A love for LEGO

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Pankhuri from India shares her extraordinary trip to Billund, Denmark, to attend the LEGO Idea Conference 2018 at the newly constructed LEGO House.

We are all familiar with LEGO, and almost every kid growing up has played with LEGO blocks and bricks, built castles, rockets, houses or anything possibly imagined, thanks to these highly intuitive construction toy kits.

I have been fascinated with LEGO for as long as I can remember. My interest and involvement with LEGO’s research on play-based learning systems and participation with their online community got me an exclusive invite as a delegate to the LEGO Idea Conference, organised by the LEGO Foundation, held at Billund, in Denmark this year.

This year’s conference was all the more special since it would be held at the newly constructed LEGO house for the first time. I couldn’t wait to experience the multi-dimensional, multi-interactive universe that the company had envisioned and play in a pool of LEGO bricks...giggle.

The conference venue in itself was magical. The LEGO house is an architectural marvel and has been constructed to resemble a stack of LEGO bricks. It is interesting to note that the building in itself, began as a 1:100 scale model built entirely out of LEGO bricks. The LEGO house reflects the philosophy of learning through play in its spatial design and has laid out core competencies of creativity, cognition, emotion, social play and spatial awareness as physical spaces within the premises. Each core competency is designed as a colour–themed zone, for example; in the Blue Zone, children and adults can interact with spaces designed to train cognitive abilities whereas the yellow zone is designed for emotional play. It is a fascinating space, which can be enjoyed and experienced by children and grown-ups alike. The LEGO house also accommodates the LEGO historical museum in its basement where visitors can walk through exhibits to see some of the products, challenges, and moments that have defined LEGO’s most important milestones.

No LEGO inspired trip can be complete without spending some time at the enchanting LEGO store. During the conference, between inspiring keynotes, interactive workshops, and animated banter, I got an opportunity to browse through the internal LEGO store at the venue and pick out small souvenirs for family and friends.

It was a life-changing trip and really motivated me to work harder on my PhD, since I could see how relevant my research was, in the current landscape of child-centred education. My dream is to work for LEGO someday. For now, I am content with a trip to the city of LEGO!

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