LEGOs have taught my son so much. When he was little and we played with Duplo bricks we matched and sorted by color and size, we counted and labeled and described. As he got bigger we used LEGO to help teach sequencing, following directions, dealing with frustration (because we always make a mistake and don’t find it until 10 steps later) and turn taking. We even used the Duplo mini-figs for creative and imaginary play.
As he now builds creations (some very good and very elaborate) he is learning to plan and organize. He is learning how to use his creativity. He is learning how to set goals and achieve them. He is still learning things like dealing with frustration (there is always at least one piece that was “just right here” that is now “gone”) and turn taking (when his brother builds with him).
I know that play is the way kids learn and that play is not really play for play’s sake—it is so much more than that. Children’s early play teaches early cognitive concepts, pre-academic skills, pre-literacy skills, social interactions, aids in emotional development and gross and fine motor skill development. Play is how children learn.
I knew all this and I encouraged play of all sorts. Play gave us insight into our child’s strengths (motor skills and cognitive skills) and insight into his weaknesses (peer interactions and emotional development). LEGO has been a constant tool in his play and development.
We have purchased LEGO Advent Calendars for four years (this is year number 5) and because the boys fight over the Santa mini-fig it stays with the rest of the Christmas décor and does not get doled out as a toy when all the Christmas decorations get put away. It goes in the attic again until the next year, when it will emerge with all the Santas past to be displayed and played with for a few short weeks.
I never imagined LEGO would also give us insight into his humor. This year our little man took a Santa, placed him in a fireplace and proudly giggled and stated “Look, he’s stuck!” In our world, that’s pretty cool!