Lego un­leashes Michael’s cre­ativ­ity

Matamata Chronicle - - Your Paper, Your Place - ABBY BROWN

Michael Ma­gato­gia’s mum Me­lanie Boeck is a big ad­vo­cate for Lego.

‘‘I would bring out the Lego and this toy would fa­cil­i­tate speech and lan­guage ther­apy for my son,’’ she said.

It also helped him win the Mata­mata re­gion of the Na­tional Lego Build­ing Com­pe­ti­tion re­cently.

Michael started play­ing Lego when he got his first set at age three.

‘‘He would make space­ships and then we would pre­tend-play; ‘Whooooosh! I’m a space­ship’,’’ Boeck said as she mim­icked and de­scribed her son’s sounds and ac­tions.

From that ono­matopoeia, their con­ver­sa­tions evolved into dis­cussing the dif­fer­ent parts of the space­ship, and role-plays.

Michael’s first Lego set was of a space­ship.

Me­lanie con­nected Michael’s love of space­ships and fly­ing ob­jects with her life-long love of Star Wars.

‘‘Not only did the Lego help my son want to speak- to com­mu­ni­cate his pas­sion for this toy, and space and space­ships and char­ac­ters – it also helped him cre­ate di­a­logue.

‘‘He was pre­tend­ing to be Luke Sky­walker – a jedi on a mis­sion to save the gal­axy and it was so amaz­ing.’’

As well as us­ing Lego as part of Michael’s speech ther­apy, build­ing those space­ships also helped his fine mo­tor skills.

Boeck, who lives in Ro­torua, was such a fan of the build­ing blocks that she has driven to Mata­mata sev­eral times to en­sure that her son could en­ter the Na­tional Lego Build­ing Com­pe­ti­tion, which is run by Toy­world. Mata­mata Pa­per Plus have a Toy­world sec­tion.

The Toy­world in Ro­torua has been closed for sev­eral years.

Boeck and Michael came to Mata­mata again on June 8 to col­lect his prize for win­ning the Mata­mata re­gion of the com­pe­ti­tion.

The na­tional cham­pion of the Na­tional Lego Build­ing Com­pe­ti­tion gets to go to Le­goland in Malaysia, which Michael’s win­ning re­gional dis­play was a Lego replica of.

Boeck will take Michael to Le­goland in Ana­heim in Cal­i­for­nia later this year on the way to visit Boeck’s home coun­try of Canada.

Michael won his first Lego com­pe­ti­tion in Auck­land in 2014; he was the com­pe­ti­tion’s Un­der 6’s cham­pion at only age four.

PHOTO: ABBY BROWN

Win­ning the Mata­mata re­gion of the Na­tional Lego Build­ing Com­pe­ti­tion gained Michael Ma­gato­gia and his mum Me­lanie Boeck $100 worth of free Lego from Mata­mata PaperPlus, which is owned by Graeme Guil­ford.

Star Wars Lego is a favourite for Michael.

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