If you’re already keyed in to learning with LEGO bricks, then hopefully there will be a few on this list to add to your repertoire.
If your idea of using LEGO bricks for educational purposes is stepping on a small piece, jumping around on one foot to get your heart rate up, and calling it P.E., then this list has a few alternate options for you.
My daughters love the LEGO movies, LEGO video games, and LEGO sets (especially with a Harry Potter theme). And, if I’m being honest, building with LEGO blocks is one of the few activities that I’m likely to get excited about and involved in next to the girls.
Learning with LEGO List
Though my homeschool philosophy is more of a learn-anytime, learn-anywhere, learn-all-year, kind of thinking. I recognize the need for brain breaks. Creativity works best when it has space to think and breathe in our subconscious.
One year, after a month break in our formal homeschool schedule, I let our summer be marked by LEGO-challenges. Building on that success (pun totally intended), I started to use various LEGO activities here and there throughout our school years. I’ve never been disappointed.
Round-Up of LEGO Ideas
These are eight of the projects that we completed and can personally vouch for.
I linked each project to the original source where I found them so you can get more detailed instructions and ideas.
The first three ideas are simpler in nature. You can extend or shorten these ideas easily depending on your child’s age or interest. For us, these first three activities were 15-20 minute LEGO builds and fun options to kick-start our day.
The final five suggestions are more labor-intensive and, in some cases, more challenging.
LEGO Marble Run
When the girls create their own version of an activity that they already enjoy, they usually find a bigger challenge than completing the pre-designed activity. Creating their own word searches, or logic puzzles, or mazes is a good way to engage older children in activities they may otherwise think they’ve outgrown.
Both girls had a great time creating a maze and rolling a marble through it. It requires some basic planning in terms of making the spaces large enough to fit a marble and coordinating the turns and stopping points for a final exit. This is not a time-consuming project and a great place to start a morning or afternoon session.
Along the same lines, I found another post that took this concept one step further for studying Greek Mythology. Check out the post about creating a maze with Lego blocks and connecting it to the Minotaur myth.
Identifying symmetry is a skill useful for a range of applications in math and science and art. This activity uses mats of various frameworks where kids can use LEGO bricks to create symmetrical designs or build the other half of a design already introduced.
Kid Minds offers a free download of the mats that they used, and we used those. This activity encouraged some fun conversations about symmetry and creativity. It was a great way to start our day.
The objective of this LEGO shape activity is to fit LEGO blocks within the lines of a given shape and in a way that reflects that shape. It is harder than it sounds depending on which shape you choose. Problem-solving definitely comes to the forefront with this exercise.
You could easily adjust this challenge to the levels of your kids. Younger kids can try out the squares, older kids can attempt the triangles (could work to teach isosceles, right, and equilateral) or a rhombus or ovals.
I printed a few shapes and had the girls see if they could arrange the Legos to fit completely within the shape. It took some wiggling and re-arranging, but we made it work and brains were definitely whirring to make the bricks fit.
*Sidenote and shoutout: FrugalFun4Boys.com has a huge range of learning with LEGO building options and challenges. I’ve listed two on this list but there are several others on her site. Check it out!
Build a LEGO Bridge
This LEGO challenge was to build a bridge that could support the weight of 100 pennies in a cup.
We ended with a modified challenge. The girls selected a space that was too wide and too high to hold any pennies in a cup without crashing (or adding more LEGO bricks than we had). Our challenge became making a bridge that would span the gap without immediately crashing.
After adjusting for the different heights of the furniture, building a way to stabilize the sides, and strengthening the middle, they had a bona-fide bridge. Success!
Make 3D LEGO Structure of Name
This is the one challenge that I don’t remember where I found it. I’ve seen a couple examples of creating flat letters on a large LEGO board, but I can’t find any that demonstrate making letters in 3D.
In any case, we had fun with this one. I only made it to “R”, but my eldest daughter, who only has four letters in her name, made it from beginning to end.
Build a LEGO Boat that Floats
The challenge is to create a LEGO boat that floats in a shallow pan of water and then see how many pennies you can add to the boat without it sinking.
This one took some back-and-forth, trial-and-error testing, but we did make it happen! As with most of these projects, the bulk of the learning comes in the process part. The more back-and-forth we did to correct wobbles and shortcomings, the more specific we became in targeting solutions.
I could see this being a fun addition to a Transportation Unit Study or a discussion on buoyancy.
You could also compromise and do initials if there are longer names than attention spans in your home.
Spelling words and vocabulary words could be fun, too.
LEGO Tissue-Box Cover
We created this project based on an image I saw in this post. It is only images, no instructions, but we had a great time figuring it out. Measuring and planning brick alignment to re-enforce the corners were our primary concerns.
There was also a general sense of pride at making something that was functional for an extended period of time. We had a different mindset for the build because we wanted to make something that would be functional.
We used our LEGO tissue box for several months before the girls needed the blocks for another project.
Hagia Sophia Dome
When we started studying the Middle Ages, we started with the fall of the Roman Empire. We sidetracked briefly as we considered the continuity and productivity of the Eastern Roman Empire (now referred to as the Byzantine Empire).
I was thrilled to find this post about building the Hagia Sophia dome with LEGO bricks and discussing pendentives, that I plopped the idea on our Monday activity sheet for school. We tinkered, adjusted, weathered a few collapses, and eventually met with success! Before the end our entire family had contributed to the build.
As we built we talked a bit about the Hagia Sophia, looked at pictures online, and got a small glimpse of the architectural challenge behind the building and placing of the dome.
Other Learning with LEGO Ideas?
I realize there are dozens of other great learning with LEGO projects out there. These are only the few that we’ve tried.
I have several others marked for project ideas in lessons to come. What are some of the favorite LEGO activities or challenges in your home or class?