Blogger Jonathan Dolce

Summer Reading 2017: On Beyond Lego!

Let’s get ready to build stuff!

The 2017 Summer Reading theme is “Build a Better World” and I wanted to touch on two key options:

  1. Building sets
  2. Recycle, reuse and re-purpose

Building Sets: looking beyond the ordinary

Giant Crystal Connectors

  • Retro!
  • 4″ interlocking discs with eight slots
  • Translucent, and brightly-colored


Cardboard construction tools – Makedo!




  • playful cardboard construction
  • 30 reusable parts
  • build creations from junk!

You supply the stuff – cardboard, foam, whatever – and Makedo makes it possible to construct anything you can dream up.  Re-usable and SAFE!

From the trenches: Denver Public Library loads up their programming room with recyclables for attendees to build stuff.  Imagine combining that with Makedo kits!


  • Explore magnetism!
  • Strong, large pieces
  • Safe for kids as young as one
  • High-quality, sonically-welded bars

Learn about magnetic attraction and repulsion while constructing towers, bridges and other creations. The magnets are strong enough to hold up to 60 times their weight!

From the trenches: Our teens used this set, trying to see how high they could go, then also building a structure that held twelve encyclopedias!

SmartLab Toys Demolition Lab

  • Fun and educational
  • Mix and match pieces to create one-of-a-kind structures
  • Unlimited number of warehouses to build and demolish
  • Kids build skills like problem-solving, strategy, testing and experimentation

From the trenches: We used this set at our library, then recorded the demolition in slow-mo.  Good times.

Recycle, Re-Use, Re-Purpose:

Here are some no-cost options:

Use recyclables!

Here you can see my staff and I and what we made with junk!  I’m the steampunk Darth Vader:

Steampunk Industrial Show Jan 2017

Now let’s tie it to literacy!

Check out the Landfill Harmonic, the documentary and the picture book Ada’s Violin to see what can be accomplished using what we waste to create expression.  Enjoy!



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