The kits for the 2023-24 school year are as follows:

November 2023 - Cheeseburger & Fries

Every year, I ask the students what kinds of kits they'd like to see in the future, and one of the things that is always brought up is the notion of kits representing their favorite foods. I love the idea, as it also plays to my interest in developing kits that are based on more organic shapes. For this month, I designed a cheeseburger that is build from the center out, so that as few studs are shown in the final product, while still looking realistic.

Hopefully, the kids will find this a "tasty treat" for their build expertise.

The INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEO and PDF BUILDING INSTRUCTIONS will be available soon!

This kit was originally designed by Todd Merrifield.

December 2022 - Chess Board & Pieces

When I was just entering middle school, my father taught me the beginnings of my chess instruction, and I learned to absolutely love the game! The strategy of the movements was intoxicating, and the planning of every step (sometimes several steps at a time) was fundamental to my successes. I find the same principles are built into the process of LEGO design and construction -- what better combination of my two favorite pass-times?

The INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEO and PDF BUILDING INSTRUCTIONS will be available soon!

This kit was designed by Todd Merrifield.

January 2024 - Hoopin' & Foozin'

Another theme that the students regularly request is a sports-related kit that can be used to play competitively with one another. I looked at football field goal concepts, hockey goal target shooting, etc., but when I searched for basketball-related ideas, I found an actual LEGO Educational kit that's included in a STEM program. With this small kit established, I wanted to add something else that would be fun to design, build, and play -- and one of my favorite table games is Foosball!

Can't wait to see the kids build these (secretly) STEM-oriented kits!

The INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEO and PDF BUILDING INSTRUCTIONS will be available soon!

The basketball kit was originally designed by the LEGO Group, and the foosball table was designed by Todd Merrifield.

February 2024 - Valentine's Day

What better way to celebrate a day of love and friendship than with a beautiful heart-shaped box of chocolates?! And this one doesn't come with any extra calories!

This build combines a wide spectrum of colored parts and some creative construction practices that assemble not only the treats within, but the box as well. Students will learn about multi-directional building and strength/support methods for the kit as a whole. The development of the heart shape is also a process that offers new insights into geometrical and organic builds for the future.

The INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEO and PDF BUILDING INSTRUCTIONS for the build of this kit will be loaded soon!

This kit was originally designed by Riumtegast uit 1975 for LEGO Ideas, and was adapted for this program by Todd Merrifield.

March 2024 - Women's History Month
Curie's Laboratory

I've wanted to celebrate the amazing advancements in science of Marie Curie, and didn't honestly think that I'd be able to find or design a kit that would be both fun to build and accurate to her work. Little did I know that a simple google search would bring this kit (from LEGO Ideas) to my attention -- unfortunately, it never gained enough support for production, but I designed my own version and look forward to sharing Ms. Curie's research with the students.

Can't wait to see the kids build these (secretly) STEM-oriented kits!

The INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEO and PDF BUILDING INSTRUCTIONS will be available soon!

This kit was originally designed by crises_crs, and was adapted for this program by Todd Merrifield.

April 2024 - Earth Day

For Earth Day this year, I wanted to offer the students a multi-platform display of the different natural forces that affect our lives. I had seen a portion of this concept before, and after a little bit of research, I found the full kit (another LEGO Idea build that is still in the process of gaining support). Unfortunately, a lot of the kit pieces as designed by the original creator haven't even been produced before, so I redesigned the kit using parts that are available through LEGO and my Bricklink resources.

From tornados to forest fires to earthquakes to tidal waves, the students will enjoy a build experience unlike anything they've done in LEGO parts before.

The INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEO and PDF BUILDING INSTRUCTIONS for the build of this kit will be loaded soon!

This kit was originally designed by MOCingbird for LEGO Ideas, and was adapted for this program by Todd Merrifield.

April 2024 - Exotic Animals

I always love to see designs of animals that employ build methods creating organic shapes and forms. In this case, I wanted to create a lizard from the tropical forests that could be built and realistically displayed with close to natural colors and physiology. The chameleon that I landed on is so much fun, using a wide variety of colors that I've never had the opportunity to use, and it's going to be such a fun addition for the students and their collections.

The INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEO and PDF BUILDING INSTRUCTIONS will be available soon!

This kit was originally designed by Joss Woodyard, and was adapted for this program by Todd Merrifield.

The kit for the 2023 "Summer Sparks" program was:

The Apollo 11 Lander

With so many LEGO kits devoted to the wonderful tales of science fiction and adventure these days, I wanted to give the students a kit this year that would inspire them in the STEAM arena, but would also be based in our historical past -- our first real steps toward the stars.

The Apollo 11 Lander vehicle, Eagle, is a fantastic build, an amazing kit that allowed the students and myself to have a great discussion about the early days of the United States' space program, and the dedication of our astronauts to take great steps/leaps for our future.

This was a technically advanced and difficult build, but the students in the program rose to expectations!

The kits for the 2022-23 school year are as follows:

November 2022 - Native American History Month

I really wanted to do something setting-oriented for this year's Native American kit, and I found a wonderful series of settlement designs on the LEGO Ideas website by Padlix. Using their design (in images only) as my template, I created my own build of the Great Plains Teepee, and worked within the program budget to create a really beautiful kit that highlights the ingenuity of the great plains indians, as well as the decorative beauty that they put into homes.

The kit comes with three (3) minifigures representing the chief, his wife, and their grown child.

The INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEO for the build of this kit can be found HERE!

You can download the PDF BUILDING INSTRUCTIONS for the build of this kit HERE!

This kit was originally designed by Padlix for LEGO Ideas, and was adapted for this program by Todd Merrifield.

December 2022 - Christmas / Holiday Season

I grew up with nutcrackers around the house .. especially perched on the mantle above the fireplace. They stood guard over our living room, protecting our Christmas tree and all of the presents resting beneath it. And once in a while, we'd actually use one to crack open a nut and enjoy the delicious snack within. This LEGO kit is the perfect reflection of that memory, and even though I wouldn't recommend using it to crack any walnuts, it still has the swiveling jaw that makes a nutcracker so unique.

The INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEO for the build of this kit can be found HERE!

You can download the PDF BUILDING INSTRUCTIONS for the build of this kit HERE!

This kit was originally designed by Robiwan-Kenobi, and was adapted for this program by Todd Merrifield.

January 2023

I love adding mechanical, functional builds into the program each year, and this kit (originally developed by The LEGO Group) was the perfect fit for our January build.

It's a massive build with a good deal of complexity, but I know our students are up to the task. Taken step by step, it's a very straight-forward construction offering hours of fun after completion. The rollerball maze itself is very entertaining and requires a delicate touch and lots of laughter. With a centerpiece of the student's school mascot, it's also sure to bring some team spirit to the table!

The INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEOS for the build of this kit will be loaded soon!

You can download the PDF BUILDING INSTRUCTIONS for the GRANT build of this kit HERE!

You can download the PDF BUILDING INSTRUCTIONS for the NEWAYGO build of this kit HERE!

This kit was originally designed by The LEGO Group, and was adapted for this program by Todd Merrifield.

February 2023 - Valentine's Day

Due to global shipping delays, the February kit was unavailable for delivery to the students in this school year, so we will be delivering the Valentine's Day Heart of Chocolates in the 2023-24 school year.

March 2023 - Women's History Month

Several months ago, I was looking through the entries for LEGO Ideas, and I came across this wonderfully creative assembly of small apes by rfabermbl. I just couldn't believe how adorable the little figures were, and how well the parts were used to instill a truly organic feel to their shapes.

When I started looking for special women in history to build this month's kit around, it occurred to me that Jane Goodall would be a wonderful addition to this collection of small primates, and a few days later, this kit was created.

The INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEO for the build of this kit will be loaded soon!

You can download the PDF BUILDING INSTRUCTIONS for the build of this kit HERE!

This kit was originally designed by rfabermbl for LEGO Ideas, and was adapted for this program by Todd Merrifield.

April 2023 - Earth Day

To celebrate our beloved planet this year, I decided to focus on a part of our world that still holds the most mystery and complex variety of life -- our oceans. There is so much still to explore in the watery depths of our home, and if we're going to have any hope of keeping it alive, we need to be thinking about ways to keep our planet healthy -- the purpose of Earth Day.

This build is another wonderful example of the genius of Jason Allemann, and exhibits his kinetic exploration of LEGO with fantastic organic movement. The shark, which is our focal point, swims naturally when the crank is turned, and the thrill is real. Accompanied by some colorful crustaceans, this build is all about celebrating our water-based friends!

The INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEO for the build of this kit will be loaded soon!

You can download the PDF BUILDING INSTRUCTIONS for the build of this kit HERE!

This kit was originally designed by The LEGO Group, and was adapted for kinetic movement by Jason Allemann.

May 2023 - The Flip Walker

I wanted to add something to the line-up this year that would truly knock the kids' socks off, and with this build, I think I've found it!

Jason Allemann has outdone himself with this design! Building off of a toy he found from the 80s, he adapted the concept to LEGO, and after adding a Circuit Cube battery and motor, produced a walking model that can actually walk and climb up and down small slopes. The build includes some very special (and extremely hard to find) parts that will be new to the students, and the kit offers a brand new overall glimpse into a new phase of LEGO creativity.

To see a short video by Jason of the Flip Walker in action, click HERE.

The INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEO for the build of this kit will be loaded soon!

You can download the PDF BUILDING INSTRUCTIONS for the build of this kit HERE!

This kit was originally designed by Jason Allemann.

The kit for the 2022 "Summer Sparks" program was:

The Statue of Liberty

As we don't typically get a chance to do any kits that are July 4th/Independence Day-oriented, I thought it would be a lot of fun for the kids to build one of the most amazing technical builds I've seen come out of LEGO.

Most LEGO builds are a bottom-to-top, stacking process in which you work vertically through the build. While the Statue of Liberty kit (produced by The LEGO Group) does this in some respects, the majority of the actual statue build is quite different -- from the center out. A core of bricks with studs facing in all directions is completed first, and then the surface area of the statue is added in horizontal fashion in the five remaining directions (four sides, plus the top), completing Lady Liberty's gowns in flowing detail.

Even though this kit is a 16+ difficulty level, the students in the program did an amazing job!

The kit for the 2021-22 school year were as follows:

October 2021 - Halloween / Art Appreciation

I love the autumn, with its cool breezes and clear sky nights. And even though Vincent Van Gogh's famous painting "Starry Night" has nothing directly to do with the fall months or Halloween, I've always felt like the two went hand in hand, so I developed this kit. He was my favorite painter in my childhood -- his broad strokes of color inspired me, and it is a joy to translate those same tones into a LEGO presentation.

The easel that accompanies the painting will serve you well as you display your fine art build. And perhaps in the months to come, we'll look at working on another canvas to display on it.

The INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEO for the build of this kit can be found HERE!

You can download the PDF BUILDING INSTRUCTIONS for the build of this kit HERE!

This kit was designed by Todd Merrifield, specifically for this program.

November 2021 - American Indian / Alaska Native Heritage Month

The chief's headdress is a symbol of power and experience within the tribe. It not only marks the passage of years, but also the successful completion of trials that they have come up against and conquered. I've always loved the majesty of the headdress because every feather is earned, unlike so many other headpieces of royalty, etc.

This kit is a humble tribute to those leaders of tribes who have stood up for their people and their rights, who have lived and died in protection of their culture and the spirit of their people.

The INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEO for the build of this kit can be found HERE!

You can also download the PDF BUILDING INSTRUCTIONS for the build of this kit HERE!

This kit was designed by Todd Merrifield, specifically for this program.

January 2022 - National Braille Literacy Month

Using my past experience in the print industry, I thought it would be fun to show the kids what actual typsetting used to look like ... but using the braille alphabet instead. This kit employs the use of buildable letter blocks for each of the letters in the alphabet, along with a couple of punctuation marks, with which the students can build small statements on their tray. Once their "type is set", they can use the buildable crayon holder and create a "rubbing" of their phrase. This kit captures not only the essense of the build, but develops an understanding of both the past printing process, as well as a better understanding of the braille language.

PLUS, they can make fun secret messages that only their friends in the class will be able to decipher!

The INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEO for the build of this kit can be found HERE!

You can download the PDF BUILDING INSTRUCTIONS for the build of this kit HERE!

This kit was designed by Todd Merrifield, specifically for this program.

February 2022 - Black History Month

When typing "black inventors" into Google, the first response was Garrett Morgan, the creator of the three-light traffic light. I was shocked and excited to know that something so universal to our culture was developed by a black man, and wondered how many people out there knew this wonderful fact.

The INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEO will be loaded soon!

You can download the PDF BUILDING INSTRUCTIONS for the build of this kit HERE!

This kit was designed by Todd Merrifield, specifically for this program.

March 2022 - Women's History Month

Amelia Earhart's disappearance has always been intriguing to me. The notion that a woman trying to fly around the planet not only didn't make it, but disappeared somewhere over the ocean is a mystery that has people wondering what happened, even today! But Amelia's story didn't stop when she went missing -- in fact, she inspired the following generations of young women to work that much harder to make names for themselves in careers and positions that had typically been male-oriented before. She became an ideal of what a woman could do if she ignored convention and worked toward her goals.

I've always admired that "boat-rocker" spirit of hers, and wanted to design and dedicate a kit to honor her -- this is that kit. To my knowledge, her Lockheed Electra 10 has never been built in LEGO parts, so I hope you enjoy this novel approach to her tribute!

The INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEO will be loaded soon!

You can download the PDF BUILDING INSTRUCTIONS for the build of this kit HERE!

This kit was designed by Todd Merrifield, specifically for this program.

April 2022 - Earth Day

My family has been recycling for years -- doing our best to keep our carbon footprint as small as possible during these difficult days of garbage-dumping and massively polluted oceans. When I thought about what I could design that would help the students learn more about the necessary equipment and process it takes to process materials for recycling, I remembered seeing some videos online of huge grinding gears that could chew up entire vehicles, engines and all, and decided to develop a smaller-scale version that might be able to handle the random piece of unnecessary paper around the house.

The INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEO will be loaded soon!

You can download the PDF BUILDING INSTRUCTIONS for the build of this kit HERE!

This kit was designed by Todd Merrifield, specifically for this program.

March 2022 - Asian / Pacific American Heritage Month

I absolutely love the imagery and ancient customs of the peoples from Asia. Their use of color and form is mezmerizing and beautiful, and I feel that one of the most consistent forms of artwork comes in the form of mythological and spiritual dragons from the Far East.

This particular dragon is modeled after the Japanese dragons celebrated in Japan, but China, Viet Nam, Thailand, and Korea all have their own variants of the long serpentine creatures. The colors used emulate the vibrant tones of the silks that were traditionally used to showcase their artwork and offer bright glimpses into their cultures.

The INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEO will be loaded soon!

You can download the PDF BUILDING INSTRUCTIONS for the build of this kit HERE!

This kit was designed by Todd Merrifield, specifically for this program.

The kit for the 2021 "Summer Sparks" program was:

The Iron Giant

What better way to show the students how to create, from initial concept to the final build, than to use a beloved character from an outstanding movie?!

In this "Summer Sparks" program, we will be watching the Iron Giant movie, discussing the specifics of character creation and LEGO development, outlining the digital build of the kit, resourcing parts from all over the world, and finally building our massive iron buddy!

MANY thanks to the team at "Build Better Bricks" for allowing us to use the designs for this kit with the students in the program! We highly recommend you look through the catalog of kit instructions they have to offer (as we've built many of them) -- and if you're interested in purchasing one and resourcing the parts, we can help you find everything you need -- just give us a shout, and we'll quote the project for you!

The kits for the 2020-21 school year were as follows:





November 19, 2020 - Philanthropy Day

With this simple introductory kit, we want to show our supporters how much we appreciate everything they do to raise funds and awareness to our programs in the best interests of the students. This Hand and Heart kit is specifically designed with the logo of the Fremont Area Community Foundation, and it is our goal to teach every student how valuable and satisfying it can be to give to your community.

The INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEO for the build of this kit can be found HERE!

You can also download the PDF BUILDING INSTRUCTIONS for the build of this kit HERE!

This kit was designed by Todd Merrifield, specifically for this program.


November - American Indian / Alaska Native Heritage Month

What better way to inspire the creative minds of our students than to showcase the creative work of our American Indian heritage. The totem pole has been a long-recognized artform created by our indegenous tribes, and we thought that recreating the famous, Thunderbird, would be a fun challenge, and a beautiful build for the students.

The INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEO for the build of this kit can be found HERE!

You can also download the PDF BUILDING INSTRUCTIONS for the build of this kit HERE!

This kit was designed by Todd Merrifield, specifically for this program.

December - Holiday Season

There are so many festive holiday symbols, but as we've never seen a large-scale LEGO build of a Christmas Tree, we thought this would be the perfect opportunity to introduce this fun design.

The INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEO for the build of this kit can be found HERE!

You can also download the PDF BUILDING INSTRUCTIONS for the build of this kit HERE!

This kit was designed by Todd Merrifield, specifically for this program.

January 2021 - National Braille Literacy Month

Imagine having to read with your fingertips! This is something that blind people must learn if they want to continue enjoying the written word, and so the kit for this month is all about combining the functionality of LEGO parts with the fascinatingly tactile braille alphabet!

The INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEO for the build of this kit can be found HERE!

You can download the PDF BUILDING INSTRUCTIONS for the build of this kit HERE!

This kit was designed by Todd Merrifield, specifically for this program.

February 2021 - Black History Month

What better way to celebrate the civil rights movement and the ground-breaking actions of Rosa Parks than to build and display the seat on the bus which she refused to give up. With a removeable roof, this kit is a great reminder of the lengths that we have come (and the continued efforts we need to support) to encourage and promote racial equality in our country!

The INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEO for the build of this kit can be found HERE!

You can download the PDF BUILDING INSTRUCTIONS for the build of this kit HERE!

This kit was designed by Todd Merrifield, specifically for this program.





March 14 - Pi Day

Jason Allemann is the LEGO Master Builder that I chose to showcase this year -- his designs and builds are intricate and amazing, while still being "buildable" by the novice LEGO enthusiast. For Pi Day, March 14, we celebrate a little bit of math with our After School Builders by building a working combination lock safe. Can you guess what the combination will be?

The INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEO for the build of this kit can be found HERE!

You can download the PDF BUILDING INSTRUCTIONS for the build of this kit HERE!

This kit was designed by Jason Allemann, with specific modifications by Todd Merrifield for this program.





March 2021 - Women's History Month

In 1986, Christa McAuliffe became the first American civilian to join a Space Shuttle flight crew. She was a respected and loved teacher and was a wonderful example of strengths that women brought to the space program. Tragically, she perished with the rest of the crew when the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded just after launching. This kit commemorates her courage, strength, and devotion to women's progress.

I also created the small model of the Challenger's payload, a satellite entitled, "TDRS-B", which was also destroyed in the explosion.

The INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEO for the build of this kit can be found HERE!

You can download the PDF BUILDING INSTRUCTIONS for the build of this kit HERE!

This kit was originally designed by Master Builders with the LEGO Group. Specific modifications and additions have been designed by Todd Merrifield for this program.

April 22, 2021 - Earth Day Orrery

This model celebrates the wonder of our solar system -- our precious planet, its moon, and the sun we all orbit around together. Designed by the amazing Jason Allemann, this model is not only a wonder of LEGO design and ingenuity -- it's also a marvel of precision -- every movement and rotation is within 95% accuracy of the actual solar system physics.

Check out this video by Jason describing the movements and precision of this Master Builder: Jason Allemann's Orrery on YouTube.com

The INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEO for the build of this kit can be found HERE!

You can download the PDF BUILDING INSTRUCTIONS for the build of this kit HERE!

This kit was designed by Jason Allemann and adapted by Todd Merrifield specifically for this program.



April 4-10, 2021 - National Library Week

One of the most beautiful pieces of architecture in Grant is our public library, and I thought this would be a fantastic build for the Middle School Builders to tackle. With almost 2,000 pieces, it's our biggest build of the year, and will be a showpiece for any student who wants to show off their skills! Make sure to visit the real library during National Library Week and thank the wonderful staff for continuing to supply all of us active readers with new books to explore!

The INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEO for the build of this kit can be found HERE!

You can download the PDF BUILDING INSTRUCTIONS for the build of this kit HERE!

This kit was designed by Todd Merrifield, specifically for this program.








May 2021 - Brown vs. Board of Education

When we saw that the Brown v. BOE decision was to be celebrated in April, we immediately wanted to develop a kit that would symbolize racial equality within the classroom and our continued hope that ALL students, regardless of race, religion, orientations, etc., are given every opportunity to succeed. What we came up with is a set of bookends that will hopefully inspire our builders and those who see them on a bookshelf in the future.

The INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEO for the build of this kit can be found HERE!

You can download the PDF BUILDING INSTRUCTIONS for the build of this kit HERE!

This kit was designed by Todd Merrifield for this program.





May 2021 - The Kentucky Derby

One of the hardest things to achieve with LEGO bricks is to create something that looks and feels truly organic and Jason Allemann has done just that with his Kinetic Horse model. This kit is an amazing example of not only how fluid and organic the form of the model can be developed, but also how to animate it with movement that simulates that actual animal that it represents! Thankfully, all of the parts were available and we are able to offer this kit to our builders as the final kit of the 2020-2021 year!

The INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEO for the build of this kit can be found HERE!

You can download the PDF BUILDING INSTRUCTIONS for the build of this kit HERE!

This kit was designed by Jason Allemann and adapted by Todd Merrifield specifically for this program.

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Warning: The Happyakrz After School Builders program is intended for older children (4th through 8th grades) and includes small parts
that are small enough to choke a small child. Please be aware and store these parts away from small children.

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