Updated: Feb 26, 2020
Lego. The brightly coloured bricks that come in various shapes and sizes, are suitable for all ages and have the ability to make a grown up cry! (You've stepped or knelt on Lego right?!)
The benefits of playing with Lego are huge for your child’s development and as today is ’International Lego Day‘ it‘s the perfect day to explore why and look at some of the ways you can help.
By 9 months babies are able to reach for objects and pass them between both hands. The bright colours of the bricks are inviting to them and the texture and shape are fun to explore and are often very useful as an aid for teething! Duplo may not be suitable in the way it is intended to be but it provides a different kind of sensory experience.
You could add some bricks to your babies play box or use them while doing a fun sensory activity like water play, painting or gloop or add to a sensory bag.
As babies turn one, they will delight in seeing you build a tower from the bricks but will be keen to deconstruct it! This is all part of developing their understanding of cause and effect-seeing the consequences to their actions and is crucial for learning about the world around them. So don't get too disheartened when your little one has taken apart the creation you have spent all afternoon on!
As toddlers approach 18 months they possess the skills to put one or more bricks together. This is where Duplo is fantastic for enhancing their fine motor skills, strengthening those muscles which they will need for handwriting later on and developing their concentration and attention.
Once you’re child has reached two, their imagination and language will be fast developing and they will be able to tell stories through their building. Putting together, choosing the right shape, colour and size of brick all helps them understand mathematical concepts.
At three years and beyond you might find your child is able to use Lego to build with and the skills they will have acquired from playing with Duplo will prove useful.
To further your child's mathematical development you can ask your child to sort the bricks into colours, get them to count how many bricks are in a tower or use the bricks for measuring.
With my daughter we have used Duplo bricks as number blocks to help her adding and subtracting and she has used them for grouping, division and fractions.
With one of my brick obsessed toddlers, we combined his love of painting with Duplo and used the bricks to paint with! He has also enjoyed using the bricks for printing into Playdough.
For going travelling on a train or plane or while waiting for dinner in a restaurant, making up a brick bag (putting one of the instruction cards from Duplo or a booklet from Lego into a Ziplock bag and adding all the required pieces) makes it easy to build on the go.
And it’s not just kids who can benefit from playing Lego. It is a great way for grown ups to forget about all the stresses that adulting brings so make sure you get your own regular fix too!