Legos: Messy Toys or Brainfood for Kids?

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A million colorful, tiny little bricks. Moms all over America (and cleaning ladies, too) cringe on a daily basis when finding these  building blocks on the floor, under the bed and in a thousand other places around their homes. That’s right—we’re talking about Legos. If you have a child, then chances are you have a Lego-lover.

With over 400 billion Lego pieces manufactured since 1958, there’s good reason why kids can’t resist these toys. And research has shown that moms should smile and not frown when finding those little itty bitty pieces all over their floors.  There’s evidence that Legos don’t just help your child build a fantasy house or dinosaur—they also build brain cells and critical development skills.

Amazingly, Legos have been found to help children develop:

Fine Motor Skills: As your child manipulates Legos, they’re developing small muscle movements called fine motor skills. These are the same skills that they need to develop for practical everyday tasks such as cutting with scissors, zipping a zipper and writing in school. Since Legos creates toys for all age groups, even toddlers, your child can start developing dexterity early.

Ability to Follow Directions: If you’re child has a hard time following directions, Legos may be your solution. Most Lego kits come with detailed instructions on how to build specific items. If your child wants to build that amazing helicopter that they see on the box, then they’ll need to follow the step-by-step instructions. Pull out a box of Legos and watch your child focus!

Math and Science Skills: Using Legos can help your child cultivate spatial reasoning and awareness of proportions. As your child creates, her little mind has to reason to decide which Lego pieces work best for what she is trying to create.  Legos come in various sizes, helping your child inadvertently learn about fractions and division.  As they build tall buildings and long bridges, children learn about supporting structures, weight and dimensions. Your little Lego-lover could be an engineer in the making.

Problem-Solving Skills: “Will the big blue brick fit with the small red one?  No! Then let’s try again.”  That’s the inner monologue of your child as the Lego pieces encourage him to use the trial and error method to create structures.  Kids must also map out mental plans in order to use Legos to make their ideas come alive.

Creativity: When adults look at Legos they see tiny toys. When children see Legos, they see skyscrapers, villages and strange universes waiting to be created. Legos can help stimulate your child’s creativity, which is something that will benefit them for a lifetime.

Teamwork and Competition: Did you know that there are actual Lego competitions?  Master Lego builders can enter competitions including Junior First League, for ages 6-9, and First Lego League for ages 9-14.  These international competitions allow teams of kids to work together to create challenging inventions.  Kids are judged on their final presentations as well as their ability to work in a team.

So the next time your child is bored, dump that bag of Legos all over the floor and watch the excitement.  Who cares about a messy house when you’re creating a future genius?

To learn more about Legos and child development visit:
The Lego education website
Lego Learning Institute
Education.com

Yolanda Darville is an American wife, mom and freelance writer living the island life in Nassau, Bahamas.  Connect with her on Twitter .

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