I’ve been re-discovering the joys and delights of Lego for a while now, thanks (mostly) to my son and his natural inclination towards creative and imaginitive play.
I don’t think people really give Lego enough credit for stimulating and encouraging children. Sure, everyone recognises the link with engineering but often don’t consider the versatility and potential of the humble brick.
Solo play includes the obvious tower/bridge/fortress options to build the tallest/longest/stongest construction and learning the associated science and engineering concepts, but why stop there? I think Lego could be used in just about any area of childhood (and adult) development.
In particular I think Lego is invaluable in learning co-operative play (collaboration to us big kids). Certainly collaboration can be learned with other toys or even without any props (story telling springs to mind) – Lego just makes such a potent combination, enabling multiple learning streams at once. Construction, sharing of parts, consistency of design, inter-operability of created objects, relevance to themes or story-lines, and timeliness of completion are all necessary skills in a successful co-operative play session. And don’t limit your thinking here to purely mechanical aspects (does my person fit the scale of the cash register my neighbour built?), but asthetics as well (do our colour schemes work together? am I using too many soft shapes vs. my neighbour’s angular objects?).
Problem solving skills and lateral thinking are big by-products of extended Lego play – you never have exactly the right bricks you need to create a non-catalogue object. I often wish some of my work associates had spent more time learning the habits of lateral thinking and problem solving as a child, because they appear to be incapable of learning them as an adult.
Lego can also save you money! Why bother buying all the latest “fad” toys when all you need is some Lego and a creative mind to have any toy you want (erm, or your children want – I guess :wink:). And your grown children can make a living from their Lego habit. It can even help us average joes too: interviewing methods incorporating Lego and all the collaborative features I’ve just mentioned are catching on, so your Lego skills may be the deciding point in your favour for your next job.
So, what prompted this explosion of Lego favour? As a sometime follower of the LEGOFan site, in excited by their new BrickJournal. The first issue is fabulous … and frustrating – I don’t want to wait for the next issue! 😀 I want it now, now, now, NOW!
(BrickJournal link via BoingBoing)