The LEGO Idea Studio

The LEGO Idea Studio was a center for developing and demonstrating hands-on experiences of learning through play and the LEGO Idea. Housed in the very first LEGO factory in Billund Denmark, the LIS acted as a workshop space and design studio; leveraging workshops to rapidly test new designs; and leveraging the messiness and presence of new designs to demonstrate the playful nature of design explorations.


The LEGO Idea Studio was started in fall 2016 by Amos Blanton as a part of the Center for Creativity Play and Learning at the LEGO Foundation. I joined the studio in April 2017 and took over as the studio director in summer 2019.

The LEGO Idea

The guiding principles for both facilitation and design was this especially nice piece of corporate rhetoric: the LEGO Idea. Summing up decades of writing about LEGO play, the paragraph concisely states what makes the blocks so special. In the picture to the right, you can see Amos highlighting certain parts of the LEGO Idea – and hiding the words “With the LEGO Bricks” to say that the qualities are not unique to LEGO.

we can build anything we can possibly imagine
It’s not about building the picture on the box, but about exploring one’s own ideas. It’s an open-ended material for play – not a puzzle with a singular right answer.

we are not only creating, but also evaluating, reflecting and recreating
This part points to process-over-product, supporting children’s creative development through creative play, the importance of iteration.

We learn through play in a self motivated and fun way.
Playful learning, no matter what the subject matter in focus, situates learning as a fun and intrinsically motivating experience.


Workshops at the studio were largely held for partners of the LEGO Foundation. Giving partners, perhaps unfamiliar to the nuances of playful learning, a chance to play and feel the frustrations and triumphs of tinkering that are impossible to summarize.

Workshops typically followed the same loose structure: short introduction, play, reflective discussion, and sometimes a lecture.

A photograph of the LEGO Idea Studio


Records of the design explorations conducted at the studio can be found on Twitter. We published all of our ongoing work on that account to invite input from formal and informal collaborators from all over the world. To see those

Selected projects

As of Jan 2021, most of these are placeholders. If you want to learn more about one of these projects, reach out and ask – I’m always happy to talk.

Story City

Story City #StoryCity is an online collaborative craft project where a mosaic-like picture of a city comes together when families

Parque de Farrapos

Parque de Farrapos was a play festival held in 3 cities in the state of Espirito Santo, Brazil, during the

Sunlight Play

Sunlight Play is set of tools for play based exploration of light, shadow, color, movement, scale, and story telling. The


Kaleido-Mirrors Kaleido-Mirrors is a simple tool that opens possibilities for creative exploration through tessellation. It is made of two small

Peer to Peer Play and Learning

I ran a program at the LEGO Foundation called Learning Learning Through Play Through Learning Through Play. The program was

Sky Parade Tracks

Show the different iterations, link to Amos’s Instructable, show Klaus’s iterations, show the book that a library version ended up

Open-ended Building Instructions

Open-Ended Building Instructions LEGO Art Machines is a playful learning activity developed by the Tinkering Studio and the LEGO Idea

Open Design

Sharing ongoing design work, twitter, official and unofficial collaborators….

Tinkering Toolbox

I was by no means the main driver behind this project – but I did work on it. We made

Africa Play Conference

Africa Play 2019 was a conference hosted by Unicef, the South African Department of Basic Education, and the LEGO Foundation.