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.

Warwick Elementary Builds Star Wars Worlds with 60,000 LEGO® pieces

On May The Fourth, 2017, Warwick Elementary Families and Play-Well TEKnologies collaborated to build three separate Star Wars Worlds.  Those worlds included the Ewok Village, Cloud City, and the trenches of the Death Star.  Here is what over 200 families were able to create in just two hours…

If you’d like us to do an event like this at your school, visit our special events page for details: http://play-well.org/about-special-events.shtml

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 Adventure at Adobe

We were lucky enough to participate again in Adobe’s Field Trip for their families at their Utah, Seattle, and San Jose office.  There were dinosaurs, Hula dancers, gliders, clowns, and of course, we brought the LEGO.  Hopefully, we were able to inspire some future engineers in the process.

Adobe – Lehi, UT

Future Adobe Campus in LEGO. #adobelife #adobeideas #adobe #playwell

A post shared by Play-Well TEKnologies (@playwellteknologies) on

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Our booth is ready for people. We usually refer to the name though as LEGO.

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Even a dinosaur had to stop by our booth at one point to check out what was happening.

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Our jousting battles were in full swing. Some kids had returned from last year just to participate.

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We made the Adobe logo out of LEGO. 3 ft. by 3 ft. We used it as the starting point for our Adobe campus.

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One of our first additions to the Adobe Campus.

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The campus is coming along. People keep adding their office to the mix.

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Of course we were also racing cars.

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The campus is nearly complete.

Adobe – Seattle

Adobe Life Seattle 2

At the Seattle office of Adobe, we built LEGO right under the bridge.

 

Adobe – San Jose, CA

Adobe Life San Jose 1

For Adobe Field Trip in San Jose, we built the frame of an Adobe sign and kids finished the build.

Adobe Life San Jose 2

We even brought a replica of the Golden Gate Bridge in LEGO.

Adobe Life San Jose 3

We built a LEGO Minecraft world to go with the Adobe Sign.

Adobe Life San Jose 4

The Adobe sign is complete. Thanks for having us!

 

We Helped The Glide Community Build a 7.5 LEGO Logo

On Sunday, July 12th, we helped GLIDE and families in the Tenderloin neighborhood build a 7.5 LEGO Heart of their Glide logo for Sunday Streets.  A huge reason we were able to build so much of the sign was because of the awesome volunteers from Twitter For Good.  Thanks to everyone that helped make this idea become a reality. Check out some of the pictures from the event below:

Glide Play-Well Event 1

We began the sign at 11 AM and we only had until 3:30 PM to complete it. (Picture Source: Leah from Twitter)

Glide Play-Well Event 2

Kids from all around the tenderloin community came to help. Some simply got off their bicycles to help. (Picture Source: Leah from Twitter)

Glide Play-Well Event 3

By 12 PM, we had much of the lettering done and the complete bottom done. (Picture Source: Leah from Twitter)

Glide Play-Well Event 4

Here is the awesome designer of the sign, Marco, and Leah, one of the awesome volunteers from Twitter. Without their help, this would never have been completed. (Picture Source: Leah from Twitter)

Glide Play-Well Event 5

Now, the unconditionally part of the sign needed to be built. (Picture Source: Alain McLaughlin from Glide)

Glide Play-Well Event 6

We are getting closer. (Picture Source: Alain McLaughlin from Glide)

Glide Play-Well Event 7

This was one of our phenomenal helpers. She was able to do a lot of the hard part of build, filling in the letters with LEGO. (Picture Source: Alain McLaughlin from Glide)

Glide Play-Well Event 8

One interesting challenge of making a sign like this is that pressure is applied to both sides of the sign, so it is much harder to get LEGO into the middle. She was able to do it with some friends. (Picture Source: Alain McLaughlin from Glide)

Glide Play-Well Event 9

Almost there. (Picture Source: Alain McLaughlin from Glide)

Glide Play-Well Event 11

We even needed a few step stools to get those last pieces up at the top. (Picture Source: Adejire Bademosi from Twitter)

Glide Play-Well Event 12

We did it! (Picture Source: Alain McLaughlin from Glide)

Glide Play-Well Event 13

The heart will be displayed at freedom hall at Glide Memorial Church. (Picture Source: Dori Caminong)

Glide Play-Well Event 14

Let’s just say the Glide staff was excited about it and the entire Sunday Streets event. Thanks for having us! (Picture Source: Alain McLaughlin from Glide)

Thanks again for having us Glide!  If you’d like to do a special LEGO event in your area, click HERE for details.

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.

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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.

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We agree, they do look snazzy.

Kid President LEGO Bow Tie

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

Happy Father’s Day!

“My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.” Jim Valvano.Pic_FathersDay

“My father didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.” Clarence B. Kelland.

Happy Father’s Day!

Play-Well Summer Kick-Offs: Grown Ups playing with LEGO

At the beginning of every summer, we have our annual Play-Well Summer Kick-Off’s.  It is when we gather all of our instructors in the area to come together to play, learn, and share lessons learned throughout the year in preparation for running awesome programs during the summer.  We do role-playing, we tell stories, we of course build with LEGO, and we ultimately just have fun.  At this year’s kick-offs, we asked our staff “how many of you were that awkward, nerdy kid growing up?”  Almost all of our instructors hands go up.  So, we then tell them that in our camps this summer, we are going to have kids that are just like you, trying to figure out where they belong.  By simply being your full, nerdy self, we give that child permission to do the same.  And even better than learning about the world of engineering, that could be the most memorable lesson they learn that summer: To just be themselves.

Check out pictures from our many kick-offs around the country leading up to summer.

Play-Well Northwest Kick-Off (Seattle, Tacoma, Portland)

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Our Play-Well Northwest Staff recreating the Hadouken Meme, Play-Well Style.

Play-Well East Coast Kick-Off (Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey)

It is tradition that we end each of our Play-Well Kick-Offs with the Rock, Paper, Scissors Competition.  This is the Play-Well East Coast one.

It is tradition that we end each of our Play-Well Kick-Offs with the Rock, Paper, Scissors Competition. This is the Play-Well East Coast one.

Here is our strange Play-Well East Coast photo.  Don't mind the person in the middle.

Here is our strange Play-Well East Coast photo. Don’t mind the person in the middle.

Two of our Play-Well Staff still trying to figure out what they built.

Two of our Play-Well Staff still trying to figure out what they built.

David has created a contraption that uses more LEGO Pneumatic tubes that we have ever seen.

David has created a contraption that uses more LEGO Pneumatic tubes that we have ever seen.

 

Our staffer member Michael is building a life size Iron Man Costume and brought in the helmet to show us.

Our staffer member Michael is building a life size Iron Man Costume and brought in the helmet to show us.  And yes, he is wearing the Game of Thrones emblem of the hand, which he 3D printed.

Play-Well East Coast Show & Tell.

Play-Well East Coast Show & Tell.

Play-Well East Coast Staff sharing stories.

Play-Well East Coast Staff sharing stories.

Play-Well Texas Kick-Off

The Play-Well Texas staff in the most calm state.

The Play-Well Texas staff in their most calm state.

This is normal attire at our kick-off meetings.  Play-Well Texas Kick-Off.

This is normal attire at our kick-off meetings. Play-Well Texas Kick-Off.

Still trying to figure what that is. Play-Well Texas Kick-Off.

Still trying to figure what that is. Play-Well Texas Kick-Off.

In Texas, they don't play around.  Everything they do, they do big.

In Texas, they don’t play around. Everything they do, they do big.

During our role-playing workshop, some people truly committed to their roles as kids.

During our role-playing workshop, some people truly committed to their roles as kids.

At the Play-Well Texas Kick-Off, this was a normal meeting.

At the Play-Well Texas Kick-Off, this is considered a normal meeting amongst colleagues.

Play-Well Chicago Kick-Off

Play-Well Chicago staff are quite normal.

Play-Well Chicago staff are quite normal.

At the Play-Well Chicago Kick-Off, Chris finds himself without words during our role-playing workshop.

At the Play-Well Chicago Kick-Off, Chris finds himself without words during our role-playing workshop.

At the Play-Well Chicago Kick-Off, LEGO art was on display.

At the Play-Well Chicago Kick-Off, LEGO art was on display.

Play-Well Mid-Atlantic Kick-Off (Maryland, DC, Virginia)

This is how you spell LEGO with human beings.  Play-Well Mid-Atlantic Kick-Off.

This is how you spell LEGO with human beings. Play-Well Mid-Atlantic Kick-Off.

Bow Ties are ready for staff to wear at the Play-Well Mid-Atlantic Kick-Off.

Bow Ties are ready for staff to wear at the Play-Well Mid-Atlantic Kick-Off.

At the Play-Well Mid-Atlantic Kick-Off (DC, Virginia, & Maryland), a few of us having a lot of fun with the LEGO inventions we made.

At the Play-Well Mid-Atlantic Kick-Off (DC, Virginia, & Maryland), a few of us having a lot of fun with the LEGO inventions we made.

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Play-Well Mid-Atlantic Staff (Maryland, DC, Virginia)

Play-Well Colorado/Utah Kick-Off

These are the normal faces of the Play-Well Colorado & Utah Staff.

These are the normal faces of the Play-Well Colorado & Utah Staff.

When we create stories with LEGO, every piece of furniture is fair game.

When we create stories with LEGO, every piece of furniture is fair game.

Time to hear Tim Talk.

Time to hear Tim Talk.

At the Play-Well Colorado Kick-Off, this team is combining all of the elements from the Avatar.

At the Play-Well Colorado Kick-Off, this team is combining all of the elements from the Avatar.