Hi Friends! We hope you all are loving the time your spending with LEGO lately - we think it makes for the perfect entertainment during these COVID-19 and smoky air times we are in since California is on fire once again.
Anyways.... We have the perfect activity for you and your kids! A LEGO maze!
First - lets start with why we think it is the perfect activity! Building a maze with LEGO is so much fun - I mean really, when isn't LEGO fun? But more than just being fun, a LEGO maze has learning at the center for all ages - it is such a fun STEAM project!
Building the maze itself (see below for details) takes kids through stages of planning, designing and engineering, testing and problem solving to make the perfect maze - and they think they are just playing! These skills are great for children of all ages to move through and allows for different LEGO skill levels to do the same activity.
The learning doesn't stop once the maze is built either! It continues when trying to complete the maze. A simple maze helps little learners practice visual planning, fine motor skills, and eye-hand coordination at they solve the maze! It is also a great lesson in patience as small movements are a must to get all the way through!
But our favorite part of this project is that it is never the same and makes a great family bonding activity! The mazes are easy to put together and even easier to take a part - meaning you can change it up as often as you like! We also love that mazes are easy for everyone to build - so the whole family can be involved - you might even try to challenge a friend or family member to see if their maze can stump them!
Now that you know why we love mazes - lets talk about how to build them! First, gather supplies - this part is easy! You need a base plate, some LEGO pieces, and a round LEGO marble. If you don't have a LEGO marble - this activity works the same with an actual marble or a wooden marble! Anything small that rolls will do the trick.
How you start might depend a little bit on the type of learner you are (or are teaching!) - you can start either by looking up some maze patterns to copy or by simply sticking bricks onto your board! Some things you want to think about here include how many studs apart your bricks need to be so that the marble can pass through and where your maze start and finish are going to be.
At the end of the maze, you should have a border around most of the base plate - some people start with that border, others build it as they go. Keep building until you have a simple maze!
After you have a general concept of where your maze is going - test it out! And then start thinking about how to make the maze more challenging. We have a variety of different level challenges for you to explore below! But first, some quick problem solving!
- If your marble keeps jumping out of the maze (this happens a lot with younger learners) add a second layer of bricks to help them keep the marble inside - this will also let them tilt the board more to get the marble going where they want it to go.
- If your learner is having a hard time with multiple paths - help them build one path to move the marble through and keep working on that one until they master it, then add in some dead ends or a second path option.
- If your learner flies through the maze no problem - its time to add some challenges!
Let's talk maze changes that make good challenges! Now, if your whole board is filled with paths, you might find yourself removing some paths to make way for more challenges as they can take up more space and need more room for the marble to navigate.
- Obstacles: This one is easy to make and a little harder to navigate - just stick a fun LEGO part on your path - be it something round to move around, a minifigure, a tress, or any other LEGO part to block the way and force navigation around it.
- Tunnels: These are easy to make and can range in level for navigational challenges. Start by building up your walls some so that the marble can pass under the LEGO pieces. Using bridge pieces make the maze look fun while remaining relatively simple, adding multiple bridge pieces together or using a small flat plate make the tunnel longer - but still on the easier side to roll the marble through. Take it up a notch by covering more of the maze, including a turn or two to navigate through. And then the ultimate challenge for tunnels is including another obstacle in the way or covering the whole maze!
- Ramps: These are easy to make and with a little problem solving fun to play with! Using the slope piece(s) on your path creates a ramp for the marble to travel up and jump over. Depending on the level of challenge you want, you might need to build up the wall behind the ramp to make sure that the marble doesn't fly of the maze. Longer slope pieces can make it easier or hard to get all the way up the ramp depending on your maze too.
- Traps: These add a little more of a challenge to your maze - and in most cases create a losing scenario. The easiest trap is to put a dead end on the other side of a ramp - thus you cannot go any further or get back - you just start over. Another trap option is to cover most of the floor of your maze with flat pieces leaving some spots open - because these spots are lower than the rest of the floor, they will trap the marble there while also allowing a way out.
- Auto lose exits: This is super simple to build, or rather, not build. Simply remove some pieces of your maze border. With clearly designated start and exit points, any time the marble leaves the maze through another point is a loss.
So there you have it! Some of our tips for building a maze! Some other challenges that do not involve changing your maze include adding another marble - can you get them both out without falling of the board? - and timing yourself - can you get faster?
We love seeing what our customers are doing - so we invite you to bring your maze in (or a picture of it) to show us and you'll get to spin our prize wheel for the months of September and October! Plus, for September only, these mazes count as our MOC challenge and enter you in for a chance to win bulk!
Don't have everything you want for the maze? Our bulk tables are open for you to come pick out some new pieces! We also have Maze Kits available for purchase!
If you enjoyed this activity - go ahead and show us your maze! We would love to see what you did and hear about your tips!
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