LEGO: The building blocks of children’s development

fs.jpgYou probably know we like LEGO as we’ve used photos of our own figures to accompany previous posts. Recently we went to see a LEGO exhibition at a museum local to us. It featured models representing British history over time, from a model of a stone age house to figures of famous people from the 20th century, like the Beatles and Tim Berners-Lee. The star attraction was an 8m long model of the Flying Scotsman train, as you can see in the photo of the interior of one of the carriages accompanying this post. The exhibition was attended by lots of children who got the chance to demonstrate their own Lego skills afterwards in ‘the Brick Pit’. We saw them making models of thing like boats, castles, towers and love hearts. It got us thinking about the ways that playing with LEGO specifically can be beneficial for children’s learning and development.

Unsurprisingly, the LEGO Education website lists several benefits for pre-school children, including developing mathematical and scientific concepts, fostering language skills and supporting social development in turn-taking, negotiation and self-regulation. The LEGO Foundation website also talks about how being engaged in play activities (such as LEGO) can be beneficial to children’s learning in a variety of ways. Their Six Bricks booklet shares Lego activities you can do with children with each person having just six bricks, which can support language, problem solving and collaboration. It’s definitely worth a look. But were interested to see whether more impartial sources, like articles in academic journals, support these claims too. It’s definitely possible to read studies that suggest that playing with LEGO helps young children’s development, for instance in supporting their mathematical abilities and social skills. Although we struggled to find pieces of research that had researched with LEGO specifically, as the majority explore block play more generally. It’s much easier to find studies that have investigated block play, for instance finding benefits for language and social development, literacy and abstract thinking.

We’d be interested to know what you think. In what ways have you seen LEGO play a part in children’s learning and development, either at home or in their educational settings?

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