Let’s love on Legos (or any other brand of building blocks). For just a moment. Because they’re awesome for so many reasons. Granted, my kitchen table hasn’t been MY table in quite some time. Sure, it’s a $99 IKEA table that has more fork holes than I’d like to admit, but it’s been sacrificed in order to be put to good use.
Engineering/Design. In an era of STEM/STEAM (science/technology/engineering/(arts)/math), I find my teacher mode loving Legos. Although my 4 year old doesn’t understand the equations involved, he is discovering concepts like weight distribution, gravity, and equilibrium through play. He’s learning about experimentation and changing a design in order to achieve whatever goal he has. All while dealing with some failure and learning how to be resilient.
No batteries required. We love our TV shows and iPad apps, but Legos (and other building block sets) don’t need to be charged or plugged in. That means major staying power in my books.
Fine Motor Skills. Those little parts are the perfect practice for digit dexterity – in building but also pulling pieces apart. Strengthening the fingers is important for preschoolers and I’ve found Legos as one of the most enjoyable activities to achieve this.
Creative Play. Sure this can be done with other toys, but Legos allow for slightly more flexibility within the stories my little one creates. We have a few themed sets and a few “basic” block kits. The photo below depicts the following tale: (summary) “Pirate Jake on his way to look for the treasure, loses his pet shark. Spidey helps him find the shark and they become really, really good friends.” We can then branch into a discussion about how it’s great to be friends with people you didn’t think were like you, what it means to be a good friend, or how the pirate might have felt when he lost his pet shark.
They’re transitional. We began with Mega Bloks around age 1 and then transitioned to Duplo. We currently peruse the aisles for Lego Juniors and my son scouts out the suggested age like a hawk. We still enjoy the Duplo table and like showing little brother the wonders of building.
They teach responsibility. We have stressed the importance of keeping the Legos out of the baby’s reach for safety purposes. My son also takes great pride in the structures (his word) he has created, so he’s much more responsible with Legos than any other toy in the house.
They’re also reasonably priced, provide hours of entertainment, and never go out of style.
What’s your child’s favorite toy and what does it teach them?