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Lego Master Builders called to Udall Rec Center

Tucson Parks and Recreation holding Lego Master Builder Competitions for kids 5-18 until the end of June
Little Lego People
Posted at 6:22 AM, Apr 23, 2024

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — At the Udall Recreation Center on the Eastside, tens of thousands of Lego blocks blanketed a semicircle of folding tables.

They're set up for a Lego Master Builder event by Tucson Parks and Rec.

Those blocks were donated by Michael Monka who runs the Lego Master Builder events. He wanted to get kids off screens and into a creative community.

"I saw Fortnite and a few other video games that brought Legos to the world," he said. "I figured this seemed like a great time to try to bring the kids off the tablets and into the facilities to build something new and fun for them.”

The goal of the competition is to build a working car out of Legos that can make it down a ramp— that's above some of the kids' heads— without exploding into tiny pieces.

That isn't too much of a challenge for Ezra Grijalva. He recently turned 10 years old, but he's been building with the little plastic blocks since he was five.

"I’ve been watching shows about Master building and I was amazed like what they were doing with them," he said. "I really wanted to be in a Lego master show and I’ve been working on Legos to practice.”

His car went down the ramp without a hitch, and the little people inside stayed seated for the entire ride.

With summer just a few weeks away, some parents—like Ezra's father, Christopher Grijalva— see challenging, free, indoor activities as important for keeping their kids occupied.

"It’s great because you want to take them to the park but like it’s so hot," he said. He and his family were at the Udall park before coming to this event.

"They have the splash pad which is good but they’re so small. And then it’s only getting wet. What’s to help you activate the mind, the thought process?”

Monka said that he'd be holding at least four more Builder events every two weeks until the end of June. All events will be free to attend with no registration required at the Udall Recreation Center.

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Alex Dowd is a multimedia journalist at KGUN 9, where her work combines her two favorite hobbies: talking to new people and learning about the community around her. Her goal is to eventually meet every single person in Tucson. Share your story ideas with Alex via email, alex.dowd@kgun9.com, or connecting on Instagram or X.