Angel Avery-Wright

I had the pleasure of watching a group of school aged children from Active Learning Centers complete a group activity: the building challenge. These children really enjoyed the exercise and I want to share it with you.

First divide the group into groups of 3-4 children.

Assign them an area where building materials such as unit blocks, Legos, Magnatiles, Lincoln logs, foam blocks, Tinker Toys, Duplos, Jenga, and any other materials are on hand.

Foam block animal house

Each group is then given a card with one of the following challenges written on it:

  1. Build something related to the ocean.
  2. Build a person.
  3. Build a spaceship.
  4. Build something you would find outside.
  5. Build something animals would like.
  6. Build something from mythology.

Give the children 20 minutes to work in their groups to build something based on their challenge. Some groups may have the same card.

After 20 minutes, have the children share out what they did by reading their challenge and explaining what they built. Each group gets a few minutes to share with the whole group.

Jenga spaceship
Magnatile person

This activity lends itself to creative arts, engineering, literacy and social skills. Children can be creative by working together to decide what they are going to build and how they are going to build it.

These engineers then build their chosen structure. Some children start right in by building, others take a moment to plan it out.

Children practice literacy skills by reading the challenges and speaking in front of the group.

Working together to build requires listening to each other’s ideas and sharing the materials to build their ideas. Sharing out to the group can also be shared by multiple children. Children also compare structures from groups that had the same challenge.

The children I observed made a castle, complete with thrones from unit blocks, a Lego spaceship, a Magnatile person, and a foam block house for animals.

Unit block castle


Tags : blocksbuilding blocksmagnatilesunit blocks

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