LEGO® MRI Scanners donated to hospitals and medical practitioners to help children cope

Thousands of LEGO MRI Scanners have been donated through our partners to take away some of the worry and uncertainty that naturally comes with having a medical procedure for the first time.

Play before your procedure: enter the LEGO ® MRI scanner model

Anyone who’s ever had an MRI scan knows they’re not much fun. And for young children, they can be downright scary. How do you encourage a child to lie perfectly still in a noisy tunnel for long chunks of time? Hospitals often resort to anaesthesia. But what if they didn’t have to?

A team at Odense University Hospital and volunteer LEGO employees have teamed up to make MRIs more playful and less stressful. To do it, they’ve designed a LEGO brick model of an MRI scanner. By playing with it before their scans (guided by hospital staff), children get a feel for the room they’ll be in and the machine they’ll face. And, by putting a LEGO minifigure through the model scanner first, children can take control and learn what to expect at the same time.

"MRI Scanners are huge machines. They also make a lot of noise which can be very daunting for children. Our team have found that use of models such as the LEGO models has led to more positive, calm experiences for many children. This benefits the child, their family and also the quality of the MRI scan, which relies on the person being very still for up to an hour to work"
Ulla Jensen, Department of Radiology at Odense University Hospital

A child-centered focus

The LEGO MRI Scanner is developed with a child-centered focus and learning through play approach, which strengthens children’s skill development

There are so many things that the child needs to learn when going through a scan. The model is designed around the child’s perspective of a MRI treatment and is a means for clinicians to facilitate both role play and dialogue so that the child feels safe and can build confidence and resilience before the actual journey, in turn reducing stress and anxiety.

Play motivates the child's natural curiosity and openness to try new, sometimes difficult, experiences. Because play facilitates a safe and comfortable "training space" for real-life events and consequences, it is a powerful way for children to develop their social and emotional skills. 

We are working with partners to bring MRI Scanners to hospitals and health professionals

The MRI Scanners have been donated via our global partners to hospitals and health professionals that work with children in China, the UK, the U.S. & Europe. Currently, we are not accepting new partners into the programme. Check back to this page, where we will be announcing the learnings from the roll-out of the first round of MRI Scanners, just like any future availability will be announced in this space.

We’ve made videos to help use the LEGO MRI Scanner in a playful way

To support the use of the model, we've developed a programme that supports hospital staff in using the model in a playful way, reducing anxiety and building children's resilience


We already know play boosts resilience

Play is a natural way for children to develop their social and emotional skills. It helps children find moments of calm and control, no matter what’s happening around them.

The LEGO® MRI Scanner was designed to take away some of the worry and uncertainty that naturally comes with having a medical procedure for the first time. By swapping that uncertainty with a positive and playful way of learning about MRIs, we’re helping children build their confidence. It’s a great example of children using play to find their inner superhero when things get scary. And, in the process, it could even mean doctors can reduce the use of anaesthesia on children. So, as soon as we heard about the scanner models, we knew we had to get involved – and help hospitals test them out.

"I’ve seen first-hand how children have responded to the LEGO models: making them feel more relaxed and turning an often highly stressful experience into a positive, playful one."
Erik Ullerlund Staehr, Chemical Technician at The LEGO Group and volunteer of the project

Where did the idea come from?

In proof that great minds really do think alike, two medical teams actually had the same scanner idea – at almost exactly the same time! Luckily, they all agreed to work together. And so far, they’ve tested their models in hospitals in Denmark, Norway, the USA, China and the UK.

Big thanks for their inspiration and collaboration go to:

Mette Sorang Kjaer, Ulla Jensen and their team at Odense University Hospital, and LEGO volunteers, Erik Ullerlund Staehr who developed the idea in Denmark.

And …

Benjamin H Taragin, MD a paediatric radiologist at University Radiology Group in the US, Erik Ranschaert, a radiologist and advisor in AI for radiology in Belgium and Belgian LEGO artist, Dirk Denoyelle.


And a huge thank you to our LEGO volunteers, too

They’re building the LEGO® MRI Scanner right now. (If it takes a little longer for your model to arrive, please bear with us. We’re building as fast as we can!)


1. Who is the LEGO® MRI Scanner for?
2. How do you select the hospitals?
3. Is there teaching material for hospital staff to go with the LEGO® MRI Scanners?
4. Have you worked with a hospital team to develop the model and the teaching material?
5. Can we still receive the teaching material if we are not chosen?
6. Where can I register my interest for this project?

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