Continuing on in our exploration of the benefits of playing with LEGO® bricks. We explored the first five of the 10 Benefits of Playing with LEGO®Bricks in part one. I’m so glad you’ve joined us for part two.
In the last blog post we talked about the value of playing and how playing with toy blocks:
- builds creativity
- develops fine motor skills
- plays off of a child’s strengths
- build’s confidience
- increases problem-solving skills.
Now let’s continue with the second half of the article.
6) Development of the 3Ps.
Not all builds go together the way you envisioned it in your head. Nor do they go together as easily as you’d hoped. These are the builds that develop the 3Ps – patience, persistence and perseverance. Patience to stay calm and not get frustrated, persistence to keep trying new things to get your build to work and perseverance to know that it will work out eventually, but you gotta keep trying.
A great example of this was in January of 2012, my LEGO Club did a very…..and I mean, very delicate snowflake build. This build was far above and beyond anything we had every done before and I knew going in that this was going to be challenging for the kids. Sure enough, several kids had trouble with the build. It kept breaking and falling apart in their hands. I gave the kids gentle reminders to stay calm and keep trying……and to be very gentle with their builds. I also told the kids to send me pictures of their builds after the club was over. I got a bunch of pictures of snowflakes, each as unique as the child who created it, and you know what? A lot of the pictures came from the very same children who were struggling to get theirs together during the club meeting. In the end, patience, persistence and perseverance paid off!
7) It teaches kids that it’s ok if your build looks different from other builds.
I have a lot of kids who come to class with the right size and type of pieces, but worry so much that the color isn’t like mine, or their friend’s. They also worry that all of their pieces are different colors so whatever they build in class will be rainbow colored. This is ok. There is nothing wrong with a rainbow colored log cabin or Greek temple. It’s ok to have a black and white oak tree. Abstract artists get away with all kinds of stuff with color and design. We can too.
8) It opens up new worlds.
Like a good book, brick building opens up new worlds to kids. You can make almost anything from toy bricks and these builds can launch your kids into imaginative play in just about any world possible. I remember when we built The Great Wall of China in LEGO Club. The following month we built a castle keep. I got email after email from mothers who were baffled that their children were engaged in hours of imaginative play with those builds. Not only did they make the builds themselves in club, but they added to them and combined builds to make elaborate playsets where minifigs and other action figures and dolls would have all kinds of adventures.
9) It increases their awareness of engineering.
Some builds work out so nicely in your imagination and then fall apart once you put it together. Why? Structure and stability. When a build doesn’t work out right, it’s usually for lack of structure or stability somewhere in the build. The key is to search out where the problem is occurring and fix it. This is engineering at its base level.
10) It encourages cooperation and teamwork.
If children decide to take on a big build as a team, they will need to learn how to work together. They will need to agree on the design of build. Then they will need to work together to gather all the pieces (it doesn’t take long to realize that you may have bitten off more than you can chew with the size of a build and the number of pieces it requires) and bring their design into reality. Each member of the team will come to the table with their own idea of what they want to build, how to do it and what pieces to use. Sometimes, a member’s idea will clash with ideas of the other team members. They need to work through their differences and come to an agreement in order to bring the build to life.
LEGO® bricks provide endless building fun for children (and adults, too!) However, there are also hidden benefits of playing with LEGO® bricks that aren’t always obvious as we watch our children at work. The skills and lessons they learn from playing with LEGO® bricks will be valuable to them as they grow up. And, who knows, maybe they will carry their passion for LEGO® bricks with them for a long time to come.