Parents around the world rejoice! Those painful barefoot incidents with stray Lego bricks can finally be accredited to a good cause. Lego in all its glorious colour and shape combinations helps people learn important life skills.
Regular lego play has been proven to stimulate creativity and promote experimentation, facilitate teamwork and social skills, improve spatial awareness and concentration, as well as offer the building blocks to simple math and engineering concepts. Lego is far more than simple kids play, it’s an evolution of learning that starts with one simple brick at a time.
Table of Contents
1. Stimulates Creativity and Experimentation
By far one of the most pleasurable aspects of watching children play with lego is experiencing their creative ideas flourish. Lego is highly stimulating creatively and the simple yet formulaic structure of Lego bricks allows for almost endless creative solutions. Children actively experiment and find new ways to solve puzzles and are only limited by their own creativity.
2. Teamwork and Social Skills
Lego is an excellent team activity and kids learn valuable teamwork and social skills when playing with Lego in groups. Lego created the Lego Brick Buddies program where children work and collaborate together on Lego projects.
Each child is given a role (builder, designer, manager, supplier) and works collectively on set tasks. This encourages sharing, social contact, positive reinforcement, and other benefits that help with teamwork.
Group lego play encourages collaboration and team-based problem solving too.
“You find the red brick and I’ll find the yellow Brick”
“I can’t find this piece, can you help me?”
“What other bricks do we need?”
“Who wants to help build a bridge?”
3. Communication and Language skills
Building projects with Lego in a group environment is an excellent way for children to learn important communication and language skills. Children need to communicate instructions and understand the values of what is being requested when collaborating and playing lego in groups, improving their language skills along the way.
Lego play can also encourage dramatic storytelling and theme building which helps children to express their creativity.
4. Problem Solving and Improved Concentration
Lego pieces are essentially puzzles that can be accomplished in a variety of ways. They are an engaging way for children to learn how to solve problems and require dedicated concentration.
From associating colors and brick shapes to understanding specialized brick arrangements required to “solve” a lego task during play, lego puzzles are incredibly diverse and also stimulate a child’s imagination and problem-solving skills to reach a certain goal.
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5. Stimulates Basic Mathematics
Lego literally offers children the building blocks for a better understanding of simple mathematical concepts. Concepts like volume, geometry, symmetry, and pattern recognition are all found in Lego play.
As the Lego projects become more complex, so too do these core principles, with larger projects requiring larger volumes of bricks, offering more complex patterns, and being able to form more complex and asymmetrical shapes.
Here are just a few examples of simple math equations found in Lego:
- One red brick, one blue brick, two yellow bricks
- One tall red brick, one short blue brick, one L-Shaped yellow brick
- Red, yellow, yellow, red, yellow, yellow, red
- A red square brick, a blue rectangle brick, a yellow cylinder
6. Stimulates Engineering Skills
It’s not only maths that gets a boost from Lego play; kids who regularly tackle Lego puzzles are also tuning their engineering knowledge. Bridge-building, platform making and building aeroplanes and cars are all keys to understanding basic engineering principles that can easily be expanded as your child develops.
As a Child’s skill develops with Lego puzzle-solving, the sets become more complex, often introducing more advanced engineering concepts for older age groups. Lego Technic sets often build motors with functioning pistons, gearboxes and functional differential axles. By the time an experienced Lego player reaches adulthood, they’re building Lamborghini’s!
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7. Improves Spatial Awareness
Lego is well-known for improving spatial awareness and encouraging spatial thinking amongst children. This heightened spatial awareness in children leads to a number of other benefits such as improved cognition, street awareness and safety during daily activities, as well as supporting academic achievement.
Children who regularly play with Lego build a spatial vocabulary faster, are able to comprehend maps and also understand other spatial concepts that are used in early mathematics classes.
8. Physical Development (Motor Skills, Coordination)
Another important life skill that goes hand-in-hand with Lego play is improved physical development. At an early level, Duplo blocks encourage babies to grasp blocks and place them into the enlarged grooves of other blocks.
This concept advances with smaller Lego bricks while adding more complex shapes and objects to grasp. This creates important synapses in the brain that promote hand-eye coordination and improve fine motor skills. Frequent Lego play improves muscle definition in the hands and wrists and helps children with writing later once they reach school age.
9. Perseverance and Management of Frustrations
Another incredibly important skill learnt during Lego play is Lego requires concentration and dedication to a specific task. Whether it’s finding that pesky blue brick in a giant stack of coloured bricks or understanding that a puzzle can only be assembled in a specific order (build the car body and axles before adding the wheels), Lego implores perseverance.
While this dedicated training of perseverance to not give up does not come easily for many children, it provides ample opportunity to manage frustrations and find peace with the task at hand, no matter how daunting it may be.
Lego helps kids manage these frustrations and as a bonus, it also promotes lateral thinking and gives a confidence boost after successfully overcoming a Lego building ‘block’.
10. Lowering Anxiety and Stress
Over time, consistent play with Lego helps kids manage their anxiety and stress by providing distraction and diverting concentration to simple tasks (finding bricks, sorting, counting colours). These small but important distractions build self-confidence and have been found to lower stress and anxiety.
It’s no secret that Lego play is a stress-relieving activity, Lego has also recently released Lego Forma sets, which are specifically designed to aid stress reduction and lower anxiety levels.
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Quiet minds busy at play is an excellent sign of a child who is focused and concentrating on completing a puzzle or task. Lego provides this level of stimulation and more. As Lego sets advance through age groups, they become increasingly more complex and slowly require multiple sessions to complete a task with the aid of instructions.
This trains children (and adults!) to have patience and forms a deep-rooted understanding that a puzzle often cannot be completed in a day (although many will obviously try!).
Of course, one of the most beneficial skills that develop with Lego play is building self-confidence. Children can choose to follow the instructions or build freestyle and both provide excellent creative stimulation which aids confidence.
During a Lego play session, there is no wrong way and happy accidents when Lego building is all part of the fun. Kids will show off their newly-designed Lego contraptions and this is a great example of seeking and earning positive reinforcement. Once the Lego puzzle is complete, they again receive a much-needed confidence boost and yield a strong sense of accomplishment!
Many parents have quickly discovered the many wonderful advantages offered in developing important life and learning skills associated with Lego play. Kids learn important communication and team building skills, learn maths and engineering concepts, build self-confidence and refine focus and concentration on the task at hand.
Lego has even been found to reduce stress and anxiety in kids and adults too, further illustrating that Lego is more than merely kids’ play toys.