Kids and Legos. Is there a better combination? I am not sure. But, I do know that a LEGO Expo was one program that I had on my wish-list all year, and at the end of November, we made it happen!
This program was both difficult, and easy. I usually have Legos out in the children’s library on Tuesdays after school for kids to come in and build with freely. But, for this Lego Expo, I wanted the kids to be able to show off the projects that they work so hard to build. I heard a great idea from a colleague (thank you, Kelly!) about how her library hosts Expos, where kids are invited to build their Lego project at home, and then bring them to the library to be entered in the contest! A judge comes and awards certificates! Kids gain recognition for their creations! And, the Lego projects are left at the library for several days/ weeks for community members to see and enjoy viewing what kids built. Sounds like a win-win all the way around!
What should have been a super easy program turned out to be a little more difficult than I thought it would. Kids love Legos, and I knew that I needed to be able to put the Lego projects somewhere where small hands would not touch them. The programming room I was planning to host this in was needed for an emergency library project, so the space where I was planning to host it was off limits. I eventually just took down all the display books on top of my picture bookshelves and put the Lego project up there.
I did not request that kids fill out an entry form before they brought their projects in, but I think I might change that. Without any registration I had no idea how many projects we would have. I did ask that parents fill out a registration form, though, when they came to drop their child’s project off. That way, I knew the phone numbers of the parents in case I needed to get in touch with them to come and pick their project up. I also wrote down each child’s first name and their category on an index card and placed these cards in front of all the entries. That way, I knew which entry belongs to who, and could bring the projects up to the judge according to their category.
A judge (a Lego-loving community member/library volunteer) came in the morning after the kids dropped their projects off and judged all the entries. I had 12 awards to give out (Largest, Smallest, Most Creative, and Most Complex). I only had 12 entries, so this year every kid won an award. The awards were just certificates and bragging rights, which was okay with all the kids! When the kids came to pick up their project and certificate, I asked parents if I could take their child’s photo to be submitted to our local paper along with an article about the Expo. All the parents said yes, and the kids were excited to get their photo taken. The paper did publish the photos, and it was yet another great way to get the library’s name out to the public and share the work that we are doing with youth and families.
I would love to do this again this summer. It can be hard to get participation the first time I try new programs, but I thought that 12 entries was a great start! If we do this again, I think I will request advance registration, so that I know how many projects will be coming. I will also have a rubric for the judge to use when scoring the entries, and I would also love to have a day where the kids/parents can come to drop their project off, but if they want to come back to see the judging, they can. Just another excuse to bring families out to the library!
Below is the entry form as well as the PDF and editable file of the Lego Certificate! Enjoy!