LEGO Camp at the Tri City Neighborhood Center is more than just playing with blocks.
Besides kids having fun building structures, vehicles and robots, kids also build their minds, learning real-world engineering skills. They work in teams, and build social skills.
When complimented on the way she successfully taught terms such as “fulcrum,” “force” and “load input,” teacher Stephanie Upson said, “You get the adult words while having tons of fun.”
According to their brochure, Play-Well TEKnologies, which runs Milford Recreation Department’s summer “Pre-Engineering with LEGO” camp, “provides programs designed to teach principles and methods of engineering architecture, and science to kids for ages 5 and up, using LEGO building materials.”
There is an established curriculum, but the end result simply looks like kids playing together and having a blast…and creating remarkable LEGO projects for their age group.
Each day of the week-long camp, campers complete two projects. One recent day, the six- to eight-year-old group first built “Mini Walkers,” which appeared deceptively simple. In fact, when completed, these small, battery-operated robots were able to walk, perform push-ups, and of course defend their castles.
After building Mini Walkers, children worked in teams to build castles, using an engineering technique called “overlapping,” wherein a stronger wall is built not by simply stacking bricks, but by overlapping layers.
Finally, the castles were lined up against the wall, and each child got a chance to destroy another team’s castle with a LEGO catapult.
“LEGO camp is awesome!” chimed one group of kids.
This is the fourth session of LEGO camp offered by the Milford Recreation Department. Besides sessions this summer and last, LEGO camp was also held over February and April vacations last year.
Plans are to run camp during school vacations in the upcoming year as well. Camp sessions are three hours long, and separate sessions are held for 6- to 8-year-olds and 9- to 12-year-olds.
There was a $120 fee for the summer program. For more information about upcoming programs, go to the Milford Recreation Department's website.