In 2016, 4 individuals named Nazrudin Rahman, Nizam Rahman, Sheahnee Iman Lee and Ken Lam who shared a love of LEGO came together to create a place where kids could play with and learn through LEGO.
It’s more than a space for children, too, as its aim is to unite families and Adult Fans Of LEGO (AFOL), particularly in this time of gadgets and the decrease of quality bonding time.
And if you’re thinking that all your kids could learn at BlokkeLabs is how to properly build a LEGO set, you’d be dead wrong.
Eating And Playing, Children’s Favourite Pastimes
Since food is at the heart of every Malaysian, let’s get what sorts of delicacies you’d be able to get at Blokke out of the way first.
For the adults, there are baristas who source the best third-wave coffee beans from different global regions to brew your favourite cuppa.
Behind the meals is Chef Shah, who creates all-day breakfasts, mains, finger foods, and kids’ specials (designed by kids for kids), and, in keeping with the spirit of LEGO, customisable meals the way you want them created.
Of course, there’s also a variety of desserts created lovingly by Blokke’s own pastry chef, Mira.
Now, onto the playhouse portion of Blokke that’s open for kids aged 2 to 12. Because nothing is truly free in this world, this curated space charges an RM10/day flat rate for children below 2, but for those above 2, it’s RM25 for weekdays and RM30 for weekends and public holidays.
If you’re a frequent visitor, you can get your kids a multi-pass (10 entries) that’s valid for 6 months at RM200, or an annual pass (unlimited entry) at RM400 per child.
In the playhouse, you’ll find LEGO pits, mini slopes for climbing, mini jungle gyms, and the likes.
Building Brain Blocks
What really stands out to me at Blokke, however, are the types of learning they offer through BlokkeLabs, using LEGO as a medium.
From early childhood and preschool courses to streams in Design & Architecture, Communications, and STEM & Robotics, Blokke wants to create potential career pathways.
Their facilitators, who are trained educators or subject matter experts will guide kids through these learning experiences.
4 courses are available under the Early Childhood & Preschool stream where kids use DUPLO and LEGO bricks to learn about themselves, the world around them, their relationship with others, and how things work:
- BLOKKE.Tots Junior for ages 2.5+ (4 terms at RM550/term)
- Learn to Learn for ages 5+ (2 terms at RM600/term)
- Junior STEM for ages 5+ (2 terms at RM600/term)
- More to Maths for ages 6+ (4 terms at RM600/term)
For STEM & Robotics where kids will learn how machines and mechanisms work, develop those skills by building and testing their own, and harness that knowledge by designing and programming robots, there are 5 courses:
- Simple Machines for ages 7+ (2 terms at RM650/term)
- WeDO 2.0 for ages 7+ (2 terms at RM650/term)
- Simple & Powered Machines for ages 8+ (2 terms at RM650/term)
- Mindstorms EV3 for ages 9+ (4 terms at RM700/term)
- BLOKKE.Engineers Labs for ages 10+ (4 terms at RM700/term)
Kids who graduate from the Mindstorms EV3 course will be inducted into the BLOKKE.Engineers Labs programme where they’ll acquire real-world experience in designing, developing and exhibiting their inventions at competition-level.
Under the Communications stream, kids learn how to enhance their reading and writing, hone their presentation and public speaking skills, and develop their interest in media production. There are 3 courses:
- Build to Express for ages 6+ (2 terms at RM 650/term)
- Story Starter for ages for ages 7+ (2 terms at RM 650/term)
- BLOKKE.Directors Studio for ages 8+ (4 terms at RM700/term)
Like the STEM & Robotics course, kids who graduate from the Story Starter course will be inducted into the BLOKKE.Directors Studio where they acquire real-world experience in stop-motion animation production.
Their newest stream is Design & Architecture where kids learn about 2D and 3D virtual perception, design skills, project based learning and hone creativity. The 2 available courses are:
- BLOKKE.Builders Workshop for ages 7+ (2 terms at RM 650/term)
- BLOKKE.Builders Academy for ages 8+ (4 terms at RM700/term)
All of these classes are held in 2-hour sessions, and 2 terms are about 24 weeks while 4 terms are about 43 weeks.
Therapy Through LEGO
In Asia, BlokkeLabs is the first to bring LEGO based therapy for children with autism and social anxiety disorders, with the training and support of the founder of LEGO based therapy himself, Dr Daniel LeGoff.
This spurred the development of the BlokkeTherapy programme in collaboration with the National Autism Society of Malaysia (NASOM) and supported by Bank Rakyat.
LEGO therapy is more than simply building LEGO blocks; it fosters social communication skills through a form of group play therapy with specific guidelines.
Being a highly structured and systematic toy, it appeals to many individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and there has been a variety of research showing the relatively long-lasting results of LEGO therapy in individuals with ASD.
After establishing BlokkeTherapy, BlokkeLabs was formally accredited as a Social Purpose Organisation by Agensi Inovasi Malaysia and as an Impact Driven Enterprise by MaGIC in 2018.
If I were a kid in this era, I’d personally be stoked to take a BlokkeLabs course as learning through play was definitely something that was severely lacking in my childhood.
These kinds of programmes simply didn’t exist back then, and the concept of alternative learning was still foreign.
Since there’s been more focus on building up a variety of practical skills over theory based learning too, programmes like BlokkeLabs definitely fit the bill.
Do kids these days know how good they have it?
- You can read more about other educational startups we’ve written on here.
Featured Image Credit: Blokke