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Four Ways Playing With LEGO Sets Grows Your Child’s Learning Mind

by Margaret Eilers

LEGO sets have been around for so long that most people probably don’t know why they’re such a good toy for children. And yet, kids – and adults – love playing with and building them. Not only are they fun to play with, with many sets centred around popular franchises, they also promote math, logic, and spatial skills. The next time you’re buying a LEGO set for your child, remember that you’re buying them for the following four reasons:

1. LEGO Builds Social Skills 

LEGO blocks facilitate what is called construction play. Construction play includes any toy that comes in pieces that need to be constructed into one thing – like a model plane, a puzzle, or a dollhouse. The enjoyment comes not only from playing with the finished product, but also the process of building it, and the sense of accomplishment that’s felt when it’s completed. But how does LEGO build social skills in children? With collaboration and pretend play.

When children gather around a table to complete a project, they each fall into their own roles. One will keep an eye on the process and what needs to happen first, second and third – that’s the engineer role. Others will gather and sort similar pieces together – that’s supplies and logistics – and others still, will do the building.

Although it’s less fun putting real-life, adult terminology to children’s play, children in this setting will quickly learn who has what role, and how to move forward in a social environment with this information on hand. Basically, construction play teaches them how to work together to build something that was once in pieces, and is now an impressive, single construction.

As children build LEGO together, they’re learning how to be social with each other. By sharing, letting peers have a turn to build, and giving others a chance to speak while everyone else listens, they’re learning valuable social skills that they’ll use into adulthood. And when the LEGO set is complete, they’ll continue their collaboration with pretend play. They’ll still learn social skills, except it’ll be through the eyes of an evil sorcerer negotiating his terms with the brave knight who’s set out to stop him and save the princess.

2. Building And Construction Play Builds Spatial Skills 

Have you ever watched your children play with LEGO blocks? Their little, chubby fingers are trying to manipulate each brick. They’re determining the size and shape of them and how they fit together with others. It’s called spatial reasoning or spatial skills. They’re the same skills you use to determine whether your car will fit in a parking bay, or whether two objects are the same size. Therefore, it’s another skill that you use throughout life, which children learn from playing with LEGO.

Spatial reasoning is used a lot in the scientific, engineering, art, architecture, and technology professions, so buying LEGO sets for your children might be building essential, foundational skills for their future careers. In the classroom, these skills are nurtured with hand-on activities, but nothing is stopping you from starting early with a LEGO set – especially if your children enjoy them.

3. LEGO Promotes Mathematics Skills 

For a few years now, researchers have been noticing that playing LEGO bricks are linked to developing mathematics. In fact, it’s been seen that children around the age of 10 who spend their free time doing construction play struggle less with math word problems. Some people believe that these children have a natural, intrinsic ability when it comes to math and building and that playing with LEGO just motivates and promotes improvement in these skills.

For children who struggle with math, teachers have found that LEGO bricks are an excellent tool for explaining mathematical concepts such as addition and subtraction, multiplication and division, patterns, sequences, and fractions. Even children who don’t enjoy learning will benefit from using LEGO bricks as a learning tool. The content might be boring to them, but learning through playtime has consistently proven to be more beneficial.

4. LEGO Nurtures Engineering Skills 

When a child is playing with LEGO bricks, either playing with blocks or building a complicated set, they’re actually doing engineering. They’re considering structures, shapes, and structural integrity. They’re seeing many little parts, and manipulating them to be built into something bigger.

Even if your toddler enjoys knocking towers of LEGO down, they’re learning about gravity! With LEGO, everything can be a teachable moment. Make learning with your child fun and adventurous, as skyscrapers rise from the carpet, and castles fall to the ground. LEGO sets are the best educational toy that you could get for your child as they learn mathematical concepts, nurture innate abilities, and have fun at the same time.