We all have LEGO and often the sort method we use is one big bin of some sort. Perhaps you can keep your different Harry Potter playsets together, but I wouldn’t be able to for long.
The library makerspace at the Hubbard Woods School in Winnetka, IL had a larger problem: 250,000 pieces of LEGO to keep organized! They use their LEGOs for stop-motion animation, mathematical investigations, mosaics, storytelling, and of course lots and lots of free building. How to keep them sorted and organized??
After a visit to Colorado, librarian Todd Burleson hunted down some beautiful sorters used in a makerspace. He knew that they would be perfect for LEGOs. After many hours of searching, he found them online. The sorters are made by a company called Akro-Mills.
The sorters are perfectly sized for kids to grab and go, but also for them to sort them when they are done. We took our organizational game up a notch when my colleague, Jennifer Calito, found each LEGO color’s official Pantone designation. We taped these swatches to the sorter sections. This is especially helpful for the kids putting bricks back in sections that are completely empty.
I keep other types of LEGO, like minifigures, wheels, and more odds and ends, in their own special bins. Minifigures tend to walk away, so they are now enclosed in our display boxes.
And for checking out mini-figures:
If a student wants to play with a mini-figure, they trade me a shoe. When it’s time to clean up, I find those kids and trade their shoe back for the mini-figure. It works beautifully! We have a ton of what we call “people parts”—essentially LEGO costume character pieces—from some of our kits. We store all of these extras in medicine bottles that are labeled appropriately. These come out a lot whenever we are doing stop-motion or are using the LEGO for storytelling.
Fun Fact: You can sterilize your LEGOs by tossing them in a mesh bag from the Dollar Store and running it through your dishwasher or washing machine on the gentle cycle. You can purchased color-coded mesh bags so you don’t have to completely re-sort the LEGOs after each wash.
Those of you who have a huge amount of bricks, you might be interested in this awesome machine that sorted two metric tons of LEGO bricks.
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