The Stettler Public Library was oddly quiet for a place with 35 kids crammed into a small corner, but that was because of the Lego.
For Crystal Friars and Darlene Philpot, the quiet buzzing from the activity corner is an excellent sign, since it means the kids are busy and mentally engaged in the activity of building neat and nifty things with the Lego kits provided by Bricks for Kids.
“It can be our future engineers and architects in there,” Philpot said.
Though the Lego kits used during the Saturday, June 7 event were on loan from the Bricks for Kids organization, the library has been and continues to collect Lego, either through generous donations or through purchasing Lego kits themselves, for their new Lego club.
The no-fee club runs every Saturday, all year, from 1 to 4 p.m. at the library, with the Bricks for Kids event this past Saturday its official kick-off.
“Anyone who wants to donate Lego can just bring it into the library,” Friars said, though cautioned that the library is looking for actual Lego, not the giant megablocks type of building block.
“There are so many cool things you can make with Lego,” Friars noted. “It never goes away – it just keeps getting better and better.”
The events are great for kids as young as five and as old as interest persists because it engages the mind while allowing kids to remain social, Friars and Philpot said. Building different things and designing new projects engage the mind and help kids explore that previously untapped potential, but working together, surrounded by four or five kids who are all working on the same project, helps them learn to work together and play nice.
“It’s a social event, with lots of talking and helping, but intense concentration,” Philpot said, gesturing at the quiet room of kids. “Parents don’t have to stay, but for the littlest ones, we recommend they stay to help.”
Once kids reach seven or eight years of age, though, they usually have the cognitive ability to function at an event like the Lego Club on their own or with minimal assistance.
If the club takes off, in a few years the library might look into an older-group Lego club where kids begin to work with some of the more advanced, scientific Lego kits that include new things like robotics.
“The possibilities are limitless,” Friars said. “(Lego building) is a trigger for some kids – they start asking why and start learning why and exploring. It’s fantastic.”
The club does not require parents to register their kids or pay a fee to participate. The Lego Club runs Saturdays from 1-4 p.m. at the library upstairs in the Stettler Recreation Centre.