Lego is an all time favorite activity in my house, in fact it has been since my kids were 3 and 5 years old!
Nowadays, you can buy an infinite amount of Lego based on a variety of different themes.
Or you can purchase a mixed bin of Lego bricks 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).
But, my son 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 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 is now 11 and is still obsessed with LEGO. So is my daughter (she is 13).
They now build all of their sets independently and love coming up with their own creations.
Both of them can build most sets that are labelled 16+, so if your child is an avid Lego fan you don’t necessarily need to follow the age guidelines (especially as they get older and you don’t need to worry about them possibly trying to eat any of the tiny pieces).
They have also followed instructional videos 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 Activities For Kids
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Lego is great for so many reasons.
And what you and your child can make/build with Lego is only limited to what your imagination will allow.
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 having a bin of LEGO of various shapes and sizes, your child can get creative with the final product.
If the set you have makes 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 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.
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 part of the Lego Christmas Village my son has been creating for the last month, complete with a reindeer pen, curling rink, Christmas tree and train!
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Lego Fosters Language Development
There is a lot of talking that usually happens during any Lego activity.
With the younger children, 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 they hear.
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 verbalize the instructions to your child so that they learn 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 kids can attest to that.
My son used to get very upset when the Lego creation he was working on broke or when pieces didn’t seem to fit together.
This is a great time to work on patience, persistence and perseverance.
Now at 11 years old he thankfully does not get upset anymore, although from time to time he does still express some frustration.
When he was around 5 he loved 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 helped 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 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, it 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 used to always get upset with her brother because he didn’t stagger the bricks to keep them together.
I explained 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.
If your child doesn’t have any siblings, you (parent or caregiver) can engage in the play and act as a fellow team member.
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!
Playing With Lego Is Learning Through Play
A child has no idea how many skills they are learning while playing with a toy as fun as Lego!
What are some of your child’s favorite things to create with these amazing bricks?
I very much loved reading this article! I love how informative it is about what all of us parents want to help our kids learn as early on as they can. My first is 9, and after reading this it makes me wish I started on the lego train much earlier. But our second is coming up on her first birthday soon and will definitely be buying her big legos to start her off. Thanks for doing all the research and sharing with the world!
9 is a great age to get started with Lego! But definitely get some blocks for your youngest. Even a nice set of wooden blocks is packed with learning opportunities.
Thanks for this detailed post on the benefits of Lego. We love playing Lego in our house – it’s one of the only activities that keeps my 3 year old occupied for a good half hour! Enough time to get some household jobs done!
I’ve always encouraged playing with Lego as it really helps to build confidence in children – and you’ve mentioned even more benefits – even better!
Themed Lego does seem less creative and certainly more expensive! – but I just love it when my son runs in the kitchen and shouts “Mummy – look what I made!” – Priceless.
Thanks Teresa! Lego really is an amazing toy. I’m sure your son will be playing with Lego for more than 30 minutes as he gets older! I agree, the Lego themed sets can get pretty pricey. But they do make a great gift.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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?
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.
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?
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.
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
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!
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!
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.