One fateful day in 1949, the Lego Group began manufacturing “automatic binding bricks”, which would change the face of playtime forever. These bricks resembled classic building blocks but were able to interlock with each other, thus creating a vastly wider range of possibilities. The name itself, Lego, is derived from the Danish phrase “leg godt”, which means “play well”. Thanks to the brilliance and simplicity of Lego’s design, playing well has been elevated to a whole new level. It may not be as fancy as other toys in Nowra, or as flashy as video games and tablet apps, but its benefits for children are unparalleled in the realm of toys.
Lego is so elegant, in fact, that these days their use isn’t limited as children’s toys. They now also come in more complex sets such as Lego Technic, or cross-branded with popular series like Harry Potter and Indiana Jones. They’re even being used to build robots, models, and miniature structures for the purposes of science and engineering. They’re also being used in classrooms as visual aid for various scientific and mathematic topics. This goes to show that Lego’s usefulness goes beyond simple fun.
In its heart however, Lego is for enriching the imagination. That’s why in our toy shop Nowra, we advocate playing with Lego. Countless studies over the years have proven its positive effects on children. Between developing motor skills to developing social skills, playing with Lego augments a child’s natural abilities. The following are the benefits of Lego to children, as confirmed by decades of research.
Develops spatial awareness
Lego trains children to think in 3D, helping them understand relationships between shapes, forms, sizes, and spaces. They are trained to assemble and build, which helps develop their skill for figuring out relationships within simple structures. This is a precursor to physics and geometry.
Enhances reasoning and critical thinking
While building simple structures, children’s minds are automatically figuring out cause and effect. “Putting this block here results in this shape” or “detaching this block from this one creates this form”. When they are able to see the relationships between action and reaction, they become better at insightfully understanding how things work. It strengthens logical thinking and open-mindedness.
Enhances problem solving skills
When recreating a Lego design or following an instruction manual, children learn to figure out how to get from one block to a bunch of blocks forming a specific shape. They quickly learn to try different ways to achieve their desired result, which strengthens their problem solving skills in the process. Studies have shown that children who are exposed to this skill at a young age exhibit proficiency in mathematics when they get older.
Practices dexterity and motor skills
For young children, clicking blocks together isn’t always easy. But getting to practice this at an early age helps develop their dexterity and fine motor-skills. It also helps develop hand-eye coordination.
Practices patience, focus, and perseverance
Creating something from Lego isn’t as instant as flicking something on a tablet and getting results. When following instructions or trying to create something by themselves, children learn to sit still and focus on the task at hand. They also learn the value of patience and putting in effort to achieve a desired result. When they complete their task, they are rewarded with the feeling of accomplishment and the praise they get for their efforts.
Develops communication and social skills
Lego is a very interactive toy and encourages sharing, teamwork, and communication between playmates. When trying to build something together, kids learn the value of another’s input as well as the value of helping and contributing. Studies have shown that kids who play with Lego have more developed communication skills than kids who do not. This is a very important aspect of adulthood, and an essential element in sympathy and empathy.
Encourages creativity and imagination
Perhaps the best thing about Lego is how it has no limits. With no limits as to what it can do, a child’s imagination is allowed to soar and go wherever it wants to go. It encourages fantasy and story-telling. It encourages invention and innovation. It basically allows a child to build and create whatever comes to mind. Not only are these elements crucial to the fun and fulfilment a child finds during playtime, but it’s also the building blocks of any creative profession as an adult. Many architects and engineers have taken their penchant for block play as children and turned it into legitimate contributions to society.
With all the benefits Lego play can give children, it’s no wonder they remain one of the best toys Nowra and all over the world today. Another cool thing is that Legos from the 50’s will fit into Legos of today, essentially making them timeless. As long as there is love for imagination and invention, Lego will be loved from one generation to the next.