Solo – Build a model with instructions under a theme

In this variation of 'Build under a theme', the child gets the opportunity to build models under a theme and explore which ideas emerge from the theme.
The task

We build small models with instructions that fall under the same theme. The purpose of the activity is to practice building and be comfortable with the materials and the routines.

Solo – Build under a Theme We create a motivating framework for the child. 



Suggestion for introduction

We create a motivating framework for the child. 

For example, we can say: “The activity is about building models from instructions that all fall under the same theme, eg. transportation. When we are finished with our model, we might feel like building something that fits within the theme eg. a racetrack.


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


We can use small Lego sets (with approx. 20-40 bricks), or wooden blocks, colored cubes, magnetic tiles, paper, or something else – as long as we have instructions or a model that we can follow and they have to fall under the same theme.

During the activity

During the play session, the child encounters 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 child 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 child has during the play session.

Facilitating questions

We can ask facilitating questions to the child 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 under a theme?
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