Why kids (and grown-ups) should play with LEGO
LEGO were a major part of my childhood. I used to let my imagination run free and spend countless hours building complex landscapes and machines with LEGO blocks and characters. While my parents were none too happy with this lifestyle choice of mine, little did they (or even me, for that matter) know that I was actually greatly speeding up my cognitive development and paving the way for a proper, healthy adulthood!
So how does playing with colourful blocks and small plastic people help children develop their cognitive abilities? Turns out there are multiple ways LEGO can help with skill development:
Colour, size and shape recognition: by playing with the LEGO bricks of multiple shapes, sizes and colours, children can learn to differentiate between the various shapes and sizes from an early age. Picking through different blocks also helps them learn counting, sorting through different objects as well as recognizing patterns.
Logical reasoning: LEGO sets often come with detailed and complex instructions that need to be followed in order to complete the construction. Thus, playing with LEGO becomes more than just placing a few blocks together. It becomes a puzzle that needs to be solved with step-by-step logical reasoning and by either following the instructions or simply through trial and error, children can develop the part of their brain that deals with logic and rationality. Moreover, playing with LEGO also helps them with their hand eye coordination and motor skills.
Social skills: Playing with LEGO can be a great way for your toddler to make friends and develop social skills. Take your toddler out on a playdate and just let the kids lose themselves in the LEGO world. This will encourage them to work together in a team and share ideas on creating their own LEGO masterpieces. This is also a great way for the whole family to bond as well.
Creativity: A great thing about LEGO is that you can throw the instructions to the wind and build whatever you want to. You can let you imagination run absolutely free, and it is this aspect of LEGO that helps toddlers develop their creative thinking. By tinkering with different combinations, toddlers can create their very own imagination-land where everything's made of LEGO and anything is possible!
Self-confidence: By successfully constructing a LEGO set, children can feel a sense of accomplishment, and to their young minds, this feeling of accomplishment can be no less than that of making a revolutionary breakthrough in say, medical research. Going through a problem solving process helps them feel good about themselves and boosts their self-confidence.
Having said all that, it must also be mentioned that none of these factors mean anything to children- they'd just be happy to be able to play with the blocks. And perhaps that's where the true beauty of LEGO lies- after all, the best way to teach kids something is to not let them realize they're actually in the middle of a lesson!
So what are you waiting for? Go get LEGO sets for your kids & yourself. After all, your are never too old to not play with LEGO!