For Joshua Casino, outer space is as close as the local library.
In a special room dedicated to the LEGO Club, at East York’s Jones Library, Joshua’s mother Lisa Casino asked what he’ d made with his LEGO pieces.
“Ninja storm-ship,” the youngster said.
The LEGO Club is organized by the Toronto Public Library across 17 branches. It meets on the last Tuesday of every month. This week, Casino brought her son to the LEGO Club for the first time.
“He’s already asking if we can come the next time, and I already said, ‘Yes,’” Casino said.
Last September, when Teresa Taizzo and Liza Villanueva organized the program at the Jones Library, they hoped to attract children between 6 and 12 years of age.
“We wanted it to be a safe and welcoming place for them to come after school,” Taizzo said, “and for them to learn and have fun.”
They promoted the program to schools and daycare in the neighbourhood, and the program grew. Now, more than 15 children and their parents or guardians show up for an hour of play time at the library every month.
“LEGO is one of those classic toys. It promotes science and technology practices as well as teamwork,” she said. “It’s a great resource.”
Benny, Julia and Rachael Lorius, accompanied by their babysitter Monica, have come to the LEGO Club since the program started.
“They love LEGO. And there are more kids here, so it’s more fun,” Monica said. “LEGO … lets them use their imagination to create something.”
In the middle of her own LEGO construction project, Rachael Lorius spotted her friend, Sophie, and the two began collaborating on an elaborate home model. It even has an outdoor barbeque patio.
“They’re so into it; it’s so cute,” laughed Monica, watching the four busy children at work.
Based on the response from parents and children at the Jones Library, Taizzo and her team would like to expand the LEGO Club into a daily program.
“The kids would definitely like it more than once a month,” she said.