“Lego has always been a popular toy,” said Jenny Shirks, co-owner of Bricks4Kids. “And when I was a kid, Lego was just the regular blocks. But now there are so many varieties of Lego, it’s wonderful. Whatever kids can imagine, they can create. And we’re going to help them do that.”
The center hosts birthday parties, special events, summer camps, and free-play walk-in times. The sky’s the limit, said Shirks, for the creation of future programs and projects.
Although the building blocks are all about constructing fun and cultivating the imagination, the Bricks4Kids model features an educational boost. Some of the classes at the center will be planned as units, such as inventions, robotics or movie making. Participants are given background on the project and given an outline for creating the object.
“For example,” said Shirks, “one of our units is about the invention of the windshield wiper. So the kids learn about its history, who invented it and why, and they get to build a set of wipers out of Lego. It’s a fun way to incorporate some educational aspects into the process.”
As they awaited the opportunity to open their storefront facility, Shirks and husband Mike took their Lego show on the road, offering after-school classes at Krey Elementary in Brentwood. Now, as the center is nearly ready to open, the response has already been positive, especially from their harshest critics – their kids.
“Our kids love it,” said Jenny Shirks. “My son didn’t want me to go back to work, but when he found out work was going to be a Lego center, he was all for it. The kids think we’re rock stars.”
The Bricks4Kids is a fairly new franchise begun a few years ago by a stay-at-home mom in Florida looking for a way to entertain her children and their friends. From there, the centers took off, and next month’s opening of the Shirks location will mark the first Bricks4Kids franchise in California.
“We’re very excited,” said Jenny Shirks. “People are already excited about the center, and we hope to keep that energy going. We’re ready to have some fun.”
Bricks4Kids is located at 3150 Balfour Road in the Safeway shopping center. For additional information and store hours, call 925-684-4082.