We are so excited to show you a peek inside our newest LEGO® project ideas book – Genius LEGO® Inventions with Bricks You Already Have!  

The purpose of this LEGO® book is to give kids both the inspiration and the skills they need to create all kinds of cool machines and gadgets with real moving parts.  The book also directly teaches physics and engineering concepts and vocabulary through “how it works” boxes that accompany each project.

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When we started creating the projects for this book, we wanted it to enable kids to explore real mechanical components such as pulleys, gears, cams and followers, and linkages. We also wanted to teach vocabulary like mechanical advantage, center of gravity, transfer of energy, and more. But we also wanted the projects to be imaginative and fun!

The first project in the book was actually the first one we created. I built the robot, and my oldest son helped me figure out how we would make his feet “pedal” when you push him. Once we had that toy completed, we knew this kind of project was exactly what we wanted the spirit of the book to be!

Here’s a video that will show you a sampling of the 40 projects in this book:

Ready to order?  Click here: Genius LEGO Inventions.  Have questions about the book?  Keep reading!

What ages is this book meant for?

I would recommend Genius LEGO® Inventions for kids ages 8+ to use independently, and for kids ages 6+ with help.  Younger kids will enjoy the projects, but may need a little help.  The projects will hold the interest of kids up through middle school age for sure, and possibly teens, depending on the kid.  (Some never outgrow Legos!)

These machines have moving parts – how will my child figure out how they work?

The photos at the start of each project have arrows which show the motion each machine does. Also, there is a BONUS WEBSITE that goes with the book!  At the beginning of the book in the “How to Use this Book” section, there is a website address to visit. That page has a video clip for each project in the book so that kids can see how they work.

What kinds of projects are in this book?

The chapters in this book are:

Marvelous Moving Robots – Fun robots with parts that move, such as pedaling feet, a head that goes up and down when you turn a crank, and a robot that transforms from robot to car and back again.

Terrific Mechanical Toys – Build a rubber band gun, a monkey ladder toy, and more.

Curious Contraptions – Construct a candy machine, a wind-up catapult, a coin bank with ramps (my favorite!), and more.

Invent and Imagine – These are projects on a mini figure scale. Create a merry-go-round, dueling knights, and more.

Construct and Compete Buildable Games – build a fun basketball game (another favorite), 3D Marble Maze Cube, bowling, and more.

What bricks do we need to have for this book?

All three of my LEGO® books are designed to be used with the LEGO® collection you already have, assuming that you have a fairly decent collection. However, this book does require some gears and Technic elements. Building working mechanisms with gears is just so beneficial – I highly recommend getting some if you don’t already own them!

But before you order bricks, keep in mind that many regular LEGO® sets DO come with Technic elements in them! So check your child’s stash before ordering pieces.

Do all the projects require gears and Technic elements?

No, not all of them do!  Build the 3D Marble Maze Cube, the Marble Spiral, the Basketball Game, and the Amazing Balancing Bird with basic bricks. The pulleys project uses basic bricks, wheels, and a few Technic bricks. The balance and the long distance race car are other projects that don’t require complex pieces.

19 of the 40 projects do not require any gears.

How can I get the bricks I need if we don’t own everything?

Each project in the book has a complete parts lists, so you’ll want to consult those if you want to make a project exactly like it’s shown. But here’s my recommendation for essential parts to have.

I recommend ordering individual bricks from Lego.com (Pick-A-Brick or Bricks & Pieces) or from Brick Link. Here’s a post that explains all about how to shop on Brick Link.

GEARS:

40 tooth – 4

24 tooth – 4 (Or 7 if you want to use gears in the tracks for the construction crane. Otherwise 4 is fine.)

16 tooth – 3

8 tooth – 3

20 tooth bevel – 3

12 tooth bevel – 2

Worm gear – 2

Gear rack – 2

Knob wheel – 1

IMPORTANT TECHNIC ELEMENTS:

Technic bricks in all sizes, especially 1 x 2 (these are bricks with holes in them)

Technic liftarms in all sizes (bricks with holes and no studs)

Axles in all sizes

1 x 3 Liftarm with 2 axle holes and pin/crank – this piece is used as a crank in more than one project.

Technic bush –  these are super important!

Pins – light gray, black, and blue. The plinko type game uses blue pins that are 3 studs long.

You’ll want to have some Axle and Pin Connectors Type #1 – the ball stairs project uses 10, which is the greatest number needed.

There are other elements used once or twice that I did not list here. There’s a parts list for each project so I didn’t want to be too redundant here with elements that are not used much. Overall, we used the same pieces over and over! Which is a good thing!

Where can I get a copy?

Genius LEGO® Inventions with Bricks You Already Have releases on November 13, 2018.

Find a copy at your local Barnes & Noble store!  Here it is on Barnes & Noble.com: Genius LEGO® Inventions with Bricks You Already Have

Order on Amazon:  Genius LEGO® Inventions with Bricks You Already Have (it’s on Amazon’s Holiday Toy List – woo hoo!)

Order on Target.com: Genius LEGO® Inventions with Bricks You Already Have

3 Comments

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  1. Orena Floyd Nov 2, 2018

    I'm trying to set up a Lego center in my elementary school library. Your blog post about this book and how to order from Brick Link really appealed to me. I'm trying not to spend too much getting started and having a parts list will be very helpful. I've pre-ordered the book and am going to Brick Link next. I shared this post with other school librarians I know also. While writing, it just occurred to me to ask parents if they have unused sets we could have. I'll try that first. Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Susan Opderbeck Nov 9, 2018

      This looks amazing. I am a preschool teacher and will be introducing a “brick builders” little class during our winter session. My lesson plans include a few of your ideas from your last book and am excited to see what else I can add. Thank you for sharing all your awesome ideas!

      Reply
      1. Stan Nov 9, 2018

        My boys love LEGO! We just finished playing LEGO Creationary which satisfies their need for making “cool creations” (as opposed to following the instructions). Looks like a great book!

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