LEGO construction toys are brilliant! Colourful little blocks in red, yellow, blue, green, and black, ready for a child to use their imagination in creating treasures that usually get displayed proudly around their bedroom. But did you know these little blocks have another hidden secret?
When my son Dylan was little, he was a huge LEGO fanatic! He loved to go to the toy store with me and pick out the latest Star Wars LEGO pack. We probably had one for every month from the time he turned four.
In fact, he got so good at putting the tiny pieces together by just looking at the following instruction booklet pictures that he was often finished constructing by the time I managed to get a cup of tea to sit down and help him! My husband and I were always amazed at how precise Dylan was and if he made any mistakes or it fell apart, he was patient enough to put it back together again. He was a pro and could build creations double his age range, often putting together pieces meant for 9+.
Dylan could spend hours playing with us and making up stories with the mini-figures, but the real joy was getting a new box to construct another starship or starfighter to add to his collection. When Dylan started Year 1 and began writing his name in such beautiful handwriting (he had only just turned five as he is a summer baby), it had me thinking…
What are the benefits of LEGO blocks? Can playing with LEGO toys really help my child’s writing and improve their pencil grip and writing creativity?
LEGO is an excellent tool for helping your child with their writing both physically and mentally. A few years ago, when I was teaching Year 1, I had a student named James who was struggling with his handwriting and the pressure was on me to get him to make progress with his writing. James was part of my morning hand gym group and on Mondays and Wednesdays, we would play with playdough, pick up pom poms, and complete other recommended activities to help his group build their fine motor skills.
One day just before Christmas break, I remember his dad asking me what else could they do at home to help. I recommended that he get a LEGO set. I forgot all about this advice until the start of January. On the first day of the new term, James was very excited and brought me his work.
"Mrs. Cook, I have something to show you!" he beamed.
I nearly fell off my chair in shock! His handwriting was small, precise, and stunning with every letter written clearly. When I asked James how he could write so beautifully, he shrugged and responded that he had gotten LEGO toys for Christmas and spent the holiday playing with them. His dad even told him to tell me, thank you!
Now if that isn’t proof, I don’t know what is. James was so proud of his work and even brought me photos of the LEGO creations that he constructed.
Amazing, now let’s take a look at the other benefits.
1. LEGO can help build your child’s fine motor skills
Since LEGO blocks are made of tiny pieces, your child needs to use movements when they make their LEGO designs that are more focused on their fingers. They also need to push the pieces together or pull them apart as they play with them. This results in well-developed fine motor skills and improved hand strength, which are much needed for a good pencil grasp.
Playing with LEGO toys can help your child to develop dexterity and strength in their fingers. The different amounts of pressure used to assemble Lego pieces is an excellent exercise for small fingers. This practice can support how your child holds a pencil and controls the pressure when applied to writing.
2. LEGO can develop your child’s communication and language skills
Good writing requires the ability of a child to communicate thoughts and ideas and use imagination to create stories. When your child builds a model with LEGO bricks, they learn how to communicate with others if they are with another child or adult and how to share ideas about negotiation and compromise. If your child engages in individual play, they may create stories, adding characters and dialogue, which helps to build their language development.
3. LEGO can help your child become a creator and story maker
LEGO toys can help your child to develop their creativity and experimentation skills. When given the opportunity to freestyle with LEGO bricks, your child is given the freedom to use their imagination and allow their self-expression to flow. They can experiment and test out new ideas; enterprising their story-making. This can be a great activity to do as a family.
4. LEGO can help your child to build their self-confidence
When your child constructs with LEGO, whether that be through following instructions in the manual or from an idea of their own mind, they feel a sense of accomplishment, and pride, and get a self-esteem boost. This can inspire them to try out more complex tasks when they feel ready, a great skill for budding writers.
5. LEGO can help your child build their focus and concentration skills
When your child writes a story, they need the ability to focus on the task. LEGO creations require similar levels of concentration too. Whether your child is following instructions, planning what pieces come next, listening to others’ ideas, or waiting their turn when building in a group, this all take takes huge amounts of focus and attention. This can support your child in building their concentration skills.
Who would have thought those colourful little blocks of plastic could have such magical benefits?
For more information about LEGO go to their website www.lego.com for their latest collections.
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