FIRST LEGO® League Explore

Welcome to FIRST LEGO® League Explore!

FIRST LEGO League Explore is designed to inspire, excite and introduce kids ages 6 to 10 to the wonders of science, technology and engineering. Explore:

  • Teaches the benefits of teamwork;
  • Sparks initial interest in science and technology;
  • Introduces basic design skills through a hands-on approach with the familiarity and fun of LEGO building; and
  • Provides a culture of sharing and learning from others.


What are the basics of the season?

Children learn best when they construct something real. FIRST LEGO League Explore’s annual challenge asks teams to explore a real-world theme using an exclusive LEGO® Education Model as a starting point. From there, teams design their own models with LEGO® elements.

As they work, they learn basic engineering and programming skills with LEGO® Education Spike Essentials and apply those concepts to make their model move. Teams also document their work in an engineering notebook and share their journey through a team Show Me Poster.

Throughout their experience, teams operate under the FIRST LEGO League Explore Core Values, celebrating the FIRST philosophies of Gracious Professionalism® and Coopertition®. The season concludes in a non-competitive showcase/festival to publicly applaud the accomplishments of each team!

The bottom line? We have fun!
In the Greater Kansas City area, official showcases take place on select Saturdays scheduled between January and May. During these three-hour events each team presents its challenge research, Show Me Poster and LEGO model to FIRST LEGO League Explore reviewers. Presentations wrap up with a short question and answer period. Team building and often, robot action from the other FIRST programs, round out the morning. Finally, the event concludes with a fun awards and closing ceremony. In FIRST LEGO League Explore, everyone is a winner!

Check out our Calendar for our free “How to Start an FLL Explore Team” seminars.

How do I get my child on a team?

Any group can create a team: schools, home schools, community groups, churches or just some friends who wish to do something awesome. Technical experience is not required.

In 2018-19, 76 percent of FIRST LEGO League Explore (formerly FLL, Jr.) teams in the region were affiliated with an elementary school, with the remaining teams coming from groups of family/friends, homeschool groups or youth organizations.

We recommend checking with your local school to see if a team exists or if there is interest in starting one. You also can check with the high school FIRST team/s from your district, who sometimes mentor teams at other levels.

Some other options:

• Start your own team; no experience is needed. Local free seminars offered – see our Calendar.
• Volunteer at FIRST events to meet coaches and mentors
• Share the FIRST for Educators with your school to encourage formation of new teams
• Post on our Facebook Page and ask if coaches have openings

Because teams are structured in so many ways—from after-school programs to youth groups to parent-run teams—FIRST Kansas City cannot match individual children with existing teams or share team contact information.

What does it cost?

FIRST LEGO League Explore fees apply to a team of up to six members, not individual members. Costs typically include:

Yearly single team registration: $125.00
See FIRST’s national website for a detailed breakout of what’s included.

Yearly official Kansas City Regional Festival fee: $0.00

Startup Equipment: $319.95

Each team needs a FIRST LEGO League Explore Spike Essentials (used with a Bluetooth-enabled mobile device or laptop not included in listed cost). The set is a one-time purchase that can be used in subsequent years.

Optional costs:

  • Show Me poster supplies
  • Additional building elements
  • Team T-shirts
  • Snacks
  • Local travel to a Festival

What is the time commitment?

Number of meetings

Teams typically can complete the season challenge in 12 facilitated sessions outlined in the Team Meeting Guide and Engineering Notebook.

New teams may want to add a few meetings to introduce basic engineering and programming skills.

Teams may also include field trips as a part of their challenge research.


Teams may begin meeting as soon as the Challenge is released in early August. You can choose the timespan that works best for you; just make sure to allow enough time to complete the Challenge before the last Kansas City area Showcase/Festival in May.

Kansas City area Expos typically run 9 a.m. to noon on select Saturdays between January and May. You register for the Showcase/Festival that best suits your schedule.

What is the season timeframe?

May: FIRST LEGO League Explore registration opens.

Early August: Season Challenge details released.

August-January: Teams meet weekly over 12 weeks to complete the Challenge.

January-May: Teams attend a Showcase/Festival (offered on select Saturdays) to celebrate their accomplishments.

Where are the teams in the area?

You can search for FIRST LEGO League Explore teams in Kansas and in Missouri, with the option to sort by zip code.

Please note: Because FIRST LEGO League Explore teams top out at six students, starting your own team is often the easiest way to go.

How can schools or youth organizations participate?

Contact us for ideas to help you bring the FIRST LEGO League Explore program to your students. Use the form in the side bar to let us know you’re interested or contact our FIRST LEGO League Explore Partner Chrissy Chandler.

You’ll be surprised how simple and rewarding it is to bring this inspiring program to your school or organization.


Why should I start a team?

  • You get to pick the participants
  • You get to pick the meeting times and location
  • As coach, you become a role model
  • You get a ring-side seat to observe the creativeness of your team
  • You get to see the world through their eyes

What do I need to start a team?

  • Recruit 2 adult coaches (background checks must be completed to participate in a Showcase/Festival)
  • Recruit (minimum of 2, maximum of 6) children between the ages of 6 to 10. Children may be on only one team.
  • Register, order materials and pay for your team on the FIRST Inspires website.
  • Set up team meetings.
  • Register and participate in an official Showcase/Festival.
  • Find more details here.

What skills are required?

No special skills are needed! Adults act as team facilitator; the children teach themselves. Students develop skills through trial and error, sharing ideas with one another and researching the current year’s theme.

What is the team registration process?

Teams register using the dashboard on the FIRST Inspires website. Create an account here to access your dashboard.

One coach registers the team, but each coach needs their own FIRST account.

Site coordinators for schools or youth organizations can sign up as a Team Administrator to  register team(s) and then invite coaches to join the team.

Both coaches must complete the required screening and agree to the Youth Protection Program rules.

Purchaser/coach pays for registration fee and materials ordered.

Once payment is received, an official team number is issued.

What grants and team resources are available for starting a team?

KC STEM Alliance does not have ongoing funding for seasonal FIRST LEGO League Explore team grants. However, grant requests to serve under-represented students are considered on a case-by-case basis as Kansas City FIRST works toward the goal of giving every student in our metro the opportunity to participate in the full progression of FIRST programs.

If you have a proposal to start a new team in an under-represented area, contact us using the form on this page or by email. KC STEM Alliance has previously supported FIRST LEGO League Explore teams through Girl Scouts, the Ivanhoe Neighborhood Council and YMCA.

FIRST Kansas City’s Senior Mentor also can help with team visits, one-on-one assistance and locating resources, both technical and otherwise. Find their contact information here.

Who do I contact for additional support in starting a team?

Complete the “Have a Question or Comment” section of this page and check the “I want to form a team” box or contact our FIRST LEGO League Explore Partner Chrissy Chandler.

Also, a free seminar on “How to Start an FLL Explore Team” are held in August.  See our calendar for more information.

We look forward to helping you!