Parent’s, we all know Legos are lots of fun, and great for creativity, but did you know they are also exceptional for helping your kids develop life skills? Yes, it’s true! From helping a baby learn colors and counting, to enabling toddlers to improve their fine motor skills, Legos are the one toy that can do what few others can: blend fun with learning in just the right amount to keep kids engaged as they grow.
And that’s just a small sample of how they can help your kids. My Top 10 Ways That Legos are Educational for Your Child will show you all the ways your child can benefit from this toy. I’ll break down what they can do for various age groups and suggest ways you can use them, to get the most from this unique toy.
Why Kids Learn with Lego’s
Ask any doctor or teacher and they’ll tell you the same thing: kids learn best through play. Since they have short attention spans, and patience, play is the best way to introduce them to individual and social concepts. Which is why Legos are such a good learning tool.
Legos engage their natural curiosity, teaching them without them even realizing it. As they pick them up and figure out how to use them, they use all their senses. The also introduce kids to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) in a way they can easily relate to and enjoy.
The result? They retain what they learn and are eager to learn more, setting them up for a lifetime of knowledge while allowing creativity to blossom.
Legos Are Great for All Ages and Learning Levels
Legos can be used at all ages and learning stages. They have big blocks that are ideal for babies 9 months and up, allowing them to safely learn colors, shapes, and counting. Then there are more traditional sets for toddlers, and advanced sets, with lots of tiny pieces, for older kids, teens and even adults.
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Plus, these sets work great for kids with disabilities, autism, and other cognitive delays. Legos being used as the symbol for autism is no accident; they are an excellent tool and used often in autism therapy. They can be used to help strengthen core muscles and dexterity, introduce sensory children to textures and colors, and help build emotional and social skills, like sharing and taking turns.
The Top Ways Legos Are Educational for Kids
Here is how, and why, Legos are a fun educational tool for your kids:
1. Learning the Basics: Colors & Shapes
When kids play, they learn new skills while perfecting old ones. This is true at any age, from 3 months old into their teen years. Legos are a great way to introduce them to basic colors and shapes. The sets come in almost every color of the rainbow, so you can teach them primary colors when they’re young (think red, blue, yellow, and green) and more complex colors as they get older.
Plus, the bright colors are great for young kids, drawing their eye and stimulating their sense. For kids under 1 this is important, as it strengthens eye movement and helps with hand-eye coordination.
They also can teach kids about shapes. Legos come in varying sizes, from small to large, and unlike years ago, there are a myriad of shapes: square, rectangle, round, octagon. You can use them to show them and help them identify each shape. For toddlers, you can help them learn more complex shapes, and put together individual pieces to show how a square or rectangle is made.
2. Encourage Creativity
Legos are a great way to encourage creativity, showing how a child learns, reasons, and imagines. For starters, although every Lego set comes with building instructions, they can be used in a multitude of ways. Giving kids a bunch of Legos, with no pre-set instructions, excites them and allows them to figure out how to use them. Through trial and error, they will figure out how to fit them and make the things they see in their mind come to life.
Even with the instructions, a child’s imagination can still be engaged. They may follow instructions, but alter some parts, allowing their own interpretation and ideas to come through. They can show different ways to use a part, and may find more than 1 solution to a problem.
Most importantly, as they enter a world of fantasy, they become less conscious of their actions, eliminating inhibitions and self-consciousness. They aren’t overthinking, or trying to please anyone, just having fun and learning. For this reason, they are especially good for aiding kids with disabilities to tap into hidden skills and interact with others.
3. Improve & Develop Fine Motor Skills
Lego brick sizes and shapes, along with how they are put together, are excellent for developing fine motor skills and building strength. They need to learn how to hold the pieces, as well as twist, turn and manipulate them to fit together. By turning and twisting, they engage the muscles in their fingers, hands, and arms, making them stronger and more flexible.
This is important, as it leads to fluid dexterity and coordination, which is essential for handwriting, dressing independently, coloring, and crafting. For instance, when they push down to interlock pieces, they are developing the ability to apply pressure, which they need to make strong, legible pen strokes when they write.
They will be able to properly hold a pencil, fasten buttons and use scissors more easily, and with less resistance.
4. Encourages Sharing & Social Skills
In group play, Lego’s can introduce and foster good sportsmanship through sharing and help kids interact with one another. 2 kids may want the same piece, or there may be a group of kids that want to play with a limited amount at the same time. By taking turns, or trading pieces with someone, they learn the value of sharing and that being kind is often rewarded.
This also shows them the basic principles of friendship. By sharing, and working together, they begin to build not just structures, but friendships with other kids, and learn that there is strength in numbers.
5. Introduces Kids to ABC’s, 123’s & STEM
Legos are the ideal to show kids of all ages about their ABC’s, 123’s, and STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering). And they make STEM and Math fun, which is important. Many kids, girls in particular, find these subjects intimidating, and a bit boring. Lego eliminates that issue and makes them more receptive to these subjects. A kid who builds a working dinosaur, or car, is guaranteed to have interest, and want to learn more.
Some sets have moving, or mechanical parts, exposing them to science and technology. Who knows, it could ignite a passion to be an electrician when they get older. They learn how components work, together and alone, to create a spinning wheel or blinking lights on a car. They create tall, complex structures, teaching them basic engineering concepts that can spark a love of architecture.
Legos also make math, a concept they need for life, relatable. For young kids, simply counting bricks as they play makes numbers seem friendly. There are even Lego bricks with numbers on the side, so they can begin to recognize them by sight. As kids get older, they can add, subtract and more with Lego’s figuring out what pieces they need, how many, and why.
Reference from Scholastic
As far as ABC’s go, there are many Lego building blocks sets with the alphabet on them. Kids can learn and recognize all their letters, and you can also introduce the sounds each makes as they play with them. This prepares kids for pre-school and kindergarten, giving them a leg up on their education.
6. Learn to Reason & Problem Solve
When kids use Legos, they are introduced to concepts such as cause and effect, sequencing and problem solving. By reading and following instructions they begin to understand cause and effect: if they do things in a certain order, they will produce a certain result.
Also, if they deviate from the instructions, the results change. Having to figure out a new way to put the pieces together hones problem solving and makes them see there can be more than 1 answer to a problem. They figure out, on their own, what works, what doesn’t, and why. For example, a child may want to build a house with a flat roof, but not have the right pieces and end up building a pointed one.
They also, from looking at the directions, earn to compare and determine what pieces are needed and where they should go. This is great for sharpening cognitive skills.
7. The 3 P’s: Patience Persistence & Perseverance
When kids play with Legos, they learn the value of the 3 P’s: patience, persistence, and perseverance. Individual play can develop patience, as many kids may become frustrated when pieces don’t fit or go the way a child thinks they should. They must also learn to sort and find pieces, which can test patience and concentration.
By going through all the possible scenarios, they slowly learn to be more patient and realize being mad and giving up won’t get them the results they want. In a world of instant gratification, the building process shows them that it takes time to get good results. In other words, being persistent, sticking with something, will get results.
This is a good tactic for children with autism or a developmental delay. It makes their ability to wait stronger and shows them productive ways to work out frustrations.
8. Structure & Following Instructions is Learned
Creativity is great, but kids need to also learn that listening, and following instructions is a part of life. There are times it is important to do things a certain way, which they can understand by playing with Legos. Having them follow the instructions, from start to completion, for a set can show them this, and also provides them with structure.
In addition, along with learning patience, following instructions prepares them for school. Young kids often have a hard time in a classroom setting for the first time. If they are taught to listen as they build with Legos, it is a skill that will help them pay attention to the teacher and follow her instructions.
Children need to accept guidance and instruction, and these sets make them more receptive.
9. Develops Confidence & Individuality
As kids play, and discover talents, they become more confident. When they build a train, or create a house from their mind, they feel good about themselves and proud of what they can do. The will also take more risks, without fear of rejection or failure like Batman Movie LEGOs.
Through exploration with Legos, kids will find out what they are good at, and push their own boundaries as they try to see what else they can do. Unlike with schoolwork, they will not be concerned about trying and failing, making them more likely to succeed. No grades to achieve or judgments to worry about, making their skills blossom.
10. Teaches That Differences Are Okay
When using Legos, a kid might build something that looks different from the instructions, or the kids around him, which is a good thing. Differences are okay, and you can use Legos to point this out. From teaching them that a child with a disability is different, but the same, to showing that individuality is something to be proud of, they provide a great opportunity to show being different is a good thing.
My Top 10 Ways That Lego’s are Educational for Your Child shows just why these sets are so popular, and have been for so many years. Fun and educational, they can open up a whole new world for your children. They provide endless hours of entertainment, while showing them how to use their many untapped skills to reach their full potential. Young or old, this is a toy that can grow with them, and enjoyed for years to come.