Lego is an all time favorite activity in my house. We love playing games with Lego! Now, by Lego games I don’t mean the online ones or Lego based video games. I am talking about playing with Lego the way it was meant to be played with – by building some pretty cool structures. Nowadays, you can buy an infinite amount of Lego based on a variety of different themes. Or you can purchase a mixed bin of blocks and accessories of various colors and sizes.
According to the manufacturer’s specifications, Lego is meant for children over the age of 5 (each set varies with regards to age ranges). My son however started asking for lego at the age of three. You know your child best, so it is up to you to decide if they are ready for Lego under the age of 5.
There are bigger blocks (e.g. Lego Duplo and Mega Bloks) that are similar to the small Lego blocks but they are meant for children under the age of 5. Both of my children started with the bigger blocks around their 1st birthdays and played with them for quite some time. Because my husband is a big Lego fan he bought our son his first real Lego set at the age of 3. My husband did all of the building, but our son was very enthralled watching the whole process!
If you are going to purchase theme based or pre-packaged Lego sets for a young child, be prepared to do most of the building. My son likes to help his dad sort the Lego, but then dad usually ends up being the one putting it all together. But my son is always thrilled with the final product.
My son is going to be 8 in a few months and is still obsessed with LEGO. He now builds all of his sets independently loves coming up with his own creations. He also followed an instructional video on YouTube to build a mini oreo dispenser! You can build just about anything with LEGO!
The 6 Best Things About Lego Games And Activities
Lego is great for so many things. And what you and your child can make/build with Lego is only limited to what your imagination will allow. There are more than 6 great things about Lego games and activities, but I wanted to narrow it down for you.
Lego Encourages Imagination
As I mentioned earlier, you can either purchase Lego sets that come with instructions and you get to build something very specific (e.g. a rocket ship, a fire station, a superhero lair, etc) or you can just get mixed packs of Lego. While the theme based sets don’t allow for quite as much creativity as just having a bin of LEGO of various shapes and sizes, your child can get creative with the final product.
If the set you bought is to make a spaceship, then your child can have a lot of fun pretending with the spaceship. Maybe it is going to go to the moon, or perhaps it is going to check out life on mars.
Encourage your child to use Lego towards other interests. Perhaps your child has a rock collection. Why not build a Lego shelf to display the rocks!
If you started out with themed sets, I want to warn you that it will be nearly impossible to keep the Lego sorted in each theme. Unless your child is older (probably 10+) and she wants to keep the sets together, then it may be possible. With younger children, they seem to have just as much fun tearing apart a creation as they do building it.
My kids have about 10 or more themed Lego sets. Unfortunately none of the sets have stayed together. We have a Lego table with bins and every piece of Lego is thrown into a bin. But I must say, some of the things they have created on their own are pretty imaginative. The image below shows some of their creations.
Lego Fosters Language Development
There is a lot of talking that usually happens during any Lego activity. For the younger group you can talk about the color of each piece of Lego as well as the texture of the blocks (smooth, bumpy). You can work on prepositions such as “on, off, under, big, little, up, down”.
With older children more complex sentences will be heard. As a parent don’t be afraid to use “big” words. Your child is a smart little cookie and will take in everything he hears. You can talk about the parts of the car you are building, for example, the wheels go on the axle.
If you are using pre-packaged kits read the instructions to your child so that she learns to follow directions, for example “first find the 10 big red blocks and then find the 4 wheels”. Following directions is an important part of language development. In order to expressive oneself, you must understand the words.
Lego Promotes Problem Solving
There are many things that can go wrong when trying to build with Lego. My son can attest to that. He gets very upset when the Lego creation he is working on breaks or when pieces don’t seem to fit together. This is a great time to work on patience, persistence and perseverance.
My son loves to stack the bricks together into towers to make walls. So each same sized brick is stacked one on top of the other, and then he does that again beside the first stack until he has a wall.
However, a wall built like that tends to fall apart pretty easily. So I work with him to problem solve and think of a way to prevent this from happening. I talked to him about “staggering” the bricks so that they are all connected and stuck to one another.
When playing with Lego, a child will encounter many problems. However, with a bit of creativity and persistence they can be overcome.
Lego Boosts Confidence
It is always so wonderful to see the joyful smile on a child’s face when they are showing you their very own Lego creation. Whether it is something they came up with and built on their own or maybe they followed the instructions of a pre-packaged theme set all on their own. Either way it is something to be proud of.
Some children may not be interested in Lego because maybe they feel that they aren’t able to build something on their own. You can show them that it doesn’t matter what they build. Whatever it is will still be a masterpiece and the only way to get better is to practice. There is really no right or wrong when building with Lego. Just build and be creative!
Lego Builds Teamwork and Turn Taking
My kids love playing with Lego together, however there are often clashes when it comes to deciding what to build and then how to build it. I stress to my children that it is important to co-operate and take turns. We talk about all of the things that can be created with Lego and then decide on which one to tackle first. That is the first hurdle.
Next, they have to decide how it will be built. Let’s take a house as an example. My daughter always gets upset with her brother because he doesn’t “stagger” the bricks to keep them together. I explain to her that this is something that we need to teach him and that we should each take a turn staggering a block until we have built an entire wall.
Then comes the issue of how many doors and windows the house will have and where to put them. And finally the roof. Will it be a flat roof or an angled roof? If it is angled, how will it be built if we don’t have any “roof” pieces. As you can see there are many opportunities for teamwork, co-operation and turn taking in any given Lego activity.
Lego Is Great For Fine Motor Skills
Lego blocks and their accessories are quite small (hence, why they are not recommended for children under the age of 5). It can be a challenge to hold a small piece in one hand while using the other hand to attach another piece. Children need to use different grasp types to build with Lego.
Working on fine motor skills in one environment (e.g. playing with Lego) can transfer to skill development in other areas, for example, writing or opening and closing buttons. Fine motor skills are strengthened through Lego!