Lego-builds foster kids’ creativity

By Annie Gentile - ReminderNews
East Windsor - posted Thu., Nov. 7, 2013
Moses has a fine time designing his own truck with Lego bricks. Photos by Annie Gentile.
Moses has a fine time designing his own truck with Lego bricks. Photos by Annie Gentile.

Do your children like to play make-believe? If you asked your son or daughter to design a robot, what would it look like? What features would they put on the car or truck of their dreams? On Sunday, Nov. 3, at the Scout Hall Youth Center on Abbe Road in East Windsor, children of all ages had the opportunity to put their creativity into action at a free Lego-build, with their designs restricted only by the limits of their imaginations.

Held during the colder months, the once-a-month Sunday afternoon Lego-builds are the brainchild of Nancy Masters, treasurer and rental coordinator for the Scout Hall Youth Center. “My whole thought behind this is that children just don’t play enough,” said Masters. She said when she first thought about putting together a creative program, she thought of asking people to donate their old Lego building blocks to get things started. She also contacted the Lego Corporation in Enfield, and to her surprise, a week later a 20,000-piece donation showed up on her doorstep. “They were amazing,” she said.

This year she said she contacted Lego again to see if she might be able to buy some additional specific types of Legos to round out the collection. “They said no, I couldn’t do that, but right after that, another 20,000-piece donation showed up on my doorstep,” said Masters. “I can’t thank them enough.”

At the Nov. 3 event, there were several work stations. In one area, tables were set up where children could stand and select from tubs of loose Lego building blocks for their creations. A couple of other tables were set aside for assembling kits with specific design instructions. At still a third station, Lego bricks were strewn about on the floor of the stage area in the hall where children could get down on their hands and knees and build from the ground up. With plenty of floor space in between, one little boy entertained himself the entire session scooting a little red Lego car along the floor.

The Scout Hall Youth Center has been open 13 years and as a youth center provides various organized youth groups with free meeting space and inside storage closets, Masters said. The scouts maintain the building at a cost of about $40,000 annually, and they raise funds to cover those costs by renting the 6,000-square-foot building for weddings, parties, shows, summer camps and other events. A church also rents the building as a meeting space on Sunday mornings.

Masters said she sets up the monthly Lego-build sessions from 2 to 4 p.m. so they fit neatly between other Sunday rentals. They follow the Sunday morning church services, but are cleaned up and out of the building before Sunday evening line dances. She counts on help from two high school volunteers who help make the setup and cleanup a breeze.

Upcoming Lego-builds are scheduled from 2 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 1 and Jan. 12. Donations of additional Lego bricks are always welcome. For more information, contact Nancy Masters at 860-289-5085.

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