Boost your child's STEM skills in the great outdoors with one of these enriching outside activities.

Your child’s vast collection of LEGO Bricks has served as a great brain-building activity. Kits teach them how to follow directions while exposing them to new design and building solutions. And when they eventually take apart the models and send the pieces into the “hive,” they gain more options to build and create.

Clearly, you have to find a way to corral all those little pieces. Yet, organizing LEGO Bricks can turn into a dilemma. Do you spend time pawing through big open bins or do you spend time organizing? You’ll find no shortage of bloggers who have created catalog-worthy bin and shelving systems. But if you’re looking for something different, here’s a more functional approach that will take your child through their entire construction career.

Phase 1: Sifting: Toy stores sell big bins with different-sized sifters that are most helpful when it comes to sorting LEGO Bricks by size: teeny, small and medium/large. Just load them in through the top, start shaking, and the smallest pieces will fall to the bottom. Until your collection reaches a real growth spurt, this is an easy way to sort and store. Later on, keep it around as a useful sorting tool!

Phase 2: Stacking: Once the collection grows, try this classic method that will have your kids sorting and building at the same time. Organize chunky bricks by color and size and build them into walls and cubes for fast and easy identification. Because flat pieces are nearly impossible to pry apart, stack these into alternating or crisscross patterns.

Much like the drawer and bin system, it will require occasional maintenance with help from Mom and Dad. The upside is instead of hiding things away into individual containers and drawers, your child can see everything at once, which should speed up the creative process!

Phase 3: Sculpting: Here’s one to save for the idea file, perhaps when the kids are bigger and spending less time building. Look to these amazing creations from the traveling exhibit, Nathan Sawaya’s “The Art of the Brick.” Then round up the family for a grand finale that will take everyone’s design skills to the next level: a life-size family sculpture that adds a bit of drama and wit to your living space. What better way to transform a childhood of fun into a lasting keepsake?

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