Studies show that hands-on learning improves information retention, and teachers know that hands-on learning is key to engaging students in the classroom as well. Building with LEGO can teach kids critical skills without them even realizing they are learning! It can spark creativity, develop critical thinking skills, and explore basic STEAM concepts (it’s also just loads of fun!)
LEGO exposes students to basic science and engineering concepts, and an introduction to STEAM at an early age helps students to develop the critical thinking skills needed to excel in STEAM disciplines! Following instructions to assemble Lego also has a lot of benefits for children’s problem solving, focus and attention to detail. Ideas of symmetry, balance, shapes and sizes are explored during play with LEGO. Even with the instructions, children are still free to use their imagination! They may follow instructions and only alter a few parts, which allows for their own ideas to shine! There is always more than 1 solution to a problem, and exploring LEGO can demonstrate the ways to investigate a problem and find possible solutions!
LEGO can even be used in the classroom!
Engineering is all over LEGO! Even if your LEGO tower falls over, it’s an opportunity to learn engineering concepts. Want to build a bridge? Then you must figure out what it takes to stand up. Want to build a city? Children quickly learn that a tall skinny tower will quickly fall over. By creating a stable base, they open up a new world of possibilities for building and learning engineering concepts! Every LEGO creation is a work of art and engineering, and a child’s imagination is the only limit to their creations! Children quickly become innovative creators with the hundreds of tiny pieces in a bucket of LEGO.
This class was able to engineer a 20 foot long bridge that was strong enough for their principal to walk on. One class allowed students to each research an animal and its ecosystem, and then built it with LEGO. Or you could keep it simple and make your own customized LEGO chess set!
For younger students, using LEGO bricks is the perfect opportunity for building fine motor skills! LEGO bricks are a great tool for children to work their fingers as they build and even pick up LEGO pieces. Children love the thrill of building and they can do this for hours, all while building up the muscles in their hands that will help them do other skills requiring fine motor skills, such as learn to write.
For older students, when using LEGO Mindstorms robots then LEGO can become even more educational for older students by teaching very basic robotics and programming skills! They can code their robots to perform various tasks, and even make simple machines using code. (The usefulness of learning with robotics is a whole other post in itself!)
Lego is immensely versatile.
Buy a single set and you will be able to make stacks of different models. You may not even need to buy a set, many of us have old LEGO from when we were kids sitting in our basements, and LEGO is timeless. Where one day you are making a castle, the next you can make something completely different and take things apart just to create something new again every time!
So whether you’re learning programming skills with LEGO Mindstorms, or learning basic engineering principles through building LEGO structures, there are countless ways that children can learn through something as simple as LEGO!