How to make a giant LEGO brick

Just 1 more week till Jammy's LEGO Ninjago party, and we are hard at work preparing for it. We've got the menu planned -- sushi, potstickers and candy sushi (plus ice cream and cake, of course!). We've got the party favors down. Tableware -- check. Now we're working on games and decor, starting with some giant LEGO bricks that will look super cool as decorations and as a pull-string pinata.

To make the LEGO brick in the photo above, start by wrapping a shoebox or other long cardboard box in craft paper. We used one of those CapriSun boxes that holds 10 drink pouches (it measures 11" x 6" x 3.5").

Then get 8 paper cups and cut them so that they're about 1" tall and 3" in diameter (note, these are the proportions that work for our box; you may need to adjust proportions to match the size of your box).

Don't forget to leave tabs at the bottom of the cups so you can attach them to the box.

Arrange the cups on top of your cardboard box in four rows and two columns, in the pattern of the classic 8-stud LEGO brick.

Tape the cups down. In the photo, we used blue painter's tape, but in hindsight I think the flesh-colored masking tape would have been better. Make sure the ends of the tape lay down very flat.

Paint over the whole thing with craft paint. You may need to do 2 or 3 coats of paint to fully cover the tape.

There you have it, a cool LEGO brick! You can make several to display around the birthday cake, or you could incorporate it into a game like Pass the Parcel. We plan to use this one as a pull-string pinata. We're going to cut a trapdoor on the bottom of the brick, then attach a string to the trapdoor so it opens up when you pull the string. Then we'll attach lots and lots of "fake" strings to the bottom, sticking them very loosely with tape so that when they're pulled, the strings will just fall off (i.e. only 1 string will actually open the trap door. Then we'll fill the pinata with candy and tape the door shut. It sure beats whacking a pinata with a bat (I've never seen a kid actually open up a pinata; usually it takes several grownups beating the pinata to a pulp), and sure beats paying $20 for something that will be demolished and thrown away!

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