About 6 months ago, to my pleasure, both of my children really got into playing with Lego, spending ages creating all sorts from hi tech boats to castles. I loved Lego growing up and now I am experiencing the joy all over again, except this time I am aware of the many learning opportunities Lego can bring.
For starters, it encourages children to use their imagination and to be more creative, by using various shapes, colours and sizes of Lego to construct different designs. Early Years Professionals refer to this as open-ended play; meaning there is no right or wrong way, leaving children able to explore their creativity without fear of failure.
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.” Albert Einstein
Building with Lego promotes fine motor skills and becomes great exercise for little fingers, which in turn helps them to apply more control when they are writing. Lego develops problem solving and mathematical thinking, for example, children learn to follow instructions when assembling a structure and explore ideas of balance, symmetry, shapes and sizes.
Lego is also great at improving children’s communication skills, by engaging in joyful conversations about their new masterpiece and giving them the ability to describe their work, explain ideas and talk about the processes.
So with all these learning opportunities in mind, here are some activity ideas to keep children interested and motivated to play with Lego!
Ideas for activities:
How many flag designs can you recreate? (You can brush up on your knowledge of geography at the same time!)
Using a Lego base plate start a pattern (e.g. blue brick, red brick, blue brick, red brick…) then ask your child if they are able to continue the pattern. As your child grows more confident you can make the patterns more challenging.
Have a race to see who can build the tallest tower. When the tower falls, count how many bricks you have used, the person who has the most bricks wins!
Stick self-adhesive magnetic strips to a Lego base plate and place it on your fridge, this enables children to try building vertically. It’s an ideal way to keep them busy in the kitchen when they want to be near you.
You could also try storing bricks in a pencil case and using the magnetic strips to stick the pencil case to the fridge too.
Sort colours into individual bowls. After you can build a tower with them and measure how tall each tower is.
Lego rainbows are fun to make and helps you to teach children about their colours. You can do this alongside the sorting colours activity.
Again using the Lego base plate, challenge your child to make portraits of family and friends (not forgetting your family pets!)
Do you have any Lego games you like playing with your little one?
Top Tip: Searching swap and sell sites like Ebay is a great well to get cheap Lego. Alternatively all the above activities work well with other branded bricks.
By Sue Brown