Co-ordinates - Place bricks on a co-ordinate grid and use them to play a Battleships-style game. Suggested by Kate Brims.
Cuisenaire rods - Yasemin Gedik Topuz explains that 'Lego pieces can be used as cuisenaire rods. Cuisenaire rods can be used in as many ways as your imagination lets you.'
Problem Solving - Use Lego as practical equipment to help children solve Maths problems. Look at these images for ideas (contributed by Calvin Boh):
More Maths Ideas - Take a look at this blog post for more Maths ideas. Suggested by Chrystèle Windridge.
Habitats - Make a habitat for an animal using bricks.
Forces - Move Lego bricks / minifigures by repelling and attracting them with magnets. Attach them to balloons and discuss the forces involved when they move around the classroom! Suggested by Cara Louise.
Chemistry - Luke Busfield explains that Lego is useful for modelling elements, compounds, mixtures, molecules and atoms at an early conceptual stage. Steph Mills says 'I've used them in secondary school to show chemical reactions, where each different colour represents a different element. Can get the number of atoms right too. Also good for balancing equations.'
Animations - Make stop-motion animations with Duplo and Lego. Suggested by Cara Louise and Veronika Joy. Watch this great example (shared by Douglas Spencer):
Construction - Can you try to recreate local landmarks or famous buildings using Lego? Look at how the original buildings are created and use similar techniques using the Lego bricks. Lego Architecture sets could be used as a starting point for this (suggested by Erik Schwab).
Construction Challenges - Challenge groups of children to create the highest tower or the strongest bridge using a given set of bricks. Discuss which designs are the winners and why.
Earthquake proof buildings - Could your children design an earthquake proof building? Could you test them too? Suggested by Helen Doveston.
Design a Home - Create a home for a minifigure. What kind of home would they like? Suggested by Cara Louise. Laura Chaffey is going to ask her students to create a home using Minecraft and then get them to build it in Lego.
Play the 'Roll a Dice' game - Children play in pairs (or small groups) and take turns to roll a die. After rolling, they build a tower with that many studs. The child with the highest tower (that doesn't fall over) after a certain number of rolls wins! Suggested by Bridget Rillie.
Lego Therapy - Set up a Lego Therapy group to help develop social skills. Suggested by Annabelle Payne.
Team Challenges - Have a model / design at one end of the room and a pile of the same Lego at the other. Take it in turns to run and look and then try to replicate the design. This can be as simple or complicated as you like, depending on age. Can race other teams as well. Great for teamwork, communication, patience memory, scale, maths, waiting your turn, coordination etc. Also leads on well to map memory games and other orienteering based activities. Suggested by Hannah Appleton.
Early Finisher Activities - Give children a challenge at the end of their activities by asking them to build a specific object using a limited set of bricks. This could be the answer to a question linked to your topic. Suggested by Sara Edwards.
Give children a chance to use Lego as part of the reward systems in your classroom. Suggested by Cara Louise.
Let children use them as part of your wet play / rainy day activities. Suggested by Ellen Walker Hoffman.
Ask your children! Give children opportunities to explore Lego themselves. Can they suggest ways to use them in the classroom? Suggested by Kris Samson.
Do you have another idea? Tell us in the comments below...