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LEGO club builds creativity

LEGO club builds creativity

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Madison County Kid Builders, also called Lego Club, has taken off, filling the Fredericktown branch of the Ozark Regional Library with kids twice a month.

"Lego Club is really just about a place where kids can enjoy spending time together while learning to be creative and use their imaginations," Club organizer Angela Garrity said. "This summer, while at my older son's soccer games, I started bringing a Lego play-mat to keep his younger brother occupied."'

Garrity said she noticed how many kids of all ages were drawn together and having fun playing with her son during those games. She said she also visited a farmer's market where they had a Lego Club.

"I've notice in the past, there aren't a lot of activities for younger kids to do who just want to play together and not be involved in sports," Garrity said. "So I wanted to offer something like that to the community."

Garrity said the club has had a pretty good response, with word slowly spreading through social media and word of mouth. 

"Once families come, the kids talk about how much they enjoyed themselves," Garrity said. "I think they learn about new concepts of the way things work but also about creativity, working together to build something, and sharing."

Garrity said she also tries to add science and math to some of the activities. 

"Legos have a lot of different things you can do with them," Garrity said. "It's the satisfaction of creating whatever is in your mind. You can be random or follow a pattern. You can build something elaborate or just pretend-play."

Garrity said some of the kids just enjoy acting out scenarios with the Legoguys, whereas others want to build more complex structures.

"Right now, our activities are geared toward an age range of 2 years of age to about 12," Garrity said. "We have activities for the younger ages that are Lego-related like some Duplo Blocks, books, coloring areas and a Playdough station."

Garrity said they add things as they can and would like to be able to purchase some Lego Robotics kits for older kids, as well as more Duplos in the future.

One of the obvious favorites at the club event on Jan. 30 were the green-screen areas set up to bring the Lego creations to life.

"The green screen is a technology that replaces a green background with a picture of your choice," Garrity said. "The kids love it and it sparks something creative inside. They start imagining how they will build their boat to look in the ocean, a Star Wars scene, or pirates on the beach digging for treasure."

Garrity said there's always a rush on the green screen toward the end of the meeting.

"I take all the pictures right now but plan on teaching the kids how to operate it on their own as part of the learning process," Garrity said. "It's about fostering their imaginations."

Madison County Kid Builders, aka Lego Club, is also free, and kids do not need to bring anything with them to be involved. Garrity said waivers are required to be signed for liability and photography purposes.

The club meets every two weeks at 6 p.m. at the Fredericktown Branch of the Ozark Regional Library. Meeting dates and updates on events are posted on the Madison County Kid Builders Facebook page.

Garrity said there are also flyers at the library and other ways of being notified available at the meetings. She said parents can sign up to received text or email notifications. 

Lego donations are accepted by the club but they are not taking monetary donations at this time. Garrity said they plan on working toward that goal in the future.

"We are in need of more Duplos for the younger kids right now," Garrity said. "As I mentioned before, eventually I would like to be able to get some Lego Robotics and science kits for the older kids as well as a portable photo printer for the green screen station."

Any Lego sets community members or businesses would like to buy or donate can be dropped off at the library.

"I'm super thankful for the library for all their help and support," Garrity said. "They have offered us a place to meet and helped coordinate things. Our local Librarian Tim Smith has helped tremendously donating his time to design our posters and other signs I've needed for the club."

Victoria Kemper is a reporter for the Daily Journal. She can be reached at 573-783-3366 or at vkemper@democratnewsonline.com

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