I didn't get much Lego-building experience as a kid, so I've have to work twice as hard to come up with cool yet simple Lego projects that impress my own kids.
Half the time, when playing Legos with the kids I poop out and just throw some random bricks together and call it a masterpiece. Not exactly quality building! This inspired me to make this list of fairly simple projects.
Most of these will require some trial and error to build correctly. Rather than giving your kids specific instructions, pose each project as a challenge; part of the fun is figuring out how to make it work using what you have.
1. Balloon-Powered Car
This one is an easy way to give a basic Lego car some horsepower.
- Make a basic "car" out of Legos. Nothing fancy, just four wheels and a frame of long skinny bricks to hold them together.
- In the back, build a frame to hold in the balloon. Be creative, and make sure it has enough bracing to keep it stable.
- Insert the balloon into the frame you've made on the back, with the opening facing the back and the balloon-end facing the front.
- Fill the balloon and let it rip!
Part of the challenge of this activity is to build a frame in the back that effectively holds in the balloon and keeps the model stable when the pressure is released.
2. Christmas Ornament
You can really make any Lego creation into a Christmas ornament by hanging it from a tree. But a fun holiday challenge is to make blocky bricks into a traditional spherical holiday ornament. How will you accomplish that?
3. Rubber-Band Gun
Mom's sure to be a hit by making this rubber-band gun! This challenge can be broken down into the following elements:
- Shooting mechanism: In order for the rubber band to fire, you need two things. First, a stable hook at the front to hold it in place, and a moving mechanism in the back that, when fired, will release the taut rubber band and propel it forward.
- Trigger: This is arguably the most challenging part of the gun to make. The part of the gun that you squeeze needs to be attached to an axle that will push the shooting mechanism in the back of the gun forward, releasing the rubber band.
- Barrel: The length of the barrel will determine what kind of rubber bands you can use. Be sure that the barrel and shooting mechanism are sturdily in place, so that the tension of the rubber band doesn't pull them apart. The barrel will usually be made of two long, thin bricks, but with a block's worth of space between them to make room for the trigger and shooting mechanism. Don't forget to have a notch or hook at the end for the rubber band to grab.
- Handle: This is what you'll hold on to when pulling the trigger. It should be very sturdy to support the weight of the gun as well as the pressure from your hand.
4. Lego Earrings for Mom
These earrings are more decorative than they are challenging, but a great gift idea for the mom of Lego-loving kids. Using a hot glue gun, attach earring hooks purchased from a craft store to Lego pieces. You can also decorate the blocks with smaller ones, but make sure they're not too heavy.
5. Upright Piano
A piano would be a great addition to any Lego world, such as a dollhouse or a school. How realistic can you make yours look?
These simple little birds are excellent for playing in a game of Creationary! See if the other players can guess what you're doing when you start to build one of these little guys.
7. Super Mario
My kids love anything Mario, Luigi, or Princess Peach. See if you can build an 8-bit Mario out of Legos.
8. UFO Spinning Top
This simple build is probably more fun for younger kids than the older ones. They'll get a lot of joy out of being able to make a toy on their own. Try giving your younger kid a selection of blocks to challenge their problem-solving skills.
9. Monthly Mini-Builds
Mini-builds are released once a month on the Lego website and at their stores. If you go to the store, you and your kids will get to participate in a hands-on event where everyone builds the same model from instruction. Or, you can download the instructions for the model and do it at home. Normally, you don't need to buy any special pieces or bricks to build; the mini-build model will use what you already have. Each month's model is usually seasonal or commemorative.
10. Rubber-Band Car
This is similar to the the rubber-band gun in its complexity, and is a wonderful challenge for an advanced builder. In order to build the car, you need to create a mechanism—such as a gear—on the back axle which can hold the rubber band in place while you wind it back, wrapping the band around the axle and stretching it taut. When you let go, the force from the rubber band should propel the car forward. See if you can find the right rubber band to make it go as fast and far as you can.
11. LED Minifigs
Simple, creative, and a little spooky—mini-LEDs (light-emitting diodes) are just the right size to put inside the heads of Lego mini-figurines.
This is more of a Lego modification project than just a simple Lego creation. However, making little jack-o'-lanterns out of blocks is a really cool Halloween project.
Why Legos Are Important at a Young Age
I'm a reasonably intelligent woman, and have always scored well on both language and math tests. However, as a child, I was never very interested in Legos or building and wasn't encouraged to try. I'm determined that my girls will be exposed to the engineering skills that Legos naturally teach.
I love this video. Speaker Christ Rogers from the Tufts Center for Engineering Education and Outreach has been working with the Lego Group to bring engineering into every classroom as a way to teach creativity, teamwork, and systems engineering as well as math, science, and literacy.
What's your favorite Lego project?
Carrie on March 12, 2018:
How do I download the instructions?
anonymous on June 21, 2015:
I love lego and I still make things out of it
kate on March 01, 2015:
i like it.
brittabucketlist on July 17, 2014:
The Lego Rubberband Gun looks great!
AnonymousC831 from Kentucky on March 02, 2014:
Love the lego heart necklace, so cute! Great lens.
Robert911 on February 01, 2014:
i made a small easy safe that takes no rear parts!!!!!!
Jogalog on October 27, 2013:
I love your balloon powered lego car. I can imagine kids having lots of fun with it.
anonymous on July 30, 2013:
The Lego heart necklace looks cool
Takkhis on July 24, 2013:
The Lego Rubberband Gun Looks Great! :)
anonymous on July 12, 2013:
WEhere can I find pictures of lego images that my 6 year old grandson can use as a guide
anonymous on July 04, 2013:
i build lego all the time with my little bro we make awesome things together
anonymous on June 30, 2013:
i like the mario
popztarr on May 26, 2013:
Real nice site you have here on LEGO! I've got a LEGO-site myself if you'll like to take a look! http://www.squidoo.com/what-to-build-in-lego
anonymous on April 07, 2013:
I HAVE FIVE BIN FULL OF LEGOS AND I BUILT THE EILFEL TOWER WITH ALL OF THOSE
uneasywriter lm on February 15, 2013:
Very cool lego lens.. I wish we had internet when I was a kid, to see some of these creations and trade building ideas!
glenbrook on February 13, 2013:
I don't have a favorite project, but I love building things from Legos with my son.
john9229 on February 04, 2013:
Nice Tips to build lego! My son love to build Dinasour
anonymous on January 30, 2013:
@anonymous: I know right
Neil Spencer from uk on December 16, 2012:
What a great lens this is and a very interesting read ;-)
loggy15 on December 14, 2012:
anonymous on December 06, 2012:
mine is the lego mario because it's like so easy to build
sutrisno_lim on November 28, 2012:
The balloon is very funny and cute one...
miss, kindly to like my lenses again and give a comment.
thanks ya before.
because i am doing homework to make a good lenses.
mistaben on November 26, 2012:
The balloon powered lego car is was funny =)
RinchenChodron on November 26, 2012:
The balloon car is way cool!
anonymous on November 24, 2012:
the lego gun is beast!!!
anonymous on November 24, 2012:
anonymous on November 22, 2012:
bgassociate on November 20, 2012:
Ok, this is a cool lens. Lego never gets out of fashion. great.
johnsja on November 15, 2012:
Lego never gets boring. Great toy.
anonymous on November 15, 2012:
Thanks for the good ideas!!!!!!
ShineRita on November 14, 2012:
Thanks for sharing! ^_^
rooshoo on November 02, 2012:
Talk about a lot of legos. This lens must have taken some serious work!
flowski lm on November 01, 2012:
I thought I'd seen it all then the balloon powered car. Now that's amazing! Great lens.
CoffeeWriter LM on October 30, 2012:
I think the lego yarn winder is pretty neat.
rainykua on October 30, 2012:
I love Legos! One of my favorite toys when I was a kid. I still have it now (I'm glad my mom didn't give it away). The Lego Mario is super awesome!
Hannah Writes on October 29, 2012:
I love our empty tub of Legos and letting our imaginations run wild.
anonymous on October 25, 2012:
This is really a great page, i think I like it. :)
anonymous on October 23, 2012:
wow. did't expect lego could do some much. interesting!
spids lm on October 21, 2012:
These are great! What a fun talent to have!
KayeSI on October 20, 2012:
Oh my gracious - how FUN! i'm saving this on Pinterest AND Evernote to share with my grandkids. My oldest grandson once made a spy wallet to hook onto his pants :)
anonymous on October 15, 2012:
anonymous on October 14, 2012:
Handcrank USB charger is awesome
anonymous on October 14, 2012:
xdan0x on October 11, 2012:
rawwwwwws lm on October 07, 2012:
Thanks for sharing!!
shauna1934 (author) on October 07, 2012:
@anonymous: I'm sure I could come up with some builds for you (stuff people are always asking about, and I have no idea how to do on my own)!! If you're interested! :) Contact me.
anonymous on October 07, 2012:
pretty cool. BUT WHAT i need is some ideas what to build.
I am a real good builder i have been taught by a master builder i even have the lego mba kit witch stands for lego master builder academy.
Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on October 07, 2012:
I like the ones you have here. We have long ago given up our legos.
dellgirl on October 06, 2012:
Very Cool and Easy to Build Lego Projects, really. I like your lens, itâs very nicely done. Thanks for sharing.
pennyhart lm on September 27, 2012:
So many clever and educational LEGO ideas, here! I always built dollhouses, castles and mansions as a little girl.
shauna1934 (author) on September 25, 2012:
@tfsherman lm: I know the feeling! I feel like I'm finally getting up to speed with Lego! BTW, I saw something cool and easy the other day for a Lego party... Using clear hand soap (or you could probably do hand sanitizer as well) containers (and clear soap) you can stick a few Lego bricks in the container with the soap for a fun Good luck!
tfsherman lm on September 25, 2012:
Boy, did I need this leg up! I'm a hopeless Lego illiterate about to host a Lego party at my library, and I need all the help I can get! Thanks!
ideadesigns on September 16, 2012:
very cool thanks shauna7084!
MarkJustice on September 03, 2012:
Great lens...I don't have any projects that I build but my son builds new projects almost daily. He does a lot of his own designs, but he also loves to get on Youtube and find projects to build there. It's a great resource for him. I have a lens about Lego at: http://www.squidoo.com/brickmaker-lego-toys and a couple of Blogs as well. Come take a look!
anonymous on August 14, 2012:
Gabriel360 on August 06, 2012:
That light-up LEGO Minifig was REALLY COOL. :D
Dan from CNY on July 11, 2012:
Ironic that I saw this lens on my wife's FB page. Very cool lens.
jediboy on July 06, 2012:
anonymous on May 21, 2012:
lego guns hooray!
HomeschooledKid1 on April 04, 2012:
Nice! I love legos! Congrats to this lens, and legos!
anonymous on April 03, 2012:
MindPowerProofs1 on March 24, 2012:
I like creating with lego when playing with my daughters. Our favorite is a castle
richarddelta lm on March 22, 2012:
Awesome lens. I love those videos (especially the soundtracks haha)... My fav is that rubber band gun. Bet the cops would arrest you for carrying that around a shopping centre shooting the rubber bands at people ahah.
JohFrank on March 09, 2012:
Thank you Shauna, this is just awesome :D
anonymous on March 06, 2012:
anonymous on February 26, 2012:
Brilliant i like the piano
MGuberti on February 21, 2012:
The lego rubber band gun!
anonymous on January 25, 2012:
I love Lego products and I have a blog about the things I have built from my Lego sets. They are all ones that I built without instructions. Here it is: www.eakinsbricks.wordpress.com
MaartjeJepsen on December 20, 2011:
Wow! The balloon car is so funny! LOL
WayneDave LM on October 26, 2011:
I absolutely loved Lego as a child. Thanks a lot for the nostalgia! Love this lens.
Heather B on October 05, 2011:
The balloon propelled car is brilliant! I have to try this with the kids I babysit. By the way, yes, if you do copy that pumpkin template, send me your pictures and I'll post them!
shauna1934 (author) on August 06, 2011:
@dannystaple: you lost me at diode h bridge - but I'll bet my husband can follow you!! :) if you do send me a link and I'll link back on this lens!!! also, if you come across any other lego projects you think i might be able to handle please shoot them my way!! i'll share them here - not to mention i love impressing my kids :)
dannystaple on August 06, 2011:
I lov ethe USB one - I may built that, with my one mod - adding http://www.squidoo.com/freeforming-a-diode-h-bridg... so the motor direction doesn't matter. Either that or use a bidirectional gearbox, which may take up more space.
Pam Irie from Land of Aloha on July 17, 2011:
I have to choose your first project on this lens......that is so cute! A lego car running on balloon power. ha
anonymous on June 17, 2011:
Always loved playing with lego Of course in those days all they had were building block. No lego people, no special kits. I remember buying my nephew a Lego Castle.
anonymous on June 17, 2011:
The four lego bricks with the lego fence in the intro pic looks like something I can make without too much brain strain -:) Just kidding - my favorite is the Legos balloon car - much more fun than a fence -:)