LEGOs in the Art Room? Absolutely!

Sawaya Collage

Nathan Sawaya is not new news, in fact he’s been creating his art since he was very young.  Only in recent years has his work grown to be familiar to the public through his touring exhibition, “The Art of the Brick”.  Sawaya is known for his life-size, and larger-than-life, LEGO sculptures that depict a range of subjects including three-dimensional art reproductions (Munch’s The Scream, Wood’s American Gothic, Klimt’s The Kiss, to name a few), famous landmarks, and what he is widely known for, human sculptures that are reflections of himself.

The images of the sculptures themselves will evoke plenty of discussion with your students, including that ever-persistent conversation of “I could do that.” Having seen the exhibition myself, I was truly impressed with the architecture, design, and vision that is required for these figures to seem so organic, when they are made with a material that is so geometric.  (I stood in front of the art reproductions much longer than necessary!) The artists that may fit into our students’ “I could do that” mentality are usually pioneers, the first in their fields or artistic styles. This sort of conversation is perfect for exploring beyond what we “see”, truly delving into Sawaya’s thinking, skill, talent, and vision that would be required to create such sculptures.  If your students are saying, “I could do that!?” why not capitalize on that thought and encourage them to create their own sculpture with LEGOs, or branch out and find another unique material to create with? Learning, creating, AND playing!

My fourth grade students draw colored pencil self-portraits based on LEGO minifigures.  I emphasized facial expression and staying true to the minifigure form while including features and details that make each self-portrait a unique reflection of its creator.

LEGOs in the Art Room

LEGO appeals to all ages.  The nostalgia and unique creative experience LEGO offers resonates within all of us. Here are some links to get you even more excited about Nathan Sawaya:


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What LEGO themed projects do you/could you facilitate?

Do you have great LEGO resources you use?

Is there a modern artist with a unique medium that is a huge hit with your students?


Alecia Eggers Kaczmarek

Alecia is an elementary art teacher in central Iowa who is passionate about teaching and reaching her students with an innovative and meaningful arts education.


  • I LOVE Lego – I have played with them with my children for 15 years! Great article and I look forward to developing something more from what you have showed us – thanks (:

  • Amy Hartman

    We love lego and brick building of all sorts! My elementary classes love using Build with Chrome for digital building. Older students build in Printcraft and 3D print their block based creations. Blokify is a great app for this as well. I use Legos in the classroom as a free choice station. Next week, a large Lego wall will be installed in the front lobby. My idea is for it to be a living work of art for all members of the school community to contribute to.

  • don masse

    Love Legos in the classroom! I have a lego center for early finishers to go to. I’ve got grade level common core standards posted at it too:) It is so popular! Kids come in before school and during all recesses to build. I think the free play nature of their building is so important. I also just did a mini fig selfie project too:)

  • Clark Fralick

    I love having LEGOs in the classroom. They are a permanent center in my TAB classroom. It fits a nice niche of students who want to build with their hands but don’t have the time to wait for larger construction to come to fruition. They are great for developing spatial awareness.

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