Parallel – Build a model with instructions under a theme

In this variation of 'Build under a theme', the children get the opportunity to get experiences with building models under a common theme. The children might be inspired by the models or each other and build additional things together.
The task

We each build small models with instructions under a shared theme. The purpose of the activity is to play together and create a shared imaginary universe to play together in.

Parallel – Build under a Theme We create a motivating framework for the children.



Suggestion for introduction

We create a motivating framework for the children.

For example, we can say: “The activity is about building models with instructions which all fall under a common theme e.g. transportation. When we are finished building our model, we might want to build something else that also fits within the theme like a racetrack. We practice building together and try to see what we can learn by building next to each other. Maybe we learn something new today, like how we can together come up with a good idea. “


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 (with approx. 20-40 pieces), or wooden blocks, plus-plus, magnetic tiles, paper, or something else – as long as we have a model or instructions to build from that falls under the same theme.

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 are building next to each other?
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