“It’s great having a group or club that your child feels no stress about attending. This is a first.” - Brick Club Parent
About the programme
Brick Clubs take a child-led approach which means they can be extremely flexible and tailored to the person’s strengths, interests and needs. They include team-based activities where you work together to build a LEGO® model, taking turns to play different roles (called the Engineer, Supplier and Builder) until the model is built. Brick Club members play a leading role in the activities that happen in the session, deciding on who does which job, what model is made and when to take turns. Another option is freestyle building, where pairs or small teams can design and create their own models together. For more advanced LEGO builders, there’s also the opportunity to create stop-motion animations and work on coding and programming LEGO activities. In fact, as the children are in charge, there are so many different LEGO building activities that can happen in Brick Club that it's impossible to describe them all!
The benefits of Brick-by-Brick
Play has a fundamental role in young people's development. Some of the benefits we see for members of Brick Club are:
Social opportunities – by having the chance to build, play and interact with others in an environment that accepts and understands your needs, young people develop confidence and start to develop meaningful friendships, all whilst using their skills in collaborating, turn taking, communicating and problem-solving.
A sense of belonging – being a member of Brick Club and meeting others who share your interests and have similar challenges to you, means that young people feel less anxiety, have improved self-esteem and start to build confidence and friendships in a safe environment.
Pride - Young people leave a session with a huge sense of pride for what they’ve created. And they often share this pride outside of Brick Club, talking about their creations and sharing pictures with others.
Who is the programme for?
The Brick-by-Brick programme supports social and emotional wellbeing for young people, aged from preschool to adulthood who enjoy building LEGO models.
It was originally developed with autistic children in mind, but over the years, we’ve seen indications that any young person who enjoys LEGO play can benefit from the Brick-by-Brick programme. LEGO play is gender neutral. The programme is very flexible and can be adapted to a wide range of ages, strengths and needs.
At Play Included, we’re passionate about the interface between research and practice and we hope to encourage more rigorous research and evaluation of the Brick-by-Brick programme to explore how it can help different young people in different contexts.
We know from research that play is fundamental for children’s positive development and studies have shown that LEGO based therapy, on which the Brick-by-Brick programme is founded, has a positive impact on social and emotional wellbeing in autistic young people. Research shows the importance of accepting a difference in autistic sociality, and providing opportunities for autistic children to socialise with other autistic children may be especially beneficial.
Our team have been involved in the first large scale randomised controlled trial (called the I-SOCIALISE trial) that is currently underway in the UK. This study has shown collaborative LEGO play to be cost effective with a high level of acceptability.
Accessing a Brick Club
We’re building Play Included brick by brick, so as our community grows, we’ll be able to provide a directory of Brick Club facilitators in your area. In the meantime, the best way to access a Brick Club is to tell your child’s school, health or local community services all about the program and ask them to get in touch with us about getting them set up with training.
Play Included C.I.C.: Our company name (formerly called Bricks for Autism C.I.C.)
The Brick-by-Brick®programme: The name of the methodology used to support social and emotional wellbeing through collaborative LEGO play (very similar to what was previously known as LEGO based therapy or LEGO therapy, but taking an even more accepting stance of neurodivergent children)
Brick Club: The name young people give to their sessions
“Building together is fun because you’re not alone. It’s not just about me building it’s about everyone building. I like being in a team.” – Brick Club member