Not long after their 85 year anniversary I’m having a look into how Lego can impact on early learners, the question being; does the creative block assembling game really help with child development?
In 1932 did Ole Kirk Kristiansen, a carpenter from Denmark, know of the influence on the future his first wooden Lego toy would have?
From my research I have found that multiple new skills are developed by children whilst building with the miniature blocks.
One clear example being creativity, the ability to use your imagination by constructing a vehicle, a building and now-a-days even a working robot.
By getting this part of the brain working at such a young age it helps with countless things in the future, like something as simple as being able to dress themselves independently.
Another key skill LEGO helps ignite in youngsters is Distraction. When something helps take our minds off one thing and on to another.
Whether it be a distraction from school or potential problems at home, Lego offers a child a place to escape – to their imagination. This closely links to the idea of creativity outlined above.
The child can get away from all external influences and ‘lose themselves’ in the world of Lego, as a vet treating dogs, or a firefighter tackling fires.
Whatever their quick learning minds can think of, Lego offers them a distraction from everything else through play!
With social media constantly growing, I believe this aspect of being able to ignore possible negatives things and focus on something else is a great attribute to have.
Another thing this helps with is English in school. I myself enjoyed creative writing and also English Literature, dissecting poems and using your imagination to bring them to life!
You may think play surely can’t help with all these life skills, but if you dig deeper into how much thinking children invest into simply placing one rectangle on top of another you begin to realise they are unlocking parts of their brain they have never used.
Personally, as a child, I would always keep my Lego builds symmetrical. This is the first memory I have of wanting something to look ‘good’, it always added to the fun. This makes me think Lego actually helps develop a sense of aesthetic appreciation.
The ability to appreciate excellence and beauty is an aspect we use every day! For instance, when deciding on what outfit to wear.
Another admirable skill I believe Lego may ignite in children is a drive for success, with that ‘want’ of the Lego builds to be pleasing to the eye as well as appreciable. Whether it be to do well on sports day, in exams, or to smash an interview, a drive for success can only been seen in a good light.
Both of these skills are amazing attributes to have, not only as a child growing up, but even as an adult.
The last skill that I think is one of, if not the, most important developed by Lego; Resilience.
Resilience is the ability to bounce back, be that from a difficulty or a tough situation.
Now you may be wondering how Lego can help children develop such a skill.
When playing with Lego it’s almost inevitable that, at one point, it will all fall apart and you’ll be left with a pile of multi-coloured blocks scattered all over the floor (usually the reason most of us know the brutal pain of stepping, barefoot, on a unsuspected piece of Lego hidden within a carpet).
This setback I believe triggers the aspect of resilience, seeing hours of work result in a spaceship broken in two with bits and pieces scattered everywhere. Do the children give up and never play with Lego again?
No, they pick up the pieces and go again!
Even though hours of work have been suddenly destroyed from an accidental drop, they can still see past the problem and bounce back from it. This helps them see the best out of a bad situation – yes you’ve invested loads of time into building something, but now you can spend even more time building a bigger and better version!
This skill stays with us throughout our lives.
Whether it be getting poor grades in school and working hard to get better ones, or maybe not getting your dream job but seeing it as a reason to push harder next time.
Even if you are a business owner, do you just leave your business through the bad times? Or do you pick the blocks up, bounce back, and go again – this time with more determination and drive than ever before?
Article by: Ethan Rennie https://www.linkedin.com/in/ethanrennie/ Making a difference to the lives of young people. The Early Years Training Hub Manchester, United Kingdom