Playing with LEGOs and Child Development

Featured image of baby playing with legos on floor

We’re all aware that LEGOs are a lot of fun, and it’s not hard to figure out that they are great for developing creativity as well, but does it end there? Not by a long shot! These fantastic little blocks will help your kid learn to count, teach them about colors, as well as improve their hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. If there ever was a perfect blend of fun and learning, with just the right amount of both, LEGOs are it. In this article, we’ll try to break down what LEGOs can do for different age groups, as well as suggest ways you can use them to get the most in terms of fun and development.

Why LEGOs are a great learning tool

If you’ve been reading this website for a while, you know where we stand in terms of learning through play, but just to reiterate – we think it’s the best! Since kids don’t have a lot of patience, and their attention spans can be compared to those of goldfish, to introduce them to new concepts, both individual and social, you have to get creative, and that means using play. LEGOs fit perfectly into this philosophy for a couple of reasons – they spark kids’ natural curiosity and teach through play, in a way that kids don’t even realize they are learning. This results in more efficient retention and an eagerness to learn more, which sets your kid up for success throughout their life.

The best thing about LEGOs is that they are equally great for all ages and stages of learning. There are the traditional blocks that we all know and love, but there are also big blocks for small children, as well as advanced sets for older kids and adults. LEGOs are also often used in autism therapy, and they have become somewhat of a symbol for autistic kids over the years, and no wonder – they help develop social and emotional skills through taking turns and sharing, but also introduce textures and colors on top of enhancing dexterity and strength in the fingers.

Image of toddler playing with lego globe

The basics

Through play, kids perfect their old skills and learn new ones. This is the case whether they are 6 months old or way into their teens. A great way to get them started on that learning process the right way is LEGOs. They will introduce your kid to basic shapes and colors since the sets come in pretty much any color of the rainbow (blue, yellow, red and green).

You can teach them these primary colors when they are young, and build on that by teaching the more complex ones as they get older. Additionally, bright colors like this stimulate young kids’ sense of sight by drawing their attention – this is especially important for kids under 1 because it strengthens their hand-eye coordination and helps with eye movement.

When it comes to shapes, the story is not much different. If you can think of a form, chances are there’s a LEGO piece shaped like that. The pieces also cover a range of sizes for different age ranges. This helps teach your kids all about different shapes, both simple and complex, as well as how those shapes can fit together to create something more significant.

Creativity

When it comes to developing creativity, few toys can compare to LEGOs, and that’s no secret. Even though almost every set comes with building instructions, those will get thrown out the window pretty quickly, and these sets will be used in all kinds of ways. You can speed up the process by not showing your kid the instructions in the first place, and just giving them a pile of LEGOs instead. This will allow your kid to figure out different ways to use the pieces, giving you a look into their mind and imagination.  It might take some time, but eventually, through trial and error, they will be able to make the images from their mind come to life.

Getting rid of instructions may not always be helpful, however, since certain children tend to be more engaged when they have a clear idea of what they should be doing. Also, using instructions doesn’t mean that your kid’s imagination is entirely out of the picture. They may want to follow the prescribed way of doing the general build but feel like altering some details to fit their own ideas and interpretation. They may use a particular part differently than it was meant to be used or find multiple solutions to a single problem.

Most importantly, what you want to look for as a parent, is your kid going into the so-called ‘flow-state’ – a state of mind in which they are less inhibited, less self-conscious and more focused and confident of their own ability. They are not building to please anyone, or overthinking their creations, but instead trying to have fun and enjoy the ride. This is why LEGOs are perfect for helping kids with disabilities or merely allowing any kid to tap into their hidden skills and creativity.

Image of boy playing with legos

Motor skills

The way LEGO bricks are designed, meaning their shapes and sizes as well as the way they are connected to create larger structures, makes them perfect for building strength and developing fine motor skills. Your kid will need to learn to manipulate the pieces to make them fit and stick together. By twisting, turning and connecting the bricks, muscles in their arms, hands, and fingers will be engaged, making them more flexible and ultimately stronger.

This leads to coordination and seamless dexterity, which will play a significant role in coloring, crafting and tying their own shoes. The ability to apply pressure, for example, will also be an essential component in having clear and legible handwriting. They will be able to fasten buttons more efficiently, use scissors more safely and properly hold a pencil without feeling awkward.

The bottom line is that LEGOs have been so popular for so many years for a reason. They are educational and fun and have the potential to open your child up to a whole new world of possibilities. They can provide entertainment for hours on end while allowing your kid to turn their untapped potential into clear and noticeable skills.

Author: Mary Lynn Holden
Author: Mary Lynn Holden

Proud mom and stepmom to an adorable bunch of kids aged 7 and up. Deeply appreciates three things in life: the help of older siblings in the house, texts on parenting, and strong coffee. Shares her stories and experiences in order to help others navigate the unpredictable waters of parenting.

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