Lego® Saturdays at the Peabody Institute Library in Peabody, MA is an opportunity for families to come together at the library and get creative together with the Lego® collection on a monthly basis. The program is free, but requires families to pre-register as space is limited. The program is free-form and asynchronous. Participants can use their imaginations and build whatever they can dream up. A lot of play happens in this program, and the adults are just as involved as the kids. The library also provides Duplo Legos® for younger children. It’s a very simple and straightforward program. People of all ages love Legos®, so the interest and engagement is almost automatic.
They host the program in their programming room and have a few tables pushed together giving the effect of a big table everyone can sit around with Legos® spread out in the center. Furniture can be rearranged as needed to accommodate a stroller or wheelchair. Adapting the setup of the furniture in the room makes the collaboration and Lego®-building more fluid for families. Staff are available to guide participants or help if needed. Staff can suggest themes or ideas (build a castle, build something that goes etc.), but it’s not always needed. The library often displays the Lego® creations around the Children’s Room afterwards, and the program is ongoing so if someone comes back again, they can build off of the projects they already started that were on display.
The goal of the program is to provide a supportive environment and space for children and families to be creative together and interact with other families in the community. Children and adults are free to build Lego® projects together within their own family group or team up with other families to create larger scale projects. The opportunity to build with Legos® really sparks interest among kids and adults, and it’s a great way for families to work together as a team to create and problem-solve.
Librarians find that kids and adults usually stay very engaged with minimal facilitation. With Legos®, there is often little to no encouragement needed since the adults are just as into building as their kids. If someone is becoming disengaged, usually asking if they need some help or have a question and helping to meet that need will re-engage them. Another technique is to simply start a conversation with them. For families with really small children who may be really engaged for a few minutes, then want to do something completely different, librarians give them the option of building with the Legos® for a little while, going back out into the Children’s Room if they want, and coming back to the program if they feel like returning. Staff have found this also works well if a family has a fussy infant with them.
Staff at the Peabody Institute Library have done a bit of prototyping with the program. They have made adjustments to the day and time the program is offered to find times that are convenient for most families (10:30am on Saturdays is good). Overall, librarians have been open to tweaking things if they aren’t working as well as they’d like, and they’re not afraid to ask participants for feedback to improve the program even further.
Special thanks to Linda Cappabianca, Children’s Librarian at the Peabody Institute Library http://www.peabodylibrary.org/index.html
Learn more about The Lego® Group’s philosophy on the importance of play in several articles found here. https://www.lego.com/en-us/family