As a girl growing up I only remember boys playing with Legos. Maybe that is part of the reason I am not spatially intelligent. Well, I gotta blame it on something! These days I hardly see a child that has not played or built with Legos. Since there are a variety of sets available you can find a set that interests almost everyone. If you have not considered incorporating them into your school day, here are some benefits to giving your child the opportunity to use them as part of your lessons.
They build creativity. Students can create a variety of items to build from the blocks. They can use their imagination to design something new with the blocks and can play countless hours with their creations.
They help with following directions. How many times have you tried to build a piece of furniture and just wanted to throw all of it away because the directions were hard to follow? Building and playing with Legos helps children “see” the pieces and how each part is fitted together.
They foster cooperative play. Children have to learn to work together when building with Legos. I have heard many a conversation on finding just the right piece for the design the boys were building. Even when building a set, the builders can help each other find the necessary pieces.
They enhance fine motor skills. If you have a young child, they can begin with the larger set called Duplos and can graduate to the smaller sets as they get older. Fine motor skills are important in holding a pencil, typing on a keyboard, picking up insects for a bug collection. 🙂
They help teach money management and goal setting. Yes, you read that right. My boys wanted a certain Lego set and had to earn money or save their allowance and birthday money to purchase some of the sets. What a great way to teach your child about how to set a goal to purchase the desired set.
They help with mathematics. “How much money do you need in order to get that set?” was the question I asked when looking at the more expensive sets. This is a practical way of showing addition and subtraction to a child who is struggling to see how math applies to them. It also motivates them to practice those mathematical operations.
Benefits for Parents?
Yes, there are benefits to parents as well. Some serious, some not so serious.
They help motivate your student. You can use Lego time as a motivator to help a child complete a task such as creative writing or a science lesson. Reward them with a job completed and well done.
You can incorporate them into your school plans. If you are working on a history lesson why not have your children build a model? Yesterday I had a student present a model of the Parthenon he had made, complete with a removable roof to show how an earthquake destroyed part of it.
They help build self-control. I can’t tell you how many times I stepped on a block in my bare feet and wanted to grab up the offending pieces and hurl them violently in the garbage. I am sure you have wanted to do the same thing at one time or another, but the idea of a set not being complete and being wasteful of the money invested kept you from doing that.
They test your limits. If you are not careful, Legos can take over your house. This is where you either set limits to how many one person can have, or bless someone else with sets your child is no longer using .
They help you with organization. After you have all of these wonderful Lego pieces, you must decide how to organize them. Where do you keep the instruction manuals? Do you keep the pieces as individual sets or do you combine them? Do you organize according to color or function or size? Let your child help if s/he is old enough to do that.
They provide family time opportunities. How about if you join in the fun and assist your builder or sit next to them while they construct something? A lot of great memories happen around Lego building. 🙂
I think toys, like legos, are essential in child growth and development. I like that you mentioned that it can help improve their ability to cooperate with others. I agree, planning on what they would want to build and working together can enhance social skills. This really should be implemented into education systems for children.