Ideas for Learning with LEGO
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Living with LEGO-Crazy Kids
You know we love LEGO® in this house.
We have had LEGO parties, have an amazing LEGO organizing system and gone on a scavenger hunt to find the Lion Temple. Chuck and I have always prioritized open-ended toys that require imagination over any other toys. We lean toward blocks, toy animals, art supplies…and, once they were old enough, LEGO!
Why Learning with LEGO is a Great Idea
LEGO, especially LEGO Classic sets (vs themed sets) are the ultimate open-ended toy. They are nothing but colorful, plastic bricks that have somehow inspired generations of kids. My brothers and I used to spend hours creating with LEGO together. We built houses and entire cities. My brothers’ favorite game was to have us each create a spaceship and then have a war with them. My oldest brother always won those…go figure.
While I am a huge fan of unstructured play for kids, some kids need some encouragement. AP struggles with appropriate unstructured play and building with LEGO is a real struggle for her (and yet so good to encourage creativity!) Here are ways to encourage learning with LEGO for kids who might need a little push.
Learning with LEGO: Scavenger Hunt
There are so many ways to do this!
Number hunt (find a 4×4 brick, find 3 2×6 bricks, etc).
Color hunt (for younger kids): find all the yellow pieces, red pieces, etc. Sort LEGO by color. Make a rainbow.
Learning with LEGO: build a LEGO mosaic.
Tilly has so much fun recreating the classic LEGO logo. We created this using this book, but this link has instructions and some cute printables!
LEGO Building Challenge
We played this game at Avi and Apollo’s LEGO birthday party a couple of years ago. It was a huge hit and I was so impressed with the pieces the kids built. You can download a free printable here.
LEGO Piece Guessing Game
Place a LEGO piece in front of the child. Put a handful of LEGO into a small bag or box. Have your children reach in and try to find the matching piece. This is a great sensory activity based on the principles of Montessori.
Learning with LEGO: Tell a Story with LEGO
Have your child tell a story with LEGO. After BEN! proposed to Iris, Enoch reenacted the scene with LEGO pieces. This play can be extended endlessly. Kids can build scenes from history, from their favorite books, their dream vacation…
Learning with LEGO: Classic LEGO Stretches the Imagination.
While my kids love the themed LEGO sets such as the Chima Lion Temple and LEGO Friends sets, I am a huge fan of the LEGO Classic. These sets yield themselves to endless creativity. While the boxes do come with instructions for a few projects they are more ideas to launch the child, than directions. These make the perfect give for the LEGO fan (when you don’t know what sets they already own). I loved that LEGO Classic came with a couple of new colors (mint green and lavender) that we don’t have in other sets.
When you open a new LEGO set, always have your kids dump the pieces onto a cookie sheet. That way tiny pieces don’t get lost or knocked out of the way before you even have a chance to finish building the set.
Learning with LEGO for Kids with Autism
The Autism Site has a great article on how to use LEGO bricks to teach social skills.
Futurity has an article about a study using LEGO in ABA therapy.
How do your kids play with LEGO? Do you have reluctant builders?