Lego is a diverse and versatile activity for children. It can be used with instructions to develop processing skills, or it can be used for imaginative play and build whatever you want! It provides a plethora of benefits from fine motor skills to social interaction skills. But most importantly, it is a fun and strengths-based activity where children can either develop new skills or build on existing skills.
Fine motor skill development – pincer grip, manipulation, grip strength
Connecting pieces of Lego requires precision and coordination, which assists children to develop and strengthen their fine motor skills. Lego is made for children of all ages, so Lego Duplo (larger Lego pieces) is great for skill development in the beginning, while more complex Lego sets continue challenging and teaching fine technique as your children grow
Processing skills - Problem solving, planning, and sequencing, visual motor integration
Playing with Lego teaches children to recognise problems before they occur and use their problem-solving skills to avoid Lego ‘disasters’. Following instructions can promote development of visual motor integration skills, planning and sequencing. Figuring out how to fix an unstable Lego structure can develop problem solving skills which will be quite a worthwhile learning process.
Creativity and imaginative thinking
Creativity is the ability to come up with ideas that are new, surprising, and valuable - and it’s an essential 21st century skill. Systematic creativity is a particular form of creativity that combines logic and reasoning with playfulness and imagination. Free play is how children develop their imagination – the foundation for creativity. Curiosity asks WHY and imagines possible explanations. Playfulness asks WHAT IF and imagines how the ordinary becomes extraordinary, fantasy or fiction. When playing with Lego, your creativity is only limited by your own imagination! Lego gives children the opportunity to let their imagination run wild and explore their creativity. Children will also discover what they are able to create when they can play without restraint.
Learning is about being curious, experimenting and collaborating – expanding our thinking and doing, helping us develop new insights and new skills. We learn through play by putting things together, taking them apart and putting them together in different ways. Building, un-building, rebuilding, thereby creating new things and developing new ways of thinking about ourselves, and the world. Playing with Lego teaches children to recognise problems before they occur and use their problem-solving skills to avoid Lego ‘disasters’. Following instructions and figuring out how to fix an unstable Lego structure can be quite a worthwhile learning process.
Resilience and perseverance
Everyone has experienced the trauma that follows the accidental destruction of a carefully constructed Lego tower… Initially the effects of this are often devastating, however, encouraging children to start again and not give up will build their resilience and teach them to persevere when unfortunate situations occur which can be beneficial in later years! This can also provide opportunities for recognition of emotional states and providing strategies for emotional regulation.
Social interaction skills
Like most things, playing with Lego is always more fun with your friends! Children who play with Lego together learn how to share with others from an early age. Likewise, playing with Lego also teaches children basic teamwork and communication skills when working together to achieve a common goal. Studies have shown that Lego benefits children with social competence which is generalisable beyond therapy setting which leads to social adaptation within their communities. So, make sure you pack that bucket of Lego on your child’s next play date!
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