Emily Slichter Given first told us about using Legos™ to build responses to God’s Word in this post from March 2012.
Building Faith is incredibly proud that Building Faith Brick by Brick: An Imaginative Way to Explore the Bible with Children will be available September 1st from Church Publishing, Inc!
We encourage you to try Emily’s Scripture response method. Two years ago, Emily wrote that she had used it as an after school program, a weeknight class, a summer Sunday school, as an alternative to a dull lesson, and as a parent-child event. In addition, we’ve had educators tell us they’ve used it for Lenten programs and as an antidote for bored children at home with the flu. Children are used to working with Lego™ and that level of comfort allows them to delve more deeply into their own understanding of the Divine Story.
Want some more detail? We turned to a longtime educator who used Legos™ in her church for a report on how it went. Here’s what she says:
Using Legos™ to help children respond to a Bible story is a great, although unpredictable way to have them really thing about the story. Not all stories work – those that work best have definite physical characteristics: Daniel and the Lions or the Fiery Furnace, the parting of the Red Sea, Jesus and the storm on the water, Paul and Silas in prison.
My first time trying this was with Daniel and the Lions’ Den. I read the story, using pictures or objects to make it engaging and exciting.
We went over the story together, the basic plot and the specifics. What did they remember the best? What was the most exiting part? Close your eyes, what does the story look like?
Then I gave them Legos™. I tried to have at least one figure for each child. I simply said, “I want you to build something that reminds you of the story. It can be big or small, it be lots of things or just one thing.”
After a short time, as each finished, I went to them and asked them to tell me about what they made. I praised every one. If they finished early they could color, or build with different Legos™, etc. When everyone was finished, we came back together and I asked if anyone wanted to tell the group what they built. A few volunteered. I asked what they have made and why. Most answers were along the lines of, “I dunno why, I liked it best.” Some sculptures had nothing to do with the story, but the kids were engaged in working on the same task as the rest of the group. I just praise these and move along! At the end of our time together, we acted out the story with movement and sound.
The only problems I saw were that some kids don’t like to be guided on what to build. Other children don’t like to have a time limit, and some simply don’t want to share. While some of these are individual personality traits, using this type of response on a more regular basis would also prepare them for what is expected.
Overall, I think this is an amazing way for everyone to interact with certain Bible stories. In a larger, older group you could have teams choose their own stories from the Bible, read/reflect/build, and then have the larger group guess which story they had chose…a Lego™ charades!
Have you used Legos™ in your formation programs? Will you continue to use them as a way to engage and respond to God’s Word?