Games – Build a model with rules

In this variation of 'Build a Model', we build a model together from our own rules.
The task

Together, we build a model from fixed rules. We can change the rules if we want and agree. The aim of the activity is to create structured play, where we can negotiate how we build our model.

Games – Build a Model We create a motivating environment for the children.



Suggestion for introduction

We create a motivating environment for the children.

For instance, we can say: “We practice building together and we try to use what we have already learned to reflect on the activity together. Maybe we learn something new about each other, like how we can share good ideas. The play is about building a model together. We decide for ourselves what we want to build. It could be a robot, a flower, or something else. We have to follow three rules for building. For instance:

  1. We each have a different color of bricks we can use to build with.
  2. We cannot put two bricks of different colors on top of each other.
  3. We take turns at placing a brick on the model.”


The activity can be adapted to the framework of one lesson and varied according to the time available and the children’s prerequisites.


We can use small Lego sets that we are familiar with, or wooden blocks, plus-plus, magnetic tiles, paper, or something else – as long as we have preprinted instructions or a model that we can follow. We each get 30-40 bricks with different colors.

During the activity

During the play session, the children encounter challenges and successes, where we can stop and help spot what is difficult or what is going well. We can do this in several ways:

Reflection routines 

When we get the opportunity to reflect together with the children on what challenges or discoveries arise along the way, we can use one or more reflection routines. It could be, for example, a learning metaphor with a social strategy that we practice, an emoji that describes the feeling we have right now, or a rating of how well we think the building is going. In this way, a reflection routine can help to show and put into words the experiences that the children have during the play session.

Facilitating questions

We can ask facilitating questions to the children along the way, as they naturally arise in the building process. In this way, we facilitate the play session so that we continue the play and at the same time learn something from it. For example: 

  • I see that you have stopped building. I wonder how we can continue from here? 
  • I see that you have encountered a challenge. Should we try to solve it together? 
  • Try to notice what you are doing right now. Do you think this is a collaborative strategy? 
Show and Tell

Finally, in the play session, we give a Show and Tell of our construction, so that we have the opportunity to share our experiences, reflections, and feelings about the construction process.

First, we talk about our model and the process of building it. During the Show and Tell, we can use reflection routines and reflective questions to support the discoveries that have been made. For example:

  • What went well? 
  • What was difficult?
  • Is there anything that you want to do differently the next time we build a model?
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