Building The City of Honolulu out of 20,000 LEGO® Pieces

On Saturday, June 3, 2017, Play-Well TEKnologies and the Hawaii State Public Library will be collaborating together to create an opportunity for families to build the city of Honolulu out of 20,000 LEGO® Bricks.  Families will have the opportunity to create Honolulu, as they would like to see it.  They can construct the library, downtown Honolulu, their own home, school, playgrounds, parks etc., all out of 20,000 LEGO® pieces all for FREE.  Kids will explore hands-on architecture and learn about how to build strong structures out of LEGO® bricks.

The event is the Kick-off to Hawaii State Public Library’s Summer Reading Program and is completely FREE to the public.  We do encourage families to register at the link below, as the event may sell out.

Here are the details:

Date & Time:  Saturday, June 3rd, 2017 / 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM

(You can register for one of six different 30-minute time slots throughout the day)

Location: Hawaii State Public Library, 478 South King Street, Honolulu, HI 96813

Register For The City of Honolulu Build Here

Event Contacts:

Frequently Asked Questions:

What do these city builds look like?

Can I drop my kid off at the event?

  • We ask that parents stay with their kids at all times

Will the kids get to keep their LEGO® creations after the event is over?

Can kids bring their own LEGO pieces to add to the city?

  • We ask that kids keep their LEGO® pieces at home as we would not want them to lose their favorite LEGO® pieces

We aren’t able to make it to the event, but would love for you to come to our neighborhood or school.  Is that possible?

How Long Has Play-Well Been in Hawaii?

For more information about Play-Well, visit play-well.org or send a question to Wrenn Okada at Wrenn@play-well.org.

How To Turn Your Passion For LEGO® Into A Career

Retired LEGO® Master Model Builder Steve Gerling wearing one of our Play-Well Bow Ties.

Parents frequently ask us “How can my kid become a LEGO® Master Builder?”  Although we are not LEGO® Master Builders ourselves, we have met a few of them and we have spent a great deal of time in the world of LEGO®.  So, we decided the best way to answer these questions is to compile an extensive list of our favorite resources about the various paths of turning your love of LEGO® into a career.  

We apologize for the length, as we wanted to make it as comprehensive a list as possible.  If you have additional links you’d like to share, feel free to provide them in the comments below.  

We have broken it down into two sections:

  1. How Can My Child Become a LEGO® Master Builder?  
  2. Can I Get Paid To Play With LEGO® without becoming a LEGO® Master Builder?

We hope you find this helpful.

How Can My Child Become a LEGO® Master Builder – Comprehensive Resource List

Before we begin, we must first define a few job terms in the world of LEGO®.

LEGO® Master Builders are generally responsible for designing and building promotional displays for The LEGO Group, such as X-Wing, LEGO® Version of David Ortiz, and the Millennium Falcon.  There are currently only 7 LEGO® Master Builders in the world.

LEGO® Designers create the LEGO sets that you get to build with.

LEGO® Master Model Builders create promotional displays at LEGOLAND Parks around the world.

LEGO® Certified Professionals is a community-based program made up of adult LEGO® hobbyists who have turned their passion for building and creating with LEGO® bricks into a full-time or part-time profession.

What we found from our research is a complicated truth.  There is no specific route to become a LEGO® Master Builder. Master builders and designers come from all different backgrounds and all walks of life. Some builders didn’t even play with LEGO® as a kid!

Does your entire family consist of LEGO® fanatics? For the last seven years, we have been working with the Father and son duo, Dan and Chris Steininger, as part of LEGO® Kidsfest,. Chris has followed in his father Dan’s footsteps to become a father-son LEGO® Master Builder team! For the Steininger’s LEGO® really is a family affair.

Top: The son, Chris Steininger, and his family wearing LEGO® Bow Ties Bottom: The Father, Dan Steininger talking with an aspiring LEGO® Builder at the final LEGO® Kidsfest.

The LEGO® Master Model Builder world has been a bit of a boys club but the field is transitioning into an increasingly girl-friendly environment. In June 2014, LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester hired their first female LEGO® Master Model Builder, Veronica Watson.  She was recently in a NY Times article, featuring her LEGO version of Picasso’s Guernica.   

Dana Brandsema, one of our awesome Play-Well staff, was a LEGO® Master Model Builder back in 2010 at San Diego’s LEGOLAND.  Here is her story on how she became a model builder:

If your daughter loves to create unique creations out of LEGO® make sure to snap a lot of photos for her portfolio.  One day she may be competing to become the next LEGO® Master Builder.

Not all of the LEGO® Master Builders spend their time making models for theme parks and discovery centers. Former corporate attorney, Nathan Sawaya left his job in New York City to become a full-time LEGO® artist. His brick sculptures have been featured in countless museums and galleries around the world.  He is best known for his Art of The Brick Exhibition, which CNN has called “one of the top global exhibitions to see.”

Many of the Master Builders we have come across have a background in the arts including fine art, cartoons and sculpting. Erik Varszegi didn’t play with LEGO® as a child but he did love comic books and Star Wars.

The LEGO® Blockumentary Series is a great resource for parents & kids who want to learn what it’s like during at an average day working for LEGO®.  Here is one of Dan Steininger.

If you would like to work at LEGOLAND as a LEGO® Master Model Builder, there is one rite of passage for everyone in this coveted job. The LEGO® Master Model Builder job interview is a live competition where LEGO® fanatics have to build against one another to earn the spot as the newest LEGO® Master Model Builder. Check out this video of a real LEGO® Master Model Builder build competition at the LEGOLAND Discovery Center in Arizona.

According to LEGOLAND staff, “passion and the agility of being creative” are key ingredients to becoming part of the LEGO® team.  Here is an infographic from LEGOLAND on how to become a LEGO® Master Model Builder. 

Quartz recently did an interesting interview with Erik Varszegi and asked him about becoming a Master Builder.   According to Eric, the harsh reality is, “Sadly, you probably have a better chance of being a pro basketball player.”  There are only 7 LEGO® Master Builders in the world.

That is no reason to be discouraged.  There are still hundreds of jobs with LEGO® besides being a Master Builder and working at the LEGO® company is a great way to climb through the ranks. You can start as a gluer, a model builder, product design, transportation logistics, engineering, game design and more. LEGO® is always hiring enthusiastic, passionate people. They have offices and build centers all over the world and many times model builders will have the flexibility to relocate. Check out their online job listings for more information.

Want to know what it is like to work at The LEGO Group Headquarters?  Check out this video and the Life At The LEGO Group YouTube Series here.

Can I Get Paid To Play With LEGO® without becoming a LEGO® Master Builder?

You sure can.  Another route to being able to play to build with LEGO® is to explore the world of AFOL:  Adult Fans of LEGO®.  An entire documentary called The LEGO® Brickumentary depicts the AFOL world and all the awesome people who are part of it.  

Quite a few people in the AFOL community have been able to turn their passion of LEGO® into a part or full-time job playing with LEGO®. One of those amazing people, Alice Finch, built gigantic models of both Hogwarts and Rivendell out of LEGO® materials.

Alice may not have the title of a LEGO® Master Builder, but all of her work communicates otherwise.  There is Miss Courageous, Millie Higert, who makes LEGO®-Inspired Jewelry.  There is the creative artist, Guy Himber, who makes fun, customizable pieces out of LEGO®.  Mariann Asanuma, a former LEGO® Master Model Builder, makes models out of LEGO® materials through her organization, Modeling Building Secrets.  Joshua Harlan and Matthew Kay turned their love of LEGO® into a film career where they spotlight the world’s top LEGO® builders and their creations on their youtube channel: Beyond The Brick.   They recently visited Alice Finch’s house to see her 4 Million LEGO® piece collection.

You can meet tremendous LEGO® builders and creators, just like them, at the AFOL events that happen all over the country and see some of their incredible creations.  Here is a list of these LEGO® Conventions.  

Here are a few other pretty amazing people creating phenomenal creations with LEGO® materials:

Adam Ward, Soul Pancake

Jason Allemann of JKBrickworks

Yoshito Isogawa, who has written a few books about LEGO, including The LEGO Technic Idea Book: Simple Machines

In our travels, we have met LEGO® Stop-Motion Animators,  photographers of all things LEGO® with huge followings on Instagram, writers blogging about their love of LEGO®, designers who create custom LEGO® Minifigures, as well as individuals making a living simply opening LEGO® kits to talk about them.  Check out this next example.

Do you think you are still too young to get paid to play with LEGO®?

Meet Evan, who started making videos of him playing with toys at 6.  He now has been doing reviews about LEGO® sets and other toys on his channel EvanTubeHD for the past 5 years.

His little sister also has a channel called JillianTubeHD.

How do we play with LEGO® at Play-Well?

At Play-Well, we play with LEGO® by teaching LEGO®-Inspired STEM and STEAM programs. Our hope is to inspire the next generation of engineers, inventors, and innovators, as well as LEGO® Master Builders & Designers.  Our staff love getting kids excited about engineering while playing.  Here is how our staff plays:  

Some of our staff now help build huge structures out of LEGO® materials as a way to bring the community together.  Here is one of our favorite recent builds:

Want even more information about becoming a LEGO® Master Builder, artist or designer?  We have provided additional articles, interviews, and videos below.  If you see a great article or video missing from this list, let us know and we will add it.

LEGO® Master Builder Articles:

LEGO® Master Builder Interviews:

LEGO® Master Builder Videos:

Great Links That Are All Things LEGO®

 

Play-Well’s Summer LEGO Build & Tell

During the summer, we always encourage our students to continue to build, play, and learn about the engineering world through LEGO.  So, we are conducting a fun summer project that kids and parents can participate in called Play-Well’s Summer LEGO Build & Tell.

It’s easy for anyone to participate.  Here’s how:

LEGO Checklist

1. Kids build a project, either something they learned to build at a Play-Well camp or a contraption that they have been inspired to build from their own creativity.

Kid Photo

2. Parents, make a short video of your child talking about their creation and any engineering or architecture concepts that have been incorporated into the project.  The video should not be more than 90 seconds.

3. Post your video on YouTube, vimeo, or your Facebook/Twitter/Instagram page.

4. Submit the video link to our Play-Well Facebook, Twitter, Instagram page or email it to jeff@play-well.org.

5. Celebrate!  You are done!

Here are the prizes:

  • The first 30 submissions will receive a Play-Well LEGO Minifigure.
  • qqGYlp1 - Imgur10 submissions (selected at random) will receive a Play-Well LEGO Bow Tie.
Kid President LEGO Bow Tie

Kid President received one of our Play-Well LEGO Bow Ties and wore it recently at the Jefferson Awards: https://playwelltek.wordpress.com/2015/06/26/kid-president-wore-our-lego-bow-tie-to-the-jefferson-awards/

  • 2 submissions (selected at random) will receive a complimentary Play-Well Engineering Fundamentals Mine, Craft, Build LEGO Workshop for their child and their friends.  It has become one of our most popular new programs.

Minecraft

All families that participate in this project can also be part of our Play-Well LEGO Build & Tell  compilation video, if interested.

The prizes are fun to receive, but in the end, the main goal of this project is to get kids to build more and realize what they are learning while building.  We believe that children learn a great deal through play and we hope to foster this type of learning through our summer camps, as well as at home.  If you have additional questions about the project, simply email jeff@play-well.org.

Also, check out our Summer Engineering with LEGO Camps happening near you.

Kid President Wore Our LEGO Bow Tie To The Jefferson Awards!

We recently gave Kid President and his co-creator of their awesome videos, Brad Montague, two of our Play-Well LEGO Bow Ties.  We found out that they wore them to the Jefferson Awards.

CH1aes8WEAAaZLv

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 18: Robby Novak (L) and Brad Montague, co-creators of Kid President appear at the Jefferson Awards Foundation 43rd Annual National Ceremony on June 18, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images for The Jefferson Awards Foundation)

WASHINGTON, DC – JUNE 18: Robby Novak (L) and Brad Montague, co-creators of Kid President appear at the Jefferson Awards Foundation 43rd Annual National Ceremony on June 18, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images for The Jefferson Awards Foundation)

Article: http://entertainthis.usatoday.com/2015/06/19/kid-president-is-just-a-normal-kid-who-makes-amazing-videos/

We found out via twitter.

Screen Shot 2015-06-26 at 4.04.08 PM

We agree, they do look snazzy.

Kid President LEGO Bow Tie

Check out our other Play-Well LEGO Bow Tie Alumni.

Female Scholars of Science & Technology with Alice Finch

Femal Scholars with Alice Finch

World-Renowned LEGO Artist, Alice Finch, the creator of the 400,000 piece LEGO Hogwarts introduced students to the many technological advancements contributed by female scientists and engineers today at Play Well Northwest Activity Center. Children learned about these female scholars by experientially building LEGO models of their great inventions. This is Alice Finch’s kick-off event as part of a larger project to introduce a variety of women scholars to kids through a LEGO curation.

1

Alice teaching kids about Emily Roebling, the woman who saved the Brooklyn Bridge (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emily_Warren_Roebling).

2

Students building our cable stay bridge.

3

The cable-stay bridge was 6 ft in length. The bridge is complete with spinning diamond satellites.

4

Celebration. The bridge is complete.

5

Alice Finch displaying her Hogwarts Castle and all the details inside. There is a working slide inside.

6

We are now getting ready to build our city, but we first must determine the roles of each city planner. This city has its own garbage area, as well as a forest.

7

Teaching kids on how to build a DNA Strand.

9

DNA Strand complete.

10

How did Steve from Minecraft get in here?

12

Now that is a science lab.

13

This is a tallest and most complex DNA strand we’ve seen so far.

16

Alice Finch answering questions about what it is like being a LEGO Artist.

15

Students hard at work.


11 14 Check out some of the pictures from the event here.

Happy 103rd Birthday Girl Scouts!

Juliette “Daisy” Gordon Low assembled 18 girls from Savannah, Georgia, on March 12, 1912, for a local Girl Scout meeting. She believed that all girls should be given the opportunity to develop physically, mentally, and spiritually. Happy 103rd Birthday Girl Scouts!

Pic_GirlScouts

Press Advisory: Building Boulder Out of LEGO For National Engineering Week

National Engineering Week: Building Boulder out of LEGO

WHEN: Saturday, February 21st, 1 PM – 4 PM

WHERE: Boulder Public Library

It is no mystery that America has some catching up to do with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education.  The National Math & Science Initiative has reported that “only 38% students who have STEM majors receive a degree in that major, and 31 percent of U.S. bachelor’s degrees were awarded in science and engineering fields, compared with 61 percent in Japan and 51 percent in China.”

The city of Boulder, Colorado is doing something to address this problem.  Boulder Valley School District is applying for STEM Grants and building STEM Coalitions with local universities. Supporting local STEM non-profits like Cool Girls, hosting Maker Faire Boulder and Boulder Public Library’s STEAM Saturdays.

On Saturday, February 21st, Boulder Public Library is teaming up with Play-Well TEKnologies, an organization that teaches kids engineering concepts using LEGO, in a collaborative effort to introduce more kids to the world of engineering.  Over 100,000 pieces of LEGO and hundreds of families will be converging on the Boulder Public Library, in an effort to build the City of Boulder out of LEGO and get more kids interested in engineering and other STEM and STEAM-related fields.

Introduce A Kid To Engineering Day

For more information on the event, visit: http://bit.ly/BoulderLibraryEngineeringDayForKids

Brianna Laffey, a Play-Well staffer who is helping to coordinate the event, says “the goal of this event is to introduce kids to engineering in a fun, memorable way so they want to know more” and “help promote the good work that the Boulder Library is doing around STEAM.”

This event coincides with the beginning of National Engineering Week.  “The idea of building Boulder out of LEGO partly represents that it is going to take a community to help build the engineers and scientists of tomorrow.  We just so happen to be doing it one LEGO brick at a time.”

For more information about the Boulder Library STEAM event, visit http://bit.ly/BoulderLibraryEngineeringDayForKids or contact Brianna Laffey at 720.515.7309 or at brianna@play-well.org.

Play- Well TEKnologies programs are not authorized, sponsored or endorsed by the LEGO® Group.

Super Bowl XLIX LEGO Bow Tie Contest

Hi Patriots Fans, Seahawks Fans, and Football Fans everywhere,

Last year, we started a tradition that we would like to continue.  In honor of the Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots making it to Super Bowl XLIX, we are giving away LEGO Bow Ties to 2 fans of each team as part of our Super Bowl LEGO Bow Tie Contest.  If you win, you will be one of the few fans in the country that has a LEGO Bow Tie of your team.  Here are the LEGO bow ties we are giving away.

Patriots Vs. Seahawks Bow Tie

Seattle’s 12th Man Vs. New England Patriots

In order to win a LEGO Bow Tie, here is how to participate.

  1. Like Our Play-Well Facebook Page.
  2. Post a picture showing how much you love your team using LEGO on our Play-Well Facebook Page
  3. Tweet the photo to Play-Well Twitter Page, #SuperBowlLEGOBowTie
    • Don’t have a Facebook or Twitter Page? No problem.  Just email your photo to jeff@play-well.org and we will post it.

Here are some of our entries from last year:

Denver & Seattle Submissions 2014

Check out all of the Super Bowl entries from 2014 here.

Be as creative as you want. We will pick the two most creative photos for each team as the winner and announce it Super Bowl Sunday after the game. So, whether your team wins or loses on Sunday, you could still win.

Questions:

When is the deadline to enter?

Photos can be submitted up until the kick-off of the Super  Bowl.

When and how will you pick the winner?

We will pick the winner at the end of the Super Bowl.  We will choose the most creative, off-the-wall fan photo that incorporates LEGO.  If it is a tie between more than two winners, we may give another LEGO Bow Tie away.

What if my team is not in the Super Bowl?  Can I still participate?

Absolutely! We will be giving one additional LEGO Bow Tie to a fan of a team not in the Super Bowl.

If you have any additional questions about the contest, email jeff@play-well.org.

To get started, click HERE to like our Play-Well Facebook Page and start taking photos.

Good luck on Sunday!

For more information about Play-Well Engineering with LEGO Program, visit www.play-well.org.