“Legos are probably one of the greatest toys of all time,” said Bricks 4 Kids co-owner Mike Shirk. “Kids get to build whatever they want whether they’re working from a kit or just creating as they go. The things the kids come up with here are really impressive.”
Bricks 4 Kids, which Shirk opened with wife Jenny last July, has become a go-to place for birthday parties and recreational play, and this summer the Shirks are expanding their summer camp program to welcome builders of all levels. Camps run in five-day increments, and each session is three hours long. Camps cost $30 per day or $150 for the entire week.
In honor of the upcoming Olympic Games, Bricks 4 Kidz will host the 2012 Brick Olympics, in which campers will build models of sports featured in the summer games, such as soccer, basketball, cycling and gymnastics. Competitors’ models will be scored and medals will be award to the best builders.
For the adventurous types, Extreme Expedition Camp offers builders the thrill of creating lavish landscapes as they learn about geography and nature. In Animal “Grassology” Camp, builders construct animal models and learn about animal biology and habitats.
“Each camp follows its own lesson plan, so the kids are doing more than building and playing with the bricks,” Mike said. “If the kids are building an animal, they’ll learn about where it lives, what it likes to eat and how big it gets in real life. If the project is building a lawnmower, the kids learn a little bit about the science and history of how and why the first lawnmower was created.”
Building a lawnmower could be one of the projects in the Robotics Camp, which is back by popular demand. Divided into groups based on age, kids spend the afternoon working with gears and motors. Older, more experienced campers get to play with the Mindstorm NXT Robotics kits, which guide kids through the process of building and programming a Lego robot.
Though Legos are gender neutral, they’re stereotypically considered a boy’s toy. Bricks 4 Kidz is out to change that misconception with Bricks 4 Girlz Camp, a girls-only program that introduces girls to the art of Legos. Campers build houses and other sets for Legos’ new cast of female characters, marketed to encourage girls to build and learn with the popular, colorful bricks.
“Girls can be a little hesitant to play with Legos, so this camp is a combination of Lego projects and crafts,” Jenny said. “Once they’re comfortable, they dig in the piles of blocks and start building like pros. They realize Legos aren’t just for boys.”
Throughout the summer, Bricks 4 Kidz will continue to offer drop-in play times, which costs $5 per child, and Kidz Night Out on Fridays, when parents drop their builders at Bricks 4 Kidz from 6 to 10 p.m. for $20 per child. Kids get hours of play and pizza.
For a full schedule of upcoming camps, visit www.bricks4kidz.com/california-eastbay-brentwood.