How Playing with LEGOs Helps Kids Learn
As parents, we do everything we can to prepare our children for the future with the right learning opportunities and experiences. We try to expose our kids to enriching activities that will support their ongoing learning, but all too often, these activities aren’t much fun and don’t encourage creative or imaginary play. Many parents and educators are finding that LEGOs–those beloved, floor-cluttering toys–are helping kids develop critical skills while having an awful lot of fun! Here are just a few of the many ways that playing with LEGOs helps kids learn:
Building Fine Motor Skills
For younger children, playing with LEGOs assists with fine motor skill development. They learn how to assemble and take apart the bricks, which come in varied shapes and sizes. During play, the small twists and turns of their hands, fingers, and arms build strength, coordination, and dexterity—key skills required for handwriting, crafts, and independent dressing.
Boosting Imagination and Creativity
Play is a child’s work and according to educators and and child development experts, it’s essential for developing imagination and creativity. Give a child some LEGOs and unstructured play time and you will help him ignite his imagination and expand his creativity. That pile of brightly colored plastic bricks may transform into a fortress, pirate ship, or a rocket that can blast off into space. Why are imagination and creativity so important? These abilities support social, language, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills.
Learning Without Fear of Failure
Playing with LEGOs helps kids learn to try new things and develop new skills without a fear of “doing it wrong” or failing. Their castle wall may fall because it’s stacked too high, or their skyscraper may not have turned out exactly how it was planned, but they can always start again. In the process, they are building confidence, developing spatial reasoning, and learning the mathematical concepts of symmetry, shape, and geometry. Playing with LEGOs truly provides endless opportunities to learn without fear of failure.
Developing STEM Skills
Experts agree that playing with LEGOs helps kids learn how to become innovative and imaginative thinkers. “When kids are building with blocks and LEGOs, they’re using spatial reasoning skills,” says Amy Shelton, a cognitive psychologist and director of research at the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth. Shelton has conducted several block play studies, where children were given a LEGO structure and asked to build a similar one. She discovered that kids who spend a lot of time playing with LEGOs are very deliberate in their movements and generally build from the ground up. While Shelton’s research continues, she says she’s certain that spatial skills learned through block play could soon be recognized as a factor in training tomorrow’s scientists, technologists, engineers, and mathematicians.
Summer Lego Programs in NH, MA, and VT
If you have a child who loves playing with LEGOs and want to encourage their STEM learning experiences, check out LEtGO Your Mind’s summer programs. Children ages 4 to 14 enjoy fun, challenging, and educationally enriching STEM programs using LEGO bricks, motors, elements in the areas of simple machines, robotics, stop motion animation, and programming Minecraft. Contact LEtGO Your Mind today to learn about a camp near you.