We’re grateful to James Hirlehey of www.brickpals.com for writing this Guest Blog for WeLoveBricks. A lifelong LEGO fan and founder of NinjaBrick, the all-encompassing LEGO news site for fans of all ages the world over, James shares with us his insight into the reasons why LEGO is such a great educational toy for children.
Why LEGO is a Great Educational Toy for Kids
The first five-year ‘window of opportunity’ is crucial in your child’s development. All experiences, both good and bad, that the child is exposed to during this time influence the formation of the brain. Intellectual development prioritises many functions of the brain such as thinking, learning, awareness, judgment, and information processing. This is the point where LEGO plays an important role.
Try asking anyone who has experience of dealing with children and they will immediately tell you that the best way for children to learn is through play. This is because they have little patience and a short attention span. It is universally agreed that play is, therefore, the best way to introduce them to both individual and social concepts, so this is how LEGO is a good learning tool for your kids.
LEGO Enhances Creativity
A child’s creativity is encouraged through the use of various shapes, colors, and sizes of LEGO. A child’s creativity is fostered when children have no limitations on what they can make. An example of a set which encourages play is set 10697, which is a large creative box full of 1,500 assorted pieces. In this way, children who play with LEGO, develop the ability to explore their creativity without the fear of failure. It is all a case of trial and error for them.
LEGO Encourages Teamwork
The importance of sharing responsibilities impacts on children at an early age while interacting with each other and playing with LEGO. LEGO encourages children to formulate a general ideology on how to approach the construction at hand, follow each other’s lead, and decide on the best course of action in order to create their individual or combined masterpieces. Their roles and responsibilities are also deliberated at this point in time, hence a thoroughly enjoyable social experience.
LEGO Improves Communication Skills
The nonstop fun that comes with assembling LEGO sets also inspires joyful conversation. Children freely converse with each other as they comment on and criticize their various creations. Essential communication skills, such as the ability to identify and explain one’s ideas and the task at hand, describe the process and verbalise the obstacles they encounter along the way.
LEGO Develops Problem-Solving Skills
A new and unopened LEGO set is accompanied by assembly instructions within the packaging. It is through following these meticulously written instructions that children are able to learn much needed problem-solving skills which are needed throughout life. These skills include focusing on attention to detail, balance, shapes, and sizes as these all come into play for the successful assembling of a toy.
LEGO Develops Persistence
Observe a child’s reaction when his or her toys or pieces fall over: the child instinctively picks them up and try to build his project again. When children play with LEGO, they are encouraged to have a go and to take their time to persevere. Children learn the ability to create more elaborate and complex designs through persistence over the course of time. This is a virtue which impacts on them during their playtime.
LEGO Teaches that Diversity Acceptable
While playing with LEGO, a child may create a project that is different from that described in the included instructions, or the children around him. This is not a bad thing as they will later learn in life. Diversity is acceptable, and LEGO is a means of emphasising this. Children do not need to have the same ideas and make the same decisions as each other in order to be right. This lesson teaches them that individuality is something that they should be proud of.
LEGO Enhances Mathematical Understanding
While playing with LEGO, children enhance their mathematical understanding. Mathematical factors such as quantity, symmetry, patterns, addition, and subtraction are subtopics that emerge during play. When a limited number of pieces is given to a child to complete a project, they learn that each individual piece counts. They develop an understanding that every brick and piece is valuable.
LEGO Aids in the Promotion of Fine Motor Skills
Children practice efficiency as they connect different sizes and shapes of LEGO pieces. The pressure involved in assembling becomes a positive exercise for the young ones. This trains children in controlling the pressure that they apply while writing.
LEGO Develops Confidence and Individuality
The excitement on a child’s face upon the successful construction of a LEGO model says it all. Children discover hidden talents and gain confidence in their capabilities as they play. They push their own boundaries trying to decipher what else they have the skills to do. The concern of failure is eliminated during this time, increasing their success rates.
LEGO Develops Planning and Literal Thinking Skills
When faced with an assembly problem, children retrace their steps and analyze their work in order to find the areas that need reworking. This helps them to develop proper planning skills as well as good literal thinking.
LEGO Enhances Understanding of Instructions
LEGO sets come with instructions to be followed when assembling a project. To successfully create a project out of LEGO, the child needs to understand the instructions and be able to implement them at a later point in time. This enhances their understanding and their ability to follow instructions.
Children can be delicate and choosy with the kind of information and learning they absorb. Strictly basing their education in the classroom can, therefore, be monotonous. To maximise their understanding and ability, a little fun should be included as motivation. Fortunately, LEGO does just that!