During the Great Depression Danish carpenter Ole Kirk Christiansen started building smaller projects due to lack of demand for his typical projects such as custom furniture and ground up new construction homes. Building smaller items was the initial inspiration towards making toys and eventually Legos.
Initially Legos were not a hit like they are today but during the last 3 decades the Lego industry exploded. “Annual production of Lego bricks averages approximately 36 billion per year, or about 1140 elements per second. If all the Lego bricks ever produced were to be divided equally among a world population of six billion, each person would have 62 Lego bricks.” en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lego
Legos are a staple for almost every child in this country just like pb& j sandwiches. Kids can be happily entertained for hours by these little bricks. Girls, boys, toddlers, tweens; all kids love Legos.
There are additional benefits to playing with building bricks besides just having fun and giving mom & dad a break. The educational benefits include:
· provide a meaningful context for children to learn concepts, skills and divergent thinking
· make learning fun and enjoyable while improving fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination
· encourage children to explore and discover together and on their own which improves their social skills
· allow children to extend what they are learning and build confidence
· encourage children to experiment and take risks
· provide opportunities for collaborative learning with adults and peers
· allow for the practice of spatial skills, language skills and problem solving skills
Legos play on children’s strengths. It helps work on strong building skills which come naturally to some children and constantly exposes them to new ideas. Is this where the future architect or great builder is molded and shaped?
Legos aren't just for kids anymore. There is Lego Architecture which is a specific line of products for adults that celebrates architecture and construction. They have sets for Sydney Opera House, the Eiffel Tower, Guggenheim Museum and Frank Lloyd Wright’s “Falling Water”.
So next time you sit down to play Legos with your kids embrace the chance to reconnect with you inner childhood architect. Play well.