It’s a bird, it’s a plane, a space craft, sports complex, robot, or perhaps an enchanted forest! It’s anything you can dream, and a box of LEGO.
As technology expands its influence over the learning lives of our children there is a growing concern that certain critical learning skills may be neglected or delayed. In fact, in recent studies, it was found that children spend an average of six hours or more in front of screens every day, which is changing the way modern children connect with their environment.
The benefits or detriments of media and children may still be up for further study and debate, but most will agree on the importance of providing opportunities for a wide range of learning, including the type of hands on creative play that building blocks have supplied for generations.
Through the use of Lego, children can build skills such as fine motor control, creativity, spacial awareness, and problem solving.
Looking at a big, messy pile of blocks, can you dream of a playground, a haunted house, or perhaps a candy factory? Imagining and selecting blocks with a theme in mind can build creative IQ as well as visual spacial skills.
What about working in three dimensions? Blocks are a wonderful way to creatively link space in height, width, and length. If you have a door, how many more blocks do you need to build up a side frame before you can put a roof over the house? How long should the house be? Can you match up a roof with different angles to the blocks?
Suppose you have a couple of Lego tires and axles, but the front tires are larger than the back tires. You need to find just the right size and shape of a block to connect your axles so that your vehicle is balanced. You try one block but it’s not quite high enough. You’ll need to find a thin, flat block to get that extra height. This is a great exercise in problem solving techniques!
Of course, not every child has access to a wide variety of Lego blocks, and even for those who do, joining with other Lego enthusiasts is a wonderful way to include social and communication skills to the many benefits of Lego play.
Monday afternoons from 4:30 to 5:30, children ages 6 to 12 are welcome to join the Bowman Library for their weekly Lego Club. Each week a theme will be introduced and the kids will brainstorm ways they can create something with that theme in mind.
After they have completed their masterpiece, the children will have an opportunity to display their work through the week in the Bowman children’s department. At the end of the week, the blocks will magically disassemble and be ready for a brand new challenge.
Lego Club will start up again on January 9th and themes for the month will include:
- Snow and ice sports, toys, or machines
- Penguins and their habitats
- Chinese New Year celebration
- Places where animals hibernate
Even more great challenges are planned for February. Lego Club is a free program, so stop by and join us!