I had the awesome opportunity to review Brick Animals by Stef Layton. My boys are all about Legos and blocks so this is right up our alley.
My intention was to use this with my 6 year old because he loves animals and is just getting into the more complicated building phase. However, my oldest jumped in and wanted to build his own stuff as well. My toddler decided that Legos were too difficult to put together so she proceeded to throw them under the table.
If you have a student that loves animals using blocks and Legos are a great way to bring in that hands on learning for your child. My 6 year old is definitely in that building phase which is why we have a variety of block options for him.
Building with blocks are a great way to help their motor skills, teaches them about planning, counting and patience. Once my boys are set on building, there’s no interupting them, they must complete it.
Animals are such a great way to get into science especially at the early elementary age. My 12 year old isn’t as excited about them but my 6 year old.
What topics can your research about an animal?
- food chain
- eggs/live birth
To bring in a geography we always color in a map to show where the animal lives. To bring in a hands on component, we then make a craft. I’m a big fan of using items around the house. You won’t find any fancy paper or supplies around here. If it’s not easy to find or available at the dollar store then we don’t use it.
To really bring the study alive, take a field trip to nearby farm or the zoo depending on what you are studying.
I keep a junk box of toilet paper and paper towel rolls, paper plates, and cereal or pasta boxes because you never know when you are going to need them. Instead of crafts, you can create your animals with Legos or blocks. My son had a great time building these from Brick Animals. His favorite was the T-Rex.
There are 18 brick animals in this book and 6 big brick animals that you can create as well. There’s also a blank template where you could create your own creation and fill in your answers underneath.
The projects are in color and it’s easy to follow along to create your own animals. When we were looking through the book, I knew which creation my son was going to build right away, it was the T-Rex. Because who doesn’t love dinosaurs? I like that it gives you a basic guide but if you don’t have the exact blocks, or same colors then that doesn’t hinder anyone’s ability to build either.
My son loved this and has kept his last build, the octopus, and refuses to take it apart.
Along with the Brick Animals you also get tips for implement hands on activities, tips for implement brick building into other subjects, a list of favorite resources and a caution on labelling your child. I really appreciated this because as you all know I have a visual spatial learner but I can’t cater everything to his strengths. You also have to teach to their weaknesses to give them the chance to use and improve those skills.
You can purchase the 30 page Brick Animals for $4.99, and use the coupon code “brickreview” to purchase it for $3.99.