Do you know the extreme pain associated with stepping barefoot on a LEGO brick? Then you must be living with a little LEGO addict! Despite their sharp exteriors, LEGO bricks can offer kids many important skills from fine motor development to creative play skills. These places all over the Bay Area provide lots of LEGO love and ample building time. The best part? Those pesky little bricks stay all over their floors—not yours!
Photo credit: Mae Respicio
Built It! LEGO Club
Books and LEGOs? Could it get any better? The San Francisco Library has drop-in building sessions throughout the year at various branches including Ocean View and North Beach. They provide all the pieces—the kiddos just bring their imaginations.
Ocean View Branch
345 Randolph St.
San Francisco, Ca
North Beach Branch
North Beach Meeting Room
850 Columbus Ave.
San Francisco, Ca
Tech Know How
Sometimes the future engineers of America need just the slightest bit of guidance. Tech Know How provides that, and more. Their summer camps let littles as young as 5 learn about everything LEGO. The older ones (ages 14–18) can even volunteer as summer interns where they train to work in a classroom, have access to software and tech tools, and even receive a letter of completion (for extra brownie points on those college apps!).
Camp locations in San Francisco, the Peninsula, East Bay, and South Bay
Cost: Prices vary
Marin County Free Library
What’s better than LEGOs? Free LEGOs! The Novato branch library welcomes your engineers-in-training and provides all the parts, which means Duplos through LEGOs for youngsters 4–14.
1720 Novato Blvd.
4–5:30 p.m. every first and third Wednesday of the month. No registration required.
Play Well Activity Center
Buildings, birthdays, and babysitting—all rolled into one cool place! Well, not actual babysitting per se, but with the way kids zone out (in a good way) on those plastic pieces, you know what we mean. Be sure to ask about their sibling discount.
216 Greenfield Ave.
San Anselmo, Ca
Summer Hours:10 a.m. to 6 p.m., every day
Drop-In Cost: $10/hour per child
Photo credit: Mae Respicio
Build It Again with Bricks
This store has everything for your crazy little builders to go nuts: drop-ins, parties, camps, buying/selling and even photo mosaics. Yes, you too can turn your little’s school photo into an amazingly detailed LEGO portrait. Simply bring in a photo and their experts do the rest. (How cool is that?!)
398 Main St.
Los Altos, Ca
Wednesday and Thursday, 12–6 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Drop-In Cost: $15/hour
Pick-a-Brick buffet? Why yes, please! These shops are pay per scoop, so check with each location for exact rates. Go crazy, South Bay residents! They also offer monthly LEGO Club meetings where participants get to make and take home a mini model ($10/person fee).
341 Hillsdale Mall
San Mateo, Ca
Mon.–Sat., 10 a.m.–9 p.m.; Sun., 11 a.m.–7 p.m.
2855 Stevens Creek Blvd.
Santa Clara, Ca
Mon.–Fri., 10 a.m.–9:30 p.m.; Sat., 10 a.m.–9 p.m.; Sun 11 a.m.–7 p.m.
BrainVyne takes unique LEGO fun and combines it with basic programming for kids in their popular spring and summer camps. Their Girl Power Robotics: WeDo program is a girl-only introduction into the LEGO Robotics WeDo program. Kids also love the combination of LEGO and Star Wars in another popular program. BrainVyne even offers LEGO birthday parties in their Palo Alto location (or another public location near you).
Camps located in Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Evergreen, San Carlos, Santa Clara and Milpitas
Wizbots Imagineering Programs
Combine LEGO Mindstorms with arts, crafts and low-tech building materials and STEM takes on a new meaning for young innovators (grades 2–8). They have everything from camps to parties to afterschool programs; check their website for individual Peninsula locations and programs.
233 Highland Ave.
San Carlos, Ca
Photo credit: Karla Oliveira / Build it Again with Bricks
Oakland Public Library Lego Mania Club
It’s brickmania at the Lakeview Branch, where kiddos build and explore with LEGO and Duplo. The littles will love this weekend precursor that takes place every 2nd Friday of the month.
550 El Embarcadero
Play-Well Pleasanton Activity Center
The power of play is at work here with drop-in activity time for even the littlest of builders (starting at age 3 but with Duplo, natch). Activities focus on popular themes like Ninjaneering, Star Wars, and Flight, to name a few.
5737 Valley Ave.
Summer Hours: Mon.–Fri., 9 a.m.–6 p.m.; Sat. and Sun., 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
Drop-In Cost: Weekdays: $9/hour per child (all ages); 5-hour pass: $35
Photo credit: Kate Loweth
Bricks 4 Kidz
Calling all LEGO lovers who also love Angry Birds and Minecraft! This center has not only drop-in hours, classes, camps, afterschool programs and birthday packages but they also have… (wait for it): Kids Night Out! You won’t feel so guilty about date night when you know how much fun they’re having.
3150 Balfour Rd.
Drop-ins: Tues., 10 a.m.–noon; Wed., 4–6 p.m.; Thurs., 10 a.m.–noon; Fri 4–6 p.m.; Sat. 10 a.m.–noon
Cost: $5 per child
Kids Night Out every Friday from 6–10 p.m. ($25/child)
The owner of this Benicia gem combined a love of learning with a love of all things LEGO and out came BrickSpace! The littlest LEGO lovers will enjoy the preschool playtime especially their Curious Kids Love Science class which brings together LEGO fun and science experiments! After school and summer camp programs are available, as well as the ever-popular Parents Night Out program that’s offered the first Friday of the month.
946 Tyler St., Suite H
Hours: Monday through Friday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
621 First St.
Hours: Monday through Thursday 1 – 5 p.m.; Friday 12 – 5 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Photo credit: Kate Loweth/Living LEGO-cy
More LEGO Fun
Join up with other Bay Area LEGO fans both young and old and become a member of BayLUG – the Bay Area LEGO Users’ Group. BayLUG has meetings where members can display their projects and the group also participates in various LEGO events around the area including Bricks By the Bay in August.
Little LEGO lovers will love the annual “Living LEGO-cy” show at the Museum of American Heritage in Palo Alto which takes place in December and January. You don’t have to be a member to attend this show (but members do get in free!).
Membership: $10/year for a child (with parent permission) or $20/family for the first year (fees are half after the first year)
Did we leave out any of your favorites? Where does your family like to go for a little LEGO action?
—Kate Loweth & Mae Respicio