The impact of lego education toys on your Child’s Mind

In the quest for enriching activities that promote cognitive growth in children, LEGO Bricks have garnered significant attention among parents. A growing number of parents and educators are realizing the myriad learning opportunities these interlocking bricks can offer to young minds. Researchers have unveiled a comprehensive range of benefits associated with construction block play, including the use of LEGO Bricks, extending beyond conventional areas such as math, spatial activities, and early engineering skills. Surprisingly, the advantages also encompass the development of crucial social skills. Regardless of a child’s age, abilities, interests, or future aspirations in fields like technology, engineering, or art, the benefits of construction play are considered universally applicable.

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LEGO Bricks Foster Social Skills

At first glance, the connection between construction play and enhanced social skills may not be readily apparent. However, whether a child engages in solitary play or collaborates with others, social and communication skills are actively cultivated.

Collaboration: When children come together to construct a project, various roles emerge, such as the engineer overseeing the design and the builders assembling the pieces. Despite these roles seeming formal, the collaborative nature of the activity allows children to assume multiple roles, fostering valuable skill acquisition and knowledge sharing. While conflicts may arise during the process, they present opportunities for learning conflict resolution skills. The shared excitement for the project serves as motivation for conflict resolution, and the sense of accomplishment upon completion reinforces the value of contributing to a team effort.

Pretend play: Even when building alone, children have the opportunity for social development. Some may display their finished work, while others engage in imaginative play, creating a fantasy world around their creations. Pretend play has been linked to improved cognitive flexibility, empathy, communication, and problem-solving skills. The underlying lesson of problem solving—acknowledging multiple approaches and solutions—instills skills beneficial in future workplace scenarios.

Soft skills: While many discussions focus on the connection between construction toys and STEM skills, it’s essential to recognize that people-centric skills like leadership and emotional intelligence contribute to long-term success in the workplace.

Parental involvement: Parents can facilitate group construction play opportunities for children of all ages. During playdates, introducing a tub of LEGO Bricks allows even very young children to build structures for toy animals or simple neighborhoods for toy cars and trucks. For children aged 5 and above, parents can challenge their skills by enrolling them in a Bricks 4 Kidz class or camp.

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Enhancing Spatial Skills through Construction Play

As small hands manipulate and explore building blocks, a wealth of cognitive development is occurring within young, adaptable minds. Construction play contributes to the cultivation of spatial abilities, empowering children to visualize and plan three-dimensional objects. As their perception of the surrounding space expands, so does the refinement of their spatial skills.

Robust spatial abilities are linked to careers in science and technology, including fields such as chemistry, engineering, and mathematics. Even if a child exhibits interests beyond these domains, the benefits persist. Research reveals the significance of spatial skills in diverse fields such as architecture, visual arts, and even medicine. Moreover, there is a surprising correlation between well-developed spatial reasoning and heightened innovation and creativity in later life.

The encouraging news is that spatial skills are not solely dependent on inherent aptitudes; they can be enhanced through training. Numerous studies demonstrate that children exhibit improved performance on spatial reasoning tests after engaging in activities involving LEGO bricks and various forms of construction play.

An intriguing revelation challenges stereotypes about gender differences in spatial reasoning. Contrary to the common belief that men naturally excel in this area compared to women, a Harvard study dismantles this notion. Following 21 days of practice, both men and women performed equally well on spatial reasoning tests, even though the women initially scored lower at the beginning of the study.

Addressing the deficiency in traditional classroom settings, which often lack hands-on activities for developing spatial skills, underscores the importance of parents bridging this gap at home. By providing and encouraging plenty of hands-on activities, parents can contribute significantly to giving their children a genuine cognitive boost.

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Construction Play and Mathematical Proficiency

Now that there is a growing consensus among researchers about the positive impact of playing with LEGO Bricks on spatial skills, another intriguing correlation emerges—a potential enhancement in math performance through a childhood filled with construction play.

In a 2014 study, sixth-grade students exhibited improved performance on math word problems when they engaged in more construction play during their free time. Additionally, researchers in the same year uncovered a link between LEGO play and math proficiency in 7-year-olds. The study involved assessing each child’s ability to construct a complex LEGO structure before administering a math test. The findings indicated that 7-year-olds who excelled in building also demonstrated higher math scores.

Interpreting these results raises questions. Some may attribute the success of these children to innate abilities in both math and building, suggesting that their natural aptitude serves as intrinsic motivation for task engagement and improvement. An analogy can be drawn to the realm of emerging readers: convincing a struggling reader to spend time with a book is more challenging than encouraging one who shows progress and enthusiasm.

What about those facing difficulties? Could teaching them building strategies and encouraging completion of LEGO projects lead to improvements in math? As the second study acknowledged, this poses a noteworthy question that warrants further investigation.

LEGO Bricks: A Mathematical Learning Tool

Educators and homeschooling parents have uncovered the versatility of LEGO Bricks as effective tools for teaching various math concepts. From basic arithmetic such as addition and subtraction to more advanced topics like multiplication, fractions, measurement, and even algebraic concepts, the familiarity and enjoyment children derive from playing with these bricks make them a friendly and engaging learning resource.

The diverse sizes and stud configurations of the blocks offer hands-on experiences that contribute to mathematical understanding. For instance, the realization that a pair of 2×2 blocks can fulfill the role of a 2×4 block becomes a practical lesson in fractions—an application of math in real-life scenarios.

Observing a child engrossed in play reveals a world of creativity and adaptability, qualities synonymous with the work of an engineer. This perspective imparts a new meaning to the age-old saying that play is the work of children.


Engineering Foundations for Beginners

Even in the early stages of building with blocks, there’s an underlying foundation of engineering at play. While the image of an 8-year-old constructing a complex vehicle from an instruction booklet may come to mind, the concept applies to preschoolers creating castle walls or simple representations of animals. Even a 1-year-old stacking blocks or gleefully knocking over a stack is learning fundamental engineering principles. Embracing destruction over construction during these early stages is a crucial aspect of learning cause and effect—essential baby steps in the journey of engineering skills development.

Advancement on the Engineering Ladder

As children progress, each attempted and completed structure sparks experimentation with designs. Once a creation works, children naturally seek ways to enhance and improve it—an iterative process akin to the lifelong pursuit of engineers. The process of continuous improvement and problem-solving becomes ingrained in their approach. Even the most innovative inventions are seen as works in progress, akin to the ongoing evolution of technology like smartphones.

Block building not only fosters hands-on learning but also aids in the comprehension of complex engineering concepts. Through exposure to various forms of building, children gain practical insights into abstract notions, making classroom lessons more tangible and understandable.

Ready, Set, Build!

As children stack, create, and interlock, they are not merely constructing physical structures; they are actively building their minds. Research consistently underscores the long-term benefits of such activities, making the time, expense, and effort invested in this pastime a worthwhile investment. Encouraging children to participate in after-school workshops hosted by programs like Bricks 4 Kidz offers a fun, collaborative environment where hands-on learning challenges them and contributes to the development of their growing skill set.