Games – Box figures with challenges

In this variation of 'Build the hidden figure', the children get to explore collaboration by helping each other build the hidden figure in the box - but each with different materials to build with.
The task

Together, we build one or more figures. By color coordinating the materials, we create a challenge that we have to solve together. The aim of the activity is to create grounds for collaboration.

Games – Build the Hidden Figure We create a motivating framework for the children. 



Suggestion for introduction

We create a motivating framework for the children. 

For example, we can say: ”We practice building something together. Maybe we will learn something new about each other today, like how we can explain things to each other. Together, we build an exact copy of a secret figure in a box. The challenge is that we can only build with the materials from our own pile, which means we each have one color. There are two rules:

  1. We take turns at looking at the secret figure and then go back to put a brick on our shared figure, or we can ask our partner to put one of their bricks on it.
  2. We only talk when we sit down. We are quiet when we are standing up.

When we think our shared figure is an exact copy of the secret figure, we say ‘done’.”


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


We use small Lego sets that we are familiar with, or wooden blocks, colored cubes, magnetic tiles, paper, or something else. We build 2 secret figures from 20 bricks beforehand. The building materials are color coordinated and given one pile each which contains the same number of bricks as the figures, plus a bit more.

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 hidden figures?
Print activity