7 benefits of LEGO® play for kids (and adults)

It turns out that LEGO® play has far-reaching developmental benefits for kids, way more impactful than just fine motor coordination. Even better: we go on benefitting from LEGO® play as adults. Here are just a few of the reasons you need to join your kids the next time they get out the LEGO® bricks:

#1 Teamwork and communication

Sharing, discussing your building strategy and assigning roles is an important part of the process of a LEGO® build. It can even help to increase language development. According to a 2007 study of children from lower and middle income families in the USA, the parents of kids who played with building blocks generally reported better verbal skills in their children.

#2 Patience and organisational skills

The ability to plan, organise and then execute are all critical skills that can be applied to any goal orientated actions in life. With LEGO® bricks and models, these skills can be tested and exercised using the construction process as a tool. Moreover, when things aren’t going as planned, it’s the positive action of going back to the drawing board and re-thinking the original plan that helps to teach kids perseverance and resilience.

#3 Constructive problem solving and lateral thinking

Which brings us to thinking creatively in order to solve a problem – such as a teetering LEGO® tower that is going to topple over at any moment. Thinking laterally to save the design is just part of the creative process of playing with LEGO® bricks and yet another essential life skill we could all do with.

#4 Adventure and experimentation

Playing with LEGO® bricks offers a secure space in which to experiment, try things you’ve never tried – and sometimes fail. From the excitement of the initial idea to the disappointment when it doesn’t work out, creating the space to play around with ideas is exactly the sort of space needed for creative thinking and problem solving.

LEGO, 1960s
An LEGO advert dating back to the 1960s.

#5 Fine motor skills development

Perhaps it goes without saying, but we’ll say it anyway: the small, precise movements that need to be coordinated together when building with LEGO® bricks is what will help strengthen a child’s fine motor skills.

#6 Increases spatial awareness

When you’re given a blueprint of a construction you have to build, it’s your ability to think in 3D that is most tested. Why is this so important? Well, it is believed that spatial intelligence is a critical factor in your ability to think as an engineer, artist or architect. It’s the essential skill required to think in physical shapes.

#7 Better focus and concentration

It takes time to learn to settle and concentrate – for kids, learning to do this without feeling frustrated or pressured helps to create good associations with focus time. For adults, playing with LEGO® bricks can help you to put all the other life worries out of your mind in almost meditative fashion. In fact, immersion in LEGO® play helps with relaxation, and stress management, so make sure you get a regular fix!

Sort and store your LEGO smartly

It’s every LEGO® enthusiast’s struggle: where to put all those pieces. Many of us opt to throw them all in one great container only to curse ourselves later on when we’re trying to find that one important piece. It’s a no-brainer to sort your LEGO® pieces out once and for all so that you’ll never interrupt a build with a lengthy and frustrating search again. Here are a few great pointers to help you get started:

Keep your minifigures intact

If you’re into collectible LEGO® sets then this is for you. Those one-off edition mini-figures have specific accessories and artwork that’s worth preserving. Keep them the way they came by placing them all upright onto standard LEGO® platforms. Not only will you prevent scratching or reduce the risk of losing accessories, you’ll also be able to see them all at one glance for easy selection later on.

Decide on a sort approach

How you sort your LEGO® bricks is up to you. A common method is to store pieces by size and colour to make them easier to find.

It’s important to take into consideration your preferred uses for specific pieces and colours to ensure you have no difficulty finding them when you’re in the middle of a build.

In fact, take a moment before you start the sorting process to plan exactly how you are going to sort pieces to save yourself from any confusion later on.

LEGO® storage choices

Stackable plastic containers are the most practical option. You can find a range of sizes and designs at plastic warehouses such as Mambo’s or Plastics for Africa.

If you’re feeling especially industrious and are keen to make your own storage unit, consider making each unit front transparent so that it is easy to see what is in each.

Find more inspiration on how to sort your LEGO® collection by watching this video of an architect’s LEGO® filled basement:

Got some of your own LEGO® storage tips? Share them with us in the comments below.