There’s a lot of debate about more sociable and hands-on alternatives to screen time for children – with many parents feeling they’re losing the battle against the lure of the digital. Helen Beesley, organiser of our fantastic Lego Club at Burnage Library, blogs about why Lego in the Library is fitting the bill for local families.
My name is Helen, better known to the children of Burnage as the Lego Lady. We first held some Book Swap events at Burnage library, and I’d brought some of our Lego from home to keep the children entertained. Although people asked if we could keep the Book Swap going in the holidays. It wasn’t really sustainable, but I had seen how popular Lego was so, the idea of Lego Club was born. Starting in the Easter half term holidays, we have been busy building ever since. I had intended that we would only run during the school holidays, but, after realising the interest was high, it’s now become a bi-weekly Saturday club.
In the last 6 months over 300 people have attended on a Saturday afternoon from 2-4 pm, we have a good number of boys and girls and as we have Duplo too – so parents and grandparents can bring younger children along. The Club is run entirely for free and with James, my 8-year-old son, as my plucky sidekick Lego Boy, we bring around 26 Kilos of Lego and Duplo along every other Saturday afternoon in our trusty trailer, which was bought after raising money through a Crowdfunder page along with other Lego club resources. Some bits of Lego have been donated and I’ve bought specific bricks and plates as the club have grown, responding to the building needs of the Lego Clubbers. We even manage to build outside sometimes, when the weather is good, which is always great fun due to the fab garden area at Burnage library.
Lego club has been a great way to get lots of families to visit their local outreach library. As we had a huge amount of Lego already it hasn’t cost much to set up. To compliment the building, I also bring Lego magazines and books to the sessions – it’s a great way to get children reading too. I am hoping that the idea will spread to other areas and I know of one person who has seen our club and wants to set up a similar one in Trafford.
Getting the word out about Lego club takes the most time and effort. I regularly post in local groups on Facebook and link with local primary schools to encourage children to attend. Due to the success of the library club I am expanding in January to also take place as an after-school club at Mauldeth Road Primary School. We have such a great time at Lego club, seeing the children’s excellent imaginations in action and their sense of achievement when they have completed their build is very satisfying.
Lego club runs Bi-weekly with the next date is Saturday 29th October up until Saturday 10th December from 2pm – 4pm. Come along and get building!