Those unassuming little plastic bricks you’ve known since childhood have some surprising benefits for kids’ development. It turns out that LEGOs can help children master numerous life skills while they have a blast constructing elaborate worlds. Play has its own benefits
, of course, but research suggests that play with construction sets like LEGOs has some special benefits of its own.
If you’re considering the pros and cons of the different toys your child has on their wish list, the benefits of LEGOs make them an appealing choice to add to your child’s toy collection.
Benefits of LEGOs for Childrens’ Development
1. LEGOs help develop spatial abilities
LEGOs have been singled out by researchers for encouraging the spatial awareness
needed for success in STEM fields like engineering. Importantly, several LEGOs series targeting girls released in the last decade have greatly increased the number of girls playing with LEGOs and acquiring these skills.
While they’re building and playing with LEGOs, kids’ brains gain important practice in mentally manipulating shapes, which will help them in fields that require spatial skills such as architecture, design and mechanical engineering.
2. Constructive play encourages mathematical ability
A 2014 study
found that children who engaged in constructive play, such as using LEGOs, were better able to solve mathematical word problems. A longitudinal study
found a correlation between constructive play in preschool and success in math in middle school and beyond.
3. LEGO play develops problem solving
As children try to fit together pieces to create their masterworks, they’re constantly having to solve problems. While kids attempt to build walls, staircases or towers, they must figure out what works and what doesn’t and find new ways to align bricks to make their creations hold together.
This practice in problem solving can help kids develop skills that will not only help them find solutions to challenging physical problems, but can also create habits of mind that help them problem solve in other areas of their lives. Successful problem solving can in turn promote a sense of self-confidence and agency, important for kids navigating the complexities of growing up.
4. LEGOs hone fine motor skills
Manipulating tiny pieces helps developing brains practice hand-eye coordination. Kids who spend hours building, taking apart and rebuilding LEGO structures develop impressive dexterity. Next time you need something finicky assembled, ask a LEGO-savvy kiddo, and they’ll no doubt come to your rescue.
5. LEGOs promote creativity
Kids absolutely love taking apart LEGO sets to build new creations, exercising their imaginations as they alter structures or construct entire cities from the pieces in front of them.
Kids then use these creations as backdrops for inventive storylines involving the vet clinic or palace they’ve built. And unlike static structures that enable limited numbers of storylines, LEGO buildings can be torn down and converted into something entirely different, a space station becoming a dragon lair, a jungle becoming a treehouse.
6. LEGOs teach kids to deal with frustration
Invariably kids will imagine a LEGO structure they want to build but just can’t make parts of it work. Learning to go back to the drawing board and seek other solutions without getting paralyzed by frustration
is an incredibly important life skill to master that will serve them well throughout their lives.
7. LEGOs Encourage Concentration
Parents with LEGOs in the house will tell you that they can keep kids busy for hours on end, as kids build and rebuild and play with their creations. This practice focusing will set kids up for success in any project that requires sustained attention. Plus, parents can enjoy time to get things done!
8. LEGO sets teach kids to follow written instructions
Anyone with children who play regularly with LEGOs will have noticed that kids get progressively speedy following the complex assembly directions for their latest set, even those with hundreds of steps and tiny pieces.
Keep watching: You’ll probably find that LEGO-savvy kids will easily follow directions for other projects, from building circuitry or making complex crafts to assembling furniture for their first apartment.
Other advantages of LEGOs
When kids work on LEGO projects together, they get to practice social skills as they negotiate with friends, siblings or parents. LEGOs can benefit parents, also. Sitting down and building with your child not only encourages much-needed downtime
, it forces you to use parts of your brain that you may not engage very often. LEGO now makes sets aimed at adults
, many of whom find that the process of building helps them manage stress
LEGO parents also know that a big brick collection can mean lots of LEGOs on the floor. Kids will learn personal responsibility taking care of their LEGOs. When thousands of LEGOs have been strewn about, kids quickly learn they need to clean them up or the vacuum cleaner will eat them.
Unlike many of the toys that come and go from our kids’ lives, LEGOs are extremely durable and grow with our children as they become capable of more complex building projects. LEGOs may have a place in your child’s life for many years and will be in great shape when they’re ready to pass down to a younger sibling or cousin. There’s a good market for secondhand LEGOs as well, so when kids no longer want them, they can sell them to fund the latest must-have item.
Which LEGO sets to get?
With so many options
to choose from, it can be hard to decide which LEGO set to get for your kids. Choosing the right set will depend on their interests.
Sets from the LEGO Friends series have loads of interesting structures
and accessories. Many of the latest sets have an eco-friendly focus for your green kid
, like an electric car
and organic cafe
with a restaurant garden.
Moveable dragon figures
are hugely popular. They’re fun to build and then can be involved in numerous story lines.
Harry Potter fans love collecting all the different sets featuring different aspects of the Harry Potter universe, from Harry’s house on Privet Drive
and herbology class
sets that fold up into spell books.
Disney fans will enjoy sets from popular Disney movies, like Raya and the Last Dragon
, The Little Mermaid
LEGO City sets invite kids to construct entire cities with options like a fire station
and an ice cream truck
Superheroes and Star Wars sets appeal to fans of Marvel characters and the Star Wars movies. Check out the X wing fighter
or Iron Man
In addition to sets meant to be assembled in a certain way, some interchangeable bricks
will allow your child’s creativity to direct their building projects.
Whichever you choose, enjoy the knowledge that LEGOs will provide years of enjoyment and encourage habits of mind that will serve your kids well in the future.