LEGO is a lot of fun for people of all ages. We know that by now. But what a lot of parents have wondered over the years is if LEGO benefits their child's learning, development, and skill acquisition.
You know, the other important stuff, not just the 'fun'. Could these bricks really help children learn? Are there LEGO education sets specifically designed for learning with LEGO? And could LEGO for child development really ever be a thing? Well, if you've ever had questions like those, then this post is perfect for you.
Let's get one thing clear right now: LEGO helps with learning and child development. Fact. But let's dive a little deeper and see what LEGO benefits there are in these areas, shall we?
How is building LEGO educational for kids?
We've already established that LEGO is educational for kids, but the important things that parents need to know is exactly why that's the case. How does learning with LEGO actually help with your child's development? Today we'll cover 5 key areas, but if you take the time to research it further, you'll see a bunch more than the ones we've listed here!
1. Social skills
LEGO is an inherently social thing, even if you don't see it at first glance. Of course, children will play with siblings and friends and LEGO can be a great way to teach teamwork, collaboration, and even leadership skills, which will all benefit your child throughout their life. But even if playing alone, studies have found that children who play with LEGO also often create a fantasy or 'make-believe' world which can encourage role-playing, which is great for developing empathy, communication, and problem-solving skills!
2. Spatial awareness
Obviously, your children are developing fine and gross motor skills as they manipulate the bricks, but more than that, they're developing spatial thinking skills. Even as very young children, they have to think about the 3D model they're trying to create, and then problem solve issues to do with balance, size, scale, and the number of bricks involved. All of this is quite complex thinking, but children seem to just whiz through it when they're playing with LEGO.
3. STEM skills
Leading on from the previous point, children also develop STEM skills (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). Studies have found that children who can create complex LEGO structures are better at Math than those who don't regularly involve themselves in construction play, and the reason for this is the STEM skills they develop. First, they have to think about their creation, plan it (however loosely), and then visualize what they're trying to achieve, all whilst reworking plans based on the bricks in front of them and what works and doesn't work in practice. LEGO encourages children to think critically, which is exactly what adults in STEM careers need to do too!
4. Increased concentration
LEGO increases concentration too. Think about it, your child has to think about their creation and then see it through to the end. Even if it's a quick 5 minute job, they still concentrated on one project for a full 5 minutes, and to for some children this is HUGE. But the more complex the builds get as children get older, the more they'll need to concentrate, so they'll forever be increasing their focus and concentration skills.
5. Encourages creativity
All this talk about STEM skills and development might make it sound like there's nothing left that LEGO can offer besides science-y skills, but that's just not the case. The amount of creative thinking that's involved in building LEGO is astronomical, and then, once it's built, your child won't just leave it alone. They'll either create more, adding on to the finished piece, or play with it. Telling stories, creating fantasy worlds, and role playing with what they have in front of them. All of this encourages creativity - and the world can always use an extra dose of that!
LEGO education sets for early learning
So now you know LEGO can help with child development, but what is your next step as parents if you have a young child that you want to encourage to develop all the skills mentioned above and much more besides? Well, start with one of these early learning LEGO education sets and you won't go wrong!
1. STEAM Park by LEGO Education
STEAM Park (where STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, art, and math, by the way) is a brilliant example of a LEGO education set for young children. This is perfect for children aged 3 and up, and encourages their natural curiosity and critical thinking to come to the forefront to help develop the important skills we discussed above. There are also online 'lesson' style videos for your children to watch, to further encourage them to think creatively and critically to build exciting new things for them to play with.
2. Tubes by LEGO Education
Tubes is the cheapest of the products listed, and it's great! Again, for children aged 3+, it still encourages the development of all the skills we've already discussed through problem-solving, collaboration with others, but it also helps children to learn about 3D shapes, symmetry, and cause and effect as they build, destroy, and rebuild. It comes with a 'getting started' card too, which details 5 simple ideas to encourage your child to learn through LEGO.
3. My XL World by LEGO Education
Finally, My XL World by LEGO Education is the pinnacle of education sets by LEGO, in our opinion. So great, in fact, that lots of teachers have this in their early years classrooms to help children develop skills together in a fun and unstructured way. But that's not to say this fantasy world ought to stay in the classroom, far from it. It's perfect at home and it's suitable for ALL ages, from 2+, so siblings can all play together, no matter their age, and all get something out of it in terms of their learning and development.
Before you leave us...
As a LEGO lighting kit business, we're obviously passionate about LEGO for its fun value. We love building the sets and displaying them in beautiful ways with the LEGO lighting kits we sell on our website. But LEGO is more than that. LEGO can meet a child wherever they're at in terms of their development and help them move towards the next milestone.
Whether it's supporting with one of the many important skills we've listed, or simply by giving them confidence to explore and ask questions and think creatively. LEGO can, and does, impact on children's learning, and even though the fun is great and all, the way it helps children develop has to be the single best thing about those bricks we all love so much!