The Rutgers Cooperative Extension (RCE) 4-H Youth Development Program and the Cape May County Library have teamed up to offer a day of Lego-themed fun at the Lockwood Youth Center, in Cape May Court House, NJ. This family event, called Legopalooza, will be held on Feb. 23, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Legopalooza is designed to offer kids a taste of the 4-H fair experience, including opportunities to showcase original work, enjoy hands-on activities and receive recognition for their efforts. The day will include screenings of stop motion “Brick” films, Lego Mindstorms Robotics activities, and stations with Lego Games, Lego-inspired print-making and brick activities designed to engage kids in engineering challenges. Staff from the Cape May County Library, 4-H staff and volunteers as well as 4-H Teen Ambassadors conduct the day’s activities.
Participants are invited to bring their own Lego creations to showcase and enter in the Lego contest, which includes two categories for four different age groups. The “Kit Build” category is for entries built according to instructions while the “Kit Bash” entries are those that involve original construction or design. Age groups range from 5-8, 9-12, 13-16, and 17-adult. Participation awards will be offered as well as awards for each age group. Group designs are allowed but should be entered in the age group of the oldest participant. Local educators and community members have been recruited to judge the contest.
The Cape May County Library system is well known for its investment in Lego, with area branches offering monthly Lego Club meetings. According to Children’s Librarian Kellie Large, “Legos are an avenue to promote literacy through storytelling. Our Lego clubs also help young people develop positive social skills through cooperative building activities.”
Julie Karavan, the new RCE 4-H agent in the county, hopes to develop a series of cooperative Lego programs with the county library system. “4-H promotes positive youth development for kids from kindergarten through one year out of high school. The library is the perfect venue for community clubs and Lego has enormous appeal to a wide range of ages.”
“I hope to partner with the county library to establish Junior First Lego League groups as well as county Lego robotics programs,” adds Karavan.
While the event is free and open to the public, registration is requested. Arrangements can be made to drop off Lego entries in advance of the event. The Cape May County 4-H Foundation plans to run a concession stand during the event. For more information and to register, contact the Rutgers 4-H Youth Development Office at 609-465-5115, ext. 605.