Who doesn’t love LEGO? Enjoyed by millions worldwide, this toy has been a staple of childhood since it was first developed way back in the 30s and 40s. Whether young or old, there’s plenty of enjoyment and fun to be had, whether collecting, building sets, or merely emptying a ton of bricks onto a dinosaur rug or dino playmat and letting your imagination and creativity run wild.
The developmental benefits of building with LEGO are far-reaching, making this toy one of the most impactful in developing skills essential to child development. Whether it’s fine motor skills, communication skills, or simply helping kids to become more patient, organized, and able to better deal with frustration, LEGO offers more than almost any other toy you can think of, making it a must-have essential for any dino toy box.
Whether playing individually or in a group with friends – these benefits are vast. They will help your child develop mastery of the full range of developmental skills that building early will help determine success later on in life.
In this article, we cover many of these benefits, including both the obvious and the not-so-obvious. These – we hope – will make a case for you to go out and stock up on these fantastic building bricks if, for some reason, you haven’t already.
8 benefits of playing with LEGO and other construction toys
With the introduction out of the way, let’s get to the core of this post – here are our picks of 8 of the best benefits that LEGO and other constructions toys have to offer, helping aid your child’s development through play.
1. Builds communication, language, and teamwork skills
While LEGO is excellent as a solo activity – it’s even better to do in a group. Its open-ended nature is ideal for collaborative play, with kids getting together to plan and execute whatever their imaginations can dream up as a team, promoting better communication, language skills, and of course – teamwork.
It’s also a great activity if you’re playing host, whether at a kid’s birthday party or even just babysitting for friends or family. LEGO gives you a pretty hands-off way of keeping the little ones amused without you having to do much more than provide light adult supervision.
And it’s not just great for the kids either! Unpacking and putting together a giant LEGO set that’s far too complicated for them to do on their own is a great way to spend the afternoon bonding with your little one. It’s also a great excuse to go to the LEGO store and buy that enormous set you’ve had your eye on but are too embarrassed to walk in and buy as a grown-up.
2. Improves spatial awareness, problem-solving, and math skills
Following instructions, working out order, understanding quantity, patterns, symmetry, and bricks’ location – all of these require spatial awareness, problem-solving, and math skills. This is one area in which LEGO excels, being second to none when it comes to toys that offer benefits in developing and improving these skills and your little one’s level of understanding.
There are plenty of creative activities out there, but many of these – like painting, drawing, or coloring in dino coloring books and printable dinosaur coloring pages – are 2D. On the other hand, with LEGO, you’re free to create in all three dimensions. This makes LEGO great for developing spatial awareness, being a great way to introduce your little one to some of the basic physics concepts, helping to give them a better understanding of how objects move through space.
While there is undoubtedly plenty of problem-solving to be had in free play, structure play – like that offered by a LEGO dinosaur set – is where this activity shines. This playstyle is also great for helping concentration and attention to detail, as they need to follow a set of instructions to finish the build.
3. Promotes creativity and experimentation
When it comes to open-ended, creative play – toys don’t come much better than LEGO. They promote experimentation by their very nature, putting bricks together in new and interesting ways to realize whatever creations your little one’s mind can dream up. With LEGO, the possibilities are endless.
LEGO really excels with experimentation, providing your child a secure, safe space in which they can experiment to their heart’s content, with no risk if they fail. This freedom to try and fail without any negative consequences is highly beneficial to a whole range of critical developmental skills. However, they’re especially useful when it comes to problem-solving and creative thinking.
Sure, there may be a little disappointment from time to time when they fail to succeed – but that’s part of life and something worth exposing them to best prepare them for life. But just like life, if they come back again and again, trying new ideas and experiments, they’ll eventually pull it off, leaving them with an immense feeling of accomplishment.
4. It helps the development of fine motor skills
This benefit has to be the most obvious and should perhaps go without saying – LEGO is great for developing fine motor skills. The bricks’ size, along with the precision movements and coordination needed to put a project together, will do more for developing dexterity and strength in little hands than any other toy.
As well as putting the bricks together themselves, there are also plenty of models and other accessories that require fine motor skills. Things like operating cranes or the moveable parts of a dinosaur figure to moving cars contribute to developing these skills.
And this is essential today, now more than ever – as we find out children getting more and more screen time than playing with more traditional toys. Sure, this means when it comes to smart devices, they run rings around us. But while they may be pros at swiping between apps and videos, this isn’t going to do them much good when it comes to building and fine-tuning the dexterity they’ll need to do pretty much anything that isn’t playing on their iPad or tablet.
5. Builds perseverance, persistence, and better frustration management
When kids first start to play with LEGO and other brick toys, it can be pretty frustrating. Getting the bricks to fit together, or preventing them from coming tumbling down, takes time to master – something which can be upsetting to inexperienced, novice builders.
But don’t despair; it’s all part of the process. They’ll soon start to develop mastery, and at the same time, they’ll learn to manage their frustration better while building perseverance and persistence. And once they do, few toys have as much to offer when it comes to creative play as LEGO – making it a toy they’ll get more enjoyment out of than any other.
These newly acquired skills will help your little ones start developing resilience, learning to try out new ideas, and builds without the fear of failure – something essential to success in later life.
6. Builds confidence and self-esteem
One of the best things about playing with LEGO is that it offers a wide variety of play styles. It provides structured play, in the form of following instructions to complete a set or play that is entirely free, with a pile of bricks letting you build pretty much anything you can dream up.
When it comes to the latter, this freedom helps build and foster a sense of confidence and high self-esteem. This is because there are no right or wrong answers – think of it, and start putting it together, experimenting as you go to realize your LEGO creation.
And after a few hours at it, when you lay that final brick to complete your build, there’s an immense sense of achievement and satisfaction that you’ll struggle to find with other toys and activities, both of which will do plenty to boost your child’s self-esteem.
7. It helps combat anxiety and stress
While it might not seem it at first – especially if you’re only just introduced your little one to LEGO – playing with the famous plastic bricks can be incredibly calming and relaxing, helping curb stress and anxiety. Still, taking their mind off of everything and focusing on the creation they’re constructing.
This is one of the main things that adults enjoy about LEGO. It offers an escape from any of the usual worries of life, letting you switch off and focus on building – which can be incredibly relaxing and beneficial for managing stress.
If you’re not yet playing with LEGO (we’re looking at you moms, as we know dad’s love nothing more than to get into a vast, complex LEGO set!) – we’d highly recommend it! It’s a great way to unwind after a hard day at the office. Kick back, grab a glass of wine, follow the instructions, and get to grips with one of the brand’s popular giant sets – you’ll feel much better after you have!
8. Increases patience and helps build organizational skills
When children are first introduced to LEGO, it can be a pretty frustrating trial and error process, which can leave them feeling disappointed and upset. However, as time goes on, they’ll learn to develop patience, as well as to perfect their organizational skills, as they keep coming back until they finally succeed.
This process can be tricky, and with most things related to child development, kids will get there at different rates. As parents, the best thing you can do is keep encouraging them, bringing them back, and helping them get the hang of it. Once they do, you’ll find few toys that provide as much joy as LEGO once they’ve mastered it.
It’s also worthwhile for another reason – many of LEGO’s skills are also needed for success later on in life. The ability to put a plan in place, organize, and execute are all critical skills that they’ll need to apply not just as children but also throughout their entire lives. Using LEGO to help them develop and perfect these skills early on will give them a distinct advantage over others, right through school and into adulthood.
9. It helps build concentration and focus
LEGO is the antidote to all the trappings of the modern world, being the perfect toy to help pull your little ones away from their smartphones, tablets, and the TV. All of which have little to offer or can even harm focus and concentration.
In contrast, playing with LEGO enables your child to become hyper-focused with the task at hand, and they’ll be unlikely to deviate from building until their creation is complete. Developing this ability to focus isn’t just useful for playing with construction toys. Still, it will also carry through to other areas, such as studying and doing homework, practicing and learning instruments, or any other similar task requiring concentration.
Whether following the instructions to build a set, thinking and planning out their next creation, or merely waiting their turn or debating with their little friends on what comes next if they’re making in a group – all of these tasks involve plenty of focus and concentration to pull off.
Well, there you have it – our picks of 9 of the best child development benefits that LEGO has to offer.
While some of the benefits we’ve included – like fine motor skills, problem-solving, and creativity – are pretty obvious, others might not be quite so apparent at first.
The key takeaway here is that LEGO has so much to offer – so much so that it is a toy that no kid should be without.
We hope you’ve found this post interesting – and if there isn’t already an ample supply of LEGO in your little one’s toy box, with any luck, we’ve inspired you to go out and get some!