The 6 Best Things About Lego Games and Activities For Kids

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.

UPDATE 2017

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!

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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 games for kids encourage imagination, problem solving...

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 Games & Activities for kids boost confidence, strengthen fine motor skills...

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!

 


LEGO Games & Activities for kids are great for building these 6 skills

14 Comments

  1. Eric

    Hi Tanya, this a great article, and gives an in depth description of legos and all that is special about them! My son, who is now 12, has been putting together lego sets for a few years now. He has put together the architecture sets, The White House, The Empire State Building, The Seattle Space Needle and many, many others. He bought and built the Dr. Who Tardis for me for my birthday! Over a few years he has built maybe 20 or more sets! I’m 48 years old, and let me just tell you that we didn’t have anywhere near the awesomeness that lego has today! Wonderful article!

    Reply
    1. Tanya (Post author)

      Hi Eric!

      My son is almost 8 and I wouldn’t be surprised if he is like your son when he is 12. He loves LEGO! We have 2 days a week at our house that are “no screen days” – because kids are kids and if screens are an option that is their first activity of choice. But on non-screen days he always goes for the LEGO.

      We have stopped buying sets for the time being because our basement play area is full of LEGO. And by not constantly having sets to build he can get really creative. His older sister also likes LEGO but not as much as him.

      I was quite fascinated when he built the mini oreo LEGO dispenser. It was quite impressive and it worked!

      LEGO is one of the best learning toys out there!

      Reply
  2. maine

    Wow that was very interesting, I did not realize how handy Lego can be, I think Lego games and activities are very educational and in a way involves the mind in learning how to think critically and in a technical way. I think that Lego offers more than sitting in-front of a television set for children.

    Reply
    1. Tanya (Post author)

      Hi,

      Most simple games and activities such as Lego actually have real learning value. My intentions with this site is to share with parents and educators how simple it can be to foster language development and learning through play and a few great toys .

      I agree with your statement that Lego offers a lot more than sitting mindlessly in front of a TV does!

      Reply
  3. John

    Tanya,
    My son started with the big blocks also, he now does the Lego Themes. We also have the Lego game that has parts to build and cards to give you ideas. This is a great game for our Friday night game night. After the first Lego set, he has been able to follow the directions and put all of them together by himself. He does destroy some and will put them back together. These are great building blocks for the future.
    John

    Reply
    1. Tanya

      Hi John,

      Mega blocks and Duplo are a great way to get children started with Lego. But there is so much more variety with the small Lego blocks. I’m not familiar with the Lego game. It sounds like something my kids would love. Is it like a board game that the whole family can play? Please give me some more information about this game.

      Reply
  4. Marc Parsons

    Hey Tanya
    Great Post. I have taken a lot from it.

    I have been eagerly waiting to introduce my daughter to lego… we have the mega… but I am talking about the real Lego. The ones that I had so many hours of fun with as a kid. The lego I remember jumping out of bed on an ice cold morning and waking the entire family up, because I had landed on the Lego’s that I was to distracted or ‘lazy’ to pick up the night before… Taught me well to pack my toys away. 😉

    Seriously though, I had no idea of all of the benefits.

    The online lego building looks really interesting as well. You don’t feel that this could be slightly anti-social though?

    Reply
    1. Tanya

      Hi Marc,

      I am glad that you found the post informative. We introduced our son to real Lego when he was 3. This is a bit on the young side but he was very interested in it. We did most of the building but he loved to watch. He is now almost 6 and still loves Lego now as much as he did then. But now he is more of an active participant. He has Lego everywhere but it seems I am the one constantly stepping on it.

      As for the online Lego maker, we don’t use it too often but we have used it to come up with prototypes for what we want to make with real Lego. It’s definitely something I would avoid with younger children as they will benefit much more from actually building with real Lego.

      My daughter is 7 and she has just gotten into really playing and buiding with Lego over the past year. She seems to love the Star Wars Lego the best. It’s funny because she has never seen the Star Wars movies.

      Reply
  5. Marcus

    I remember spending hours playing around with lego as a kid. Hours of fun, for very little cost. Do you remember the TV series Transformers, and the Transformers toys that you could buy? Well, the highlight for me what when somebody showed me how to make my own Transformer out of lego. I was hooked from that point!

    What’s the best thing you or your child has ever made using lego?

    Reply
    1. Tanya

      Hi Marcus,

      Yes, I do remember transformers. My son has a few of them. I would love to know how to build a transformer out of Lego. My son would love that. Was it a specific lego set meant to build a transformer?

      My kids have many different themed sets, that they look forward to building when they first get them, however, the. It I just as much fun to take them apart and make something new.

      After we saw the Monsters Inc. movie, the kids and I made many props from the movie. They liked making different doors into various different rooms, just like in them movie. They have also built mini cities and cafes. Lego is wonderful for bringing out a child’s imagination.

      Reply
  6. Laurel

    When my two boys were little, Lego was their favorite toy. I kept all the Lego till they had children of their own and now everyone has fun building together. A timeless toy

    Reply
    1. Tanya (Post author)

      Thanks for your comment! Lego is definitely a timeless toy. I love the endless amounts of games and activities you can do with lego, not to mention all the learning that happens, and the kids don’t even know that they are learning!

      Reply
  7. Claire

    Hi Tanya

    I remember Lego fondly from my childhood. The nieces and nephews are a bit small for it yet – we’re still playing with Duplo – but the possibilities are endless. Our Duplo packs are themed here in the UK, and our favourite is the cupcakes set 🙂

    I look forward to when the kiddies get a bit older and I can have an excuse to play with Lego again myself!

    Claire

    Reply
    1. Tanya (Post author)

      Hi Claire,
      Thanks for your comment. Perhaps I need to look into Duplo some more. My kids only had the plain building blocks and at the time I thought that was all their was. It looks like I need to do a bit more research into Duplo. The cupcake set sounds pretty cool. I would assume the same things would be available in North America.

      Reply

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