LEGO® and other structure building toys are proved to develop STEAM skills in children aged 3 years to 5 years. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Construction toys like LEGO® Bricks, Mega Blox, and Wooden Blocks offer kids some exciting opportunities to explore 3-dimensional structures and create them.
Block play may develop a wide range of skills in the children if they start early; it encourages motor skills, spatial skills, language skills and antithetical problem-solving skills. Playing with construction toys is not like the usual fun kids have while playing in a park. There is another way to have fun with construction toys, which will help the children to develop the skills I mentioned earlier along with non-verbal intelligence that is crucial for achieving STEM skills. Playing with block toys will give them a doorway to visualize and analyze the 3-dimensional objects.
HOW? As a parent, you must understand the science of construction play!
There have been several studies on children below 6 years of age, who are offered to play building blocks for the first time. The studies suggest that toy blocks like linked with higher mathematical achievement. It works as a powerful tool and helps children develop –
- Hand-eye coordination
All toddlers are in an endless exploring mode all the time. Be it the things around them or their own body parts, they want to understand how everything works. Introducing LEGO® or other building blocks at this age will help them in hand-eye coordination.
- Spatial reasoning
They may not develop superior spatial skills as kids with only toy blocks but they will certainly be able to grasp the basic spatial knowledge by constructing more and more block structures.
- Cognitive flexibility
Cognitive flexibility is the ability to shift your focus from one stimulus to another. Many adults face difficulties when they’re loaded with multiple tasks at a time. Children, while playing with construction toys, are in a process for taking care of each side of the block structure they create. Focus and cognitive flexibility are the two tools in creating block models.
- Divergent problem-solving skills
There are two types of problems –
- Convergent problem: The problem that has only one correct solution. (Jigsaw puzzles)
- Divergent problem: The problem that has multiple explored/unexplored correct solutions. (LEGO® Bricks)
By playing with blocks, children develop divergent problem-solving skills which fuel them for more creativity.
- Engineering skills
It’s easy to see how construction play could teach valuable lessons about architecture and engineering. Builders who create small-scale structures must cope with the same laws of physics that constrain the design of bridges and cathedrals.
Sounds interesting? That’s because it is interesting more than we adults can even imagine! Engaging children with LEGO® at any age is perfect. They all have their own personal journey in exploring the bricks and shaping their imagination. However, the right kind of guidance will be a good support for the development of their skills.