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Why Is LEGO Actually Good For Children?

LEGOs are many children's favourite toys, for a good reason. There is something exciting in making your own playthings and stories. These blocks open a world of possibility! They are more than a way to pass time. LEGOs are educational! Let's explore how.



Why Is LEGO Actually Good For Children?

Playtime is essential for children. As a child plays, they learn about the world and themselves. They learn how to engage their body, and how to think. During playtime, many children learn to talk and to process human emotions.

Beyond its benefits, playing is enjoyable -- and because it's fun, it helps young children learn more, and more often. Whether structured or unstructured, playtime is fundamental for a happy childhood.



Destructive play

Very young children benefit from "destructive play". This might look to us like a chaotic mess, but for a toddler, it does have a purpose. Whether it's tossing, grabbing or stacking items just to let them fall apart, the child learns about the world. They get fine motor skills on grabbing and throwing, and they learn how pieces fit together. The bright colours of LEGO pieces meant for younger children attract the eye and excite the senses.

In special, the fine motor skills are the one most influenced. Putting things together require ability with fingers and the refined muscles on a young child's hands. These strengthen and gain speed and accuracy with time, and LEGO playing helps speed up the process, as a child will pick pieces of different sizes, rotate them, fit them together, and take them apart.



Focus

Building anything takes time, and that's why LEGO bricks help children to learn how to focus. Whether it is the patience required to build after instructions or something new altogether, patience is a necessary skill to build with success. The positive reinforcement of putting something together helps reinforce that focus, patience and attention are rewarding, which is always a good thing for young children to learn.



Cooperation and communication

LEGO doesn't need to be a solitary activity. Put a set big enough for many children to play with (or parents and children together) and it's a great way to encourage cooperation. For a bigger set, parents and children can build in tandem. Giving each child a role in the build, and dividing the labour of building, are good ways to encourage communication and cooperation in a group. Some sets, such as the seasonal sets, can also become a fun family tradition.



Creative thinking

Of course, the main feature in all LEGO is the endless possibilities. Whether you acquire a specific set or a big bucket of parts, there's a lot you can do with a box of LEGO pieces. These endless possibilities encourage creative thinking, as children can always explore new ideas, new designs, new builds and also -- better ways to build. Even for teenagers and adults, the endless things you can do with LEGOs encourage several creative ideas and experiments.

This creativity isn't limited to builds, either. Minifigures and other elements help children to devise stories to play out, and roleplaying is a great way to develop imagination and creative thinking. Thinking outside of the box is one of the main aspects of LEGO, and that's what your children will learn.



Emotional control

We have all experimented and will experiment a failure in life. LEGO can be frustrating as well. Who hasn't felt disappointment when a beautiful build falls apart, or when an idea doesn't quite work out? This is a legitimate possibility, and dealing with these things help children not only deal with frustration and failure but also to overcome it. When a build doesn't work, there's always other builds to create, or ways to rebuild it when it falls apart.

In playing, the child learns to deal with the frustration of failure, but also with the reward of persistence. We've all seen the smile on a child's face when they finally manage to build something new and show off their creation with pride. Thus, in playing, they learn that persisting is good, and failure isn't so bad and can be fixed.



Engineering and mathematics

LEGOs revolve around building things, and a lot of this involves concepts in physics, engineering and math. While it doesn't require calculations, LEGO building does involve a fairly good notion of geometry and distance. These are skills children will acquire naturally while playing. Building helps a child learn to think in 3D, on how pieces come together to form a whole, and how shapes can complement each other to make other shapes.

They will also learn other concepts such as weight, balance and structural ability by trial and error. These skills are fundamental for engineering, and as such, for building as well. It's no wonder even adult engineers enjoy playing with LEGOs! Older children can learn about levers, pulleys, gears and other mechanical concepts as well, with Technic pieces and later, with Power Functions as well. We know we can do remarkable things with LEGOs, but it all begins with basic fitting pieces together.



Literacy and comprehension

This might seem odd, but hear us out. Some sets come with instructions, and to achieve the desired results, it's best to follow them. As children read the booklets, they develop literacy and comprehension skills, as they not only need to read them, but also understand what it says, and follow the correct steps in the correct order to achieve the desired result (or not; there's the out-of-the-box thinking as well!).

In any case, it's a proven fact that playing with blocks, such as LEGOs, offers a good way to infer the cognitive capacity in children, and very likely also give them essential life skills.



Read more of James Hirlehey's original content at NinjaBrick.com.

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