Brickz4Kidz activity aims to introduce children to architecture, using Lego

Amber Jadis, center, shows some children all the Lego pieces they can use, at the Brickz4Kidz event at the Murphy’s Community Centre in Charlottetown on Oct. 9. Kayla Fraser photo.
Amber Jadis, center, shows some children all the Lego pieces they can use, at the Brickz4Kidz event at the Murphy’s Community Centre in Charlottetown on Oct. 9. Kayla Fraser photo.
By Kayla Fraser
Oct. 10, 2014

Allen Pendergast loved watching his granddaughter, Thea, playing with Lego at Brickz4Kidz.
So did the organizers of the event.
The Brickz4Kidz event at Murphy’s Community Centre on Oct. 9 was organized by the Architects Association of P.E.I. as part of Architecture Week in the province.
Brickz4Kidz is an organization to teach kids about architecture by using Lego, said engineer Amber Jadis, who’s involved in the group.
The program lets kids draw on graph paper what they want to build, then scavenge through thousands of Lego pieces to find what they need, she said.
“My passion is promoting engineering and architecture and sciences to kids and I see it happen. When you teach the classes to kids, their eyes really light up when they build something unique.”
Casey McGannon is the executive director of the Architects Association of Prince Edward Island.
Jadis was able to connect with architects to hatch the idea of children drawing and building on their own, she said.
“We want people to just look around and grasp the fact that there is no building that they see that an architect didn’t have a hand in. That somebody somewhere thought it up.”
Island architect Darrin Dunsford said the program works to teach kids engineering principles and they thought it work for Architecture Week.
“Engineering and architecture are very intertwined, so it seemed like a good fit.”
He hopes the program may inspire children to consider architecture as a career.
“I would like to think some of these kids might carry this through as a career. For myself, I really love Lego, but I never really thought of architecture until really kind of late in life, so maybe some of these kids will think about it while here and it would be great if some of them carried it out.”
Pendergast agreed.
“One of the biggest things that strikes me is the idea of going from the two dimensional drawing and design phase to the three dimensional construction phase.”
The critical thinking of the children amazed him.
“There is so much growth in the intellectual development stages of thinking.”
Lego makes children think critically, McGannon said.
“It makes kids think about how things are put together and how they work and it’s all about useful function and stability, and if you don’t put it together right it falls apart, and looking nice. It’s about aesthetics, and there is just a lot to it … everything serves a purpose.”
It’s more than just a toy, Jadis said.
“It’s really a tool, and it’s an open-ended type toy, where what you can create is unlimited. They do have sets with instructions, but the most fun is when you throw away the instructions and just build your own stuff. And that’s where the learning really happens.”
Both Dunsford and McGannon said they hope to hold this activity again, but maybe have an older age group. This group was grades one to four.
“We’ll definitely be doing this again. We talked about maybe doing this again with just a slightly older age group, so we can explore maybe some of the concepts of architecture a little more with an older age group,” Dunsford said.

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