Parallel – The hidden box figure

In this variation of 'Build the hidden figure', the children can explore the excitement about building another's secret figure and the challenges when building a figure you cannot touch.
The task

While timed, we each build a small figure and put it away in a box. Then we build each other’s figures. The aim of the activity is to create a playful environment between us and practice building each other’s figures.

Parallel – 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: “Today, we try a figure box activity. We each build a small secret figure with exactly 10 bricks that we choose from our own pile. When we are finished building, we put the figures in boxes and then we build each other’s figures. We can look in the boxes and talk as much as we want, but we cannot touch the figures. It is not a competition and we are done when everyone has built another’s secret figure.

We practice building something together and we all try to use our previous experiences to reflect on our play. Maybe we will learn something new about each other today, like how our figures might look very different even though we are building them right next to each other.”


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 make small piles of 30-40 bricks of the same material. Every child should have 2-3 piles depending on the number of children.

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?
Print activity