Youngsters might not be able to visit an amusement park this summer, but they can build one.
For the first time this summer, youngsters can participate in a Hopkinton Lego Masters competition. In this inaugural event, Hopkinton youth and school employees’ children in pre-K through eighth grade are invited to create a Lego amusement park through the Hopkinton Lego Masters Contest.
With opportunities limited for kids who might otherwise attend camp or do other group activities this summer, Doug Scott, engineering and robotics teacher at Hopkinton High School, created this opportunity for students to do a group activity while still at home.
He developed the event as an answer to his own question: “How can I take some of the online experience [they’ve had] and provide an opportunity?” The competition will not replace in-person activity, he said, but provides “something positive for them to do.”
“It’s a nice way for kids to be creative,’’ he said, and an “opportunity for kids to focus on something that’s productive.”
Categories are judged by grade levels: pre-K and kindergarten, Grades 1-2, Grades 3-5 and Grades 6-8. Mentors will provide video response feedback and will judge and select winners for each grade-level bracket.
Participants are asked not to use kits, although pieces from kits are acceptable, and parental involvement is limited to pre-K and kindergarten students, Scott said.
One of the student judges, Tyler Rhodes, is a graduating senior who is headed to Virginia Tech University, where he plans to major in aerospace engineering. He jumped at the chance to judge the contest. “If I had had this opportunity as a kid, I would have done it,” he said.
As a judge, Rhodes said he is looking for “attention to detail.” He encourages participants to “add some intriguing aspects’’ to their creations, “something that stands out, is unique and catches your eye.”
Fellow judge Jahnavi Prudhivi, who will be a junior at HHS in the fall, chose to become involved “because it’s fascinating to see the products all of the students come up with,” she said. “It’s just amazing to see a person turning a bunch of individual pieces into something they envision.”
When the program ends, “I hope to see kids smile after seeing their final product,” she added.
Prudhivi hopes the competitors will be proud of their accomplishments and realize that “no matter what age you are, imagination still runs wild, and the most important part about that is you turn that imagination into reality even if it gets hard,” she said. “But you can only do that if you believe in yourself.”
Participants have until noon July 10 to complete their work. Final creations will be judged by Hopkinton High students who have volunteered their time.
When their work is complete, participants will submit a video showcasing their creations and the thought process behind them. Participants then will receive feedback from the student volunteers who have experience with Lego design.
The entry fee is a $5 minimum donation per child to benefit Hopkinton High School Business Professionals of America and Robotics clubs. Anyone wishing to donate more is welcome to do so, Scott said. A trophy and small Lego kit will be presented to the winner in each category.
Rhodes shares Scott’s viewpoint that this competition can fill time productively and educationally.
“This gives them something to do with their free time, because a lot of people have a lot of free time these days,” Rhodes said.
For more information and to register, visit tinyurl.com/hopkintonlego.