By Julia Jones, Correspondent
Excited gasps and giggles escaped the crowd of kids as they watched a model train roll on its tracks around a moving Lego amusement park of their creation.
Bricks 4 Kidz ran its first week-long camp of the summer last week at the Harris Community Center. The children built everything from roller coasters to a human catapult out of Legos, and each attraction was fully in motion. Bricks 4 Kidz teacher Crystal Grant states how camps like these benefit children.
“Everything we do has a learning component,” Grant said. “When we learn about our amusement park, we learn about the laws of motion and inertia and all those different dynamics and we apply that to what we’re building.”
There are seven more camps planned for this summer at the Harris Community Center as well as smaller camps at Central Texas Christian School, the Belton Public Library and Ralph Wilson Youth Club. The themes of these camps vary and include dinosaurs, Star Wars, and ninjas, and are open for anyone preschool to high school aged. Grant believes that Bricks 4 Kidz programs will prepare the next generation of engineers to be creative.
“Bricks 4 Kidz as a franchise was started as a way for kids to learn team building and engineering,” Grant said. “It’s not just ‘Hey, let’s come and have fun.’ There’s always an educational element attached to it.”
Participants are given free reign on the design of the rides, so no two amusement parks look the same. According to Grant, having this freedom makes the kids expand their minds in a different way than if they were in school.
“There is not a single thing that’s on that table that I build apart from [the train],” Grant said. “Everything else they build.”
Bricks 4 Kidz also offers after-school programs during the school year at the local elementary schools. These are more focused on learning than on fun, but still include many of the aspects of the summer camps.
“They’re more educational focused, while the camps are a little more fun focused with the educational component kind of slipped in there,” Grant said.
The company also offers camps in robotics and drones for students in third grade and higher. Each camp at the Harris Community Center runs from 9 a.m. to noon. The cost for the Lego building camps is $150 per week, and the cost for the robotics camps is $180 per week.