For a video game, Minecraft is unusual in that it’s both hugely popular, and has a ton of educational value. But in terms of both these factors, the creative building game can’t hold a candle to its real-life counterpart, good old-fashioned Legos.

20 fun ideas for LEGO learningYes, Lego, the most popular toy ever made is also ridiculously educational! In fact, when coming up with this list it was difficult to limit it to just 20 activities. The educational possibilities of the humble Lego are seemingly endless.

If you have kids, the odds are pretty good that you have at least a few Lego sets lying around (though hopefully not on the floorthose things hurt to step on!) For most of these activities, you can use whatever bricks your kids have, whether that’s the basic building sets or bricks from themed sets like City, Star Wars, Ninjago, or Batman.

While Lego does have an entire section of its website devoted to education, many of these activities require you to purchase specific sets, some of which can be expensive.

While there are some wonderful resources there, we wanted to focus on activities any parent could do with Legos already on hand. So with a few exceptions, the ideas in this post can be completed with any basic Lego bricks you have on hand.

These activities for learning with legos are organized by grade level, from preschool through high school, although many activities could be adapted to work for older or younger students.

Lego learning activities for preschool and lower elementary

1.       How to teach preschoolers their numbers with Legos, and more number and counting activities for preschoolers

2.       Learn about color and patterns with Lego or Duplo blocks

3.       Practice the alphabet with Lego bricks

4.       Graphing, fractions, and multiplication activities using Lego bricks. Perfect for bringing some fun into elementary school math!

5.       Reenact historical events or build famous structures with Lego. The difficulty level of this activity could easily be adapted for any grade level. Just look at this high school student’s Lego reenactment of the Boston Tea Party!

6.       Practice greater than and less than with this simple Lego math activity

7.       Practice sight words and sentence building with Legos

Lego activities for upper elementary and middle school students

8.       Use Lego figures to inspire writing. Kids can create stories and comics using Lego mini-figures and a comic creating software, like Comic Life or one of these free comic creators. Although this post focuses on using Lego’s own story visualization software, it contains some great ideas for using Legos to get kids to write stories that could certainly be adapted to other platforms. If you’d like to try out the Lego Story Visualizer, check out the free demo.

9.       Use Lego bricks to learn about taxonomy and animal classification. This activity can also be adapted for different grade levels by including more complex scientific terms.

10.   Practice state abbreviations and capitols with Legos. You could easily use this method to learn countries and their capitols too!

11.   Learn how simple machines work with Lego’s animated Constructopedia. This free resource is designed to accompany Lego’s Machines & Mechanisms sets. The animated GIFs show how pulleys and gears work, so you can replicate these mechanisms yourself.

12.   Build a Lego catapult for a mini lesson in history and physics, or make a balloon-powered Lego car with this photo guide from Make Magazine.

13.   Lego’s WeDo sets are aimed at introducing elementary school students to robotics and programming, and they work with Scratch, a favorite kid-friendly programming language.  While they do require purchasing special sets, it could be a great intro to STEM subjects for your future programmers and engineers.

Lego activities for middle school and high school students

14.   Learn about math and symmetry with this Lego activity that can be adapted for basic and advanced levels

15.   Make a Lego periodic table of the elements

16.   Use Lego bricks to represent atoms and molecules in this chemistry experiment

17.   With these free downloads from Queen Mary University of London, you can learn about particle physics, fission and fusion, and the creation of the universe- all using Lego bricks!

18.   Learn about structural engineering with Lego bricks with this guide from How Stuff Works

19.   MIT’s Lego lesson on photosynthesis is a great option for students in middle school and high school. It includes free printable worksheets and detailed instructions.

20 fun ways to learn with LEGOs

20.   Of course we can’t leave out the amazing Lego Mindstorms! These cool sets are a great introduction to robotics and engineering, and while they do run a little expensive, if you have a kid who’s excited about STEM it may be a worthwhile investment. Read this tutorial on getting started with Lego Mindstorms for lots of helpful links and resources. There are also many competitions and leagues where kids can build robots together and attend competitions and events.

Finally, if you have a child in a K12 online school, be sure to ask your teacher about our online clubs, where we have clubs for every interest, including Legos!

Have you ever used Legos for educational purposes? Share your favorite Lego learning activity in the comments!

Interested in learning more about k12's online schools and courses?

About The Author

Ashley MacQuarrie
Associate Editor
Google+

Ashley MacQuarrie is Associate Editor of Learning Liftoff. She began writing professionally eight years ago and has covered education, technology, current events, pop culture and other topics. A former homeschooler, she studied English and Film & New Media, graduating with a bachelor's degree from San Diego State University. Ashley has classroom experience working with children who have autism and other special needs. She has also tutored students from kindergarten through college and taught English to teens and adults at a language school in London.