Have you always wanted to have a LEGO building center in your classroom? They are a great way to give kids a way to dig into their inner-engineer, motor-skill developing, problem-solving self! Some schools have LEGO Walls permanently set up somewhere and I have always wanted one in my room, the issue with that is that I have moved classrooms every year for the last 6 years. And, as it turns out, in my current area, space is quite limited. I needed a portable solution that wasn't going to break the bank.
As we start the new school year, this is a great time to put one together that your students will love! In my classroom, this is a free-building area where the target is to build something. That's it! After some fails and successes, this is what I have found that works for me...
IKEA LACK Side Table 22" x 22" - cost $8.99
The tables come in either black or white. Black hides the school year grime pretty well.
IKEA VESSLA Storage Crate with Casters - cost $6.49
These do come in a variety of colors so you can pick one that works for you. I have seen them in white, blue, pink, and green.
Brickyard Baseplates (pack of 4) - cost $15.95
DreamBuilder Toy Stackable Building Plate (pack of 4) - cost $16.99
This is by far the most expensive part. You have to be careful when picking generic build plates because some work great and others not so good. I have used all of these options and they work really well. There is also the LEGO-brand option which will cost between $20-$25.
For attaching the plates to the table, I would strongly suggest some type of clear Liquid Nails bond. You can find this at your local hardware store for around $5 for a tube. I have tried Loctite Super Glue and Gorilla Glue, but those don't seem to hold and the kids are able to pull the plates off the table. More annoying than anything else. Overall, this option has worked out really well for me and some fellow teacher friends that I know have also done this. Finally, as for the LEGO building bricks? Ask for donations! In my experience, there are lots of families out there that are more than willing to donate.
I would love to hear about your creations and any other ideas you may have that work well for you in the comments below. This is one of my most popular activities in my room as it gives students a common language to communicate and collaborate with each other.