Wednesday, November 23, 2005

LEGO from cards

If you've read much in this blog, you know that I often need to work from examples, and sometimes that is a serious therapeutic need. You also may have caught on that I like cards best, with one project per card (or card side).

Yesterday I was out looking at toys (itself often a therapeutic activity) and saw an interesting looking game - LEGO Builder Xtreme - with cards showing small constructions and the pieces needed to construct them.

As I was studying the box, I started thinking maybe I had that game, so I came home and looked. It turned out I had an earlier version - LEGO Creator Game, which is probably close enough for me.

The key elements for me are that set of cards for various small constructions, and a corresponding set of LEGO pieces. The cards are differentiated by five color codes - each color has four cards which divide the pieces differently for four different constructions, so those four can be built simultaneously.

I put the pieces in a resealable bag, cleaned up the perforation fuzz on the cards and used a corner rounder punch to round their corners, and now have another ready-to-go kit for when I need a simple therapeutic activity. The game box, board, and rules went back where I found them - I may want them again for a grandchild or something.

A tentative project is to match the multicolored pieces in two or three single-color sets, since often when I particularly need a therapeutic activity, I am especially vulnerable to sensory overload, and the multiple bright colors might be too much for me. At other times, building the model without the color cues could be interesting or beneficial.

In the meantime, another nice therapy tool.
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Honey said...

I was looking up "Wedgits Class-Pak" reviews and found your blog! I read this whole page and really enjoyed it because I have a son who might be on the autistic spectrum. He developed verbal dyspraxia and dyspraxia (lost speech and coordination) when he was a year and a half old. He is learning to speak now (age 4) and it is so beautiful to hear his voice a lot again-in words and in song. :) He does not like to play with Legos or Wedgit type toys because he has a hard time pushing them together. So I am trying to find fun ways to encourage him to keep trying and succeed. :) Thank you for blogging about all these blocks!

Alan said...


Thank you for the kind words. I really appreciate knowing there is an occasional reader or two - especially someone dealing with the ASD issues.

I can understand the Lego problem - I occasionally fall back from standard Legos to Duplos as I experience episodes of autistic regression. I assume you are already at Duplos: Have you explored the larger sized blocks such as Maxi-Blocks? These are softer than Legos and the like, so should be quieter when they fall down - I find that important, and suspect your son does.

I am puzzled by your mention of problems connecting Wedgits - it is not strictly necessary to connect them, quite a bit of fun can be had simply stacking. The building board can help quite a bit with coordination issues, the purple set can help with color overload, and Wee Wedgits can help with noise problems.

Good wooden Unit Blocks are the best building toy there is, and natural wood is perfect for sensory issues. For noise problems, if things are likely to tumble, I often play on a rubber and pile doormat purchased especially for play. The rubber side up gives a smooth and sturdy enough surface for most construction, and it really cuts the noise of a structural crash. There are also soft unit blocks, which cut the noise, but they are mostly too colorful for me, and likely for him. Lakeshore Learning had a lovely imitation woodgrain set in their store, though I didn't see it on their web site. I have also seen solid black soft blocks, which might be a little harsh. :)

Other things worth looking at include Magna-Tiles and Magneatos.

I'm glad you brought up the needs of younger ASD children. I tend to play at the 9-12 year old level most of the time, with only occasional regression to 5-7 year old level. Thinking of younger kids will let me take a new and different look at my favorite toy stores.

Look for me returning to this topic in coming weeks.