Celebrating Fun and Learning on National LEGO Day

Lego, Build, Building Blocks, Toys, Children, HandIt’s hard to find a kid who isn’t excited to dig into a big pail of LEGO blocks. You don’t have to be an expert architect to have a great time telling stories, trying new building strategies, and bringing ideas to life — it’s a toy that’s just plain fun, even as a parent.

To make these cool and colorful blocks even better, they facilitate construction play, which is an important part of the way kids develop logic and spatial reasoning. Regular play with LEGOs and other construction toys is linked to significant developmental boosts, so it’s productive playtime that everyone can feel great about.

This January 28th is National LEGO Day, commemorating the day on which Danish LEGO inventor Godtfred Kirk Christiansen filed the patent for the original block set. Since then, the toy has gained international acclaim, becoming a near-ubiquitous childhood toy and acting as a tool and facilitator in both educational and therapeutic applications for kids with learning differences and ASD.

Some of the lesser-known benefits of LEGO play include:

  • Improvement in cognitive flexibility: Switching back and forth between tasks easily, also called cognitive flexibility, is a skill which children must master through practice. In an assessment of 3-7 year old children participating in a semi-structured block play intervention, those engaging in construction play saw gains in cognitive flexibility. [1]
  • Proclivity for personal goal-setting: When approaching construction toys, many children build with a vision in mind, setting forth a goal for their project and using logic, trial, and error to refine the process. A review of studies on construction play reveals that the play style naturally encourages children to be more goal oriented and use perseverance. [2]
  • Increase in social skills: Using social skills helps kids to form healthy peer relationships and learn to work as a team, but overcoming social and communication handicaps can take time and intervention from parents and teachers. A three year study of LEGO therapy and social play determined that children who engaged in LEGO therapy gained more skills than those participating in comparable non-play therapy. [3]

To learn more about the educational and therapeutic power of LEGO play, check out this handy infographic by Muddy Smiles.