The many benefits of LEGO for early childhood development
LEGO has been working with educators since their inception to develop experiences in the classroom that bring learning concepts to life. Lego has always been so much more than just a toy but the educational benefits of playing with the colourful, multi-faceted bricks aren’t always 100% clear. Below are some of the key benefits of creating, configuring and crafting with Lego, but this is by no means an exhaustive list.
Lego promotes fine motor skills
Children practise dexterity as they connect Lego pieces of different sizes and shapes. This requires different amounts of pressure to assemble and becomes a wonderful exercise for little fingers which supports children in being able to control the pressure they apply while writing.
Lego encourages team work
Through playing with Lego children learn how to share and take turns. When working together on Lego construction, children have to agree on the general idea of their play – is it a castle, a boat or a spaceship? Children have to follow each other’s lead and begin to understand how different ideas can contribute and extend their play. Children also have to learn to negotiate roles and responsibilities in order to have an enjoyable social experience.
Lego improves creativity
Creativity is improved as children use various shapes, colours and sizes of Lego to construct intricate designs, be it a police station or a spacecraft traveling to the moon. Creativity and imagination is fostered when children have no limitations to what they can make. In this situation there is no right or wrong, so children can explore their creativity without the fear of failure.
Lego develops problem solving and mathematical thinking
Following instructions to assemble Lego also has a lot of benefits for children’s problem solving, focus and attention to detail. Ideas of symmetry, balance, shapes and sizes are explored during play with Lego. Children experience working with fractions when they observe how many small pieces can fit into a large piece and can begin to experiment with division.
Lego improves communication skills
Lego is a great way to relieve stress and engage in meaningful and joyful conversations. As children comment on their Lego creations, they develop important communication skills including the ability to explain ideas, describe their work, talk about the process and verbalise challenges that they had along the way.
Lego develops persistence
We’ve all watched a carefully constructed tower fall over. Lego teaches children the importance of persisting with a task to see your vision realised. Using Lego encourages children to have a go, take their time and to persevere. As fine motor skills improve, children can create more elaborate construction and follow complex designs.
Lego improves self-esteem
Connecting small pieces of Lego to create a final product that follows a child’s vision can be challenging. Achieving this task holds immense sense of satisfaction that is obvious in a child’s smile when they proudly show off their completed work. This has an immensely positive effect on a child’s self esteem.
Lego developing lateral thinking and planning skills
Following Lego instructions can be challenging. However, it does help children to develop planning skills as well as lateral thinking. When faced with an assembly problem, children have to retrace their steps and analyse their work in order to find parts that need fixing.
So LEGO play has far-reaching developmental benefits for kids, way more impactful than just fine motor coordination. And we can continue to benefit as adults. So play on!