October 24, 2014

Medina
Intermittent clouds
55°F

Children use Lego blocks to build skills in math, science

Marcus Parrilla, 7, builds a spaceship out of Lego bricks Sunday afternoon at a Bricks 4 Kidz back-to-school open house in Medina.  (NICK GLUNT / GAZETTE)

Marcus Parrilla, 7, builds a spaceship out of Lego bricks Sunday afternoon at a Bricks 4 Kidz back-to-school open house in Medina. (NICK GLUNT / GAZETTE)

Dozens of young engineers in the making got to try their hands at building whatever they could imagine Sunday with an unlimited supply of Legos, the colorful construction toys from Denmark.

The event wasn’t all fun and games. Shannon Simmons, director of Medina’s franchise of Bricks 4 Kidz, said the goal of the program is to use Lego bricks to promote learning in math and science in a fun, creative setting.

Isabella Bailey, 11, chats about “Harry Potter” Lego sets with an instructor at the Bricks 4 Kidz back-to-school open house. (NICK GLUNT / GAZETTE)

Isabella Bailey, 11, chats about “Harry Potter” Lego sets with an instructor at the Bricks 4 Kidz back-to-school open house. (NICK GLUNT / GAZETTE)

“Instead of buying a set of Legos at Wal-Mart that shows how to make a single project, we take it to the next level,” Simmons said. “We have projects that teach math, sorting and organization.”

Simmons put on a back-to-school open house from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday at the business’ “creativity center” at 961 N. Court St., next to Chipotle.

Simmons said children could participate in building games and free-building at the creativity center or could take on tougher projects like stop-motion filming, comic book creation and engineering using gears and engines.

The franchise started as a mobile operation but expanded into the creativity center in June 2012.

“It just started with me in a basement with a couple kids, and it evolved from there,” she said. “I’m one of the first franchises to start a creativity center.”

Alek Djordjevich, 7, left, builds a tower of Lego blocks during a race challenge with other children. Alek’s mother, Nada Djordjevich, said they drove from North Royalton for the Bricks 4 Kidz back-to-school open house because she thought it was an interesting concept. “My husband’s an engineer, so they both like to build things and take them apart,” she said, “so this is just great. Instead of just buying a set and you’re done, this gives them a lot more interaction.” (NICK GLUNT / GAZETTE)

Alek Djordjevich, 7, left, builds a tower of Lego blocks during a race challenge with other children. Alek’s mother, Nada Djordjevich, said they drove from North Royalton for the Bricks 4 Kidz back-to-school open house because she thought it was an interesting concept. “My husband’s an engineer, so they both like to build things and take them apart,” she said, “so this is just great. Instead of just buying a set and you’re done, this gives them a lot more interaction.” (NICK GLUNT / GAZETTE)

The center hosts events several times a week, sometimes with a particular theme, and also holds after-school events in school districts across Northeast Ohio. Simmons said they can also be hired for birthday parties or other events.

Simmons said one event may be of particular interest to parents: Twice a month on Fridays, Bricks 4 Kidz hosts a three-hour “Parents’ Night Out” event for parents to drop off their children and head out for a night of their own.

“We do those once a week during the summer, but twice a week during the school year,” Simmons said. “That way it’s fun for the kids and the parents.”

Simmons said her franchise has grown to have six educators helping to provide a quality product.

“It takes someone who’s a kid at heart to be able to do this right,” she said. “We’ve got a great staff.”

For pricing or more information on Bricks 4 Kids, check out www.bricks4kidz.com/ohio-brunswick-medina.

Contact reporter Nick Glunt at (330) 721-4048 or nglunt@medina-gazette.com. Follow him on Twitter @ngfalcon.