Do LEGO Sets limit creativity?
We all know that Lego bricks are an excellent way to encourage creativity in our kids. You can purchase Lego bricks and pieces by themselves. Or you can purchase complete sets with specific instructions that have a main build in mind. Do these main build style sets limit creativity in children? If they do, what are the other benefits of Lego for your children?
The History of Lego Sets
Lego has sold building sets for decades. They were invented in 1932 but the LEGO brick we know today was invented in 1958. The word LEGO comes from Danish roots and means “play well.” Love that!
The first sets were very simple and encouraged children to build other things once they were done. Sets continued to give kids other ideas they could build with sets for many years. Recently, sets – especially licensed sets – seem to have forgotten the importance of encouraging children to do more than just build the one set. An exception, of course, is the 3 in 1 Creator sets in which the set can be built in three different ways to create three different builds.
Should Parents Be Concerned?
While Lego doesn’t seem to encourage children to build their own creations with sets, there is still the drive for children to be creative with Lego bricks. Lego even has the Lego Ideas program where people can submit the plans for their creations and for the chance to have them turned into sets that Lego sells under the Lego Ideas brand. As a parent, you can also encourage your child to build new things. Once your child gets tired of looking at a set he built, encourage him to take it apart and build something new.
If your child struggles with creative thinking, you can always “one-off” a project and build creative thinking skills slowly. For example:
- What if the roof was sloped instead of flat? How could you build it that way?
- Do you think the mini-figures would like a blue door instead of a brown one? Can you show me?
- How many people can fit in that vehicle? Do you think we could make it bigger/smaller to fit more/fewer people?
How Can You Encourage Your Child?
Don’t limit yourself to buying your child sets. Buy the buckets of bricks. The buckets usually come with ideas of things children can build. You can also buy books that have building ideas. You can even go onto Pinterest and find hundreds of free sets of instructions. Sit down with your child and show him how he can take bricks and build whatever he dreams up. Encourage him to draw out his idea and then look through his bricks to see what pieces would work best.
LEGO sets, with or without instructions, are one of the most popular toys in this country. Regardless of how your child uses them, it can be a great conversation starter. So many kids play with LEGO, this can be a way for them to have an “in” socially if they struggle. Also, many libraries and other groups hold LEGO clubs. I’ve been to some, and yeah, some of them are a lot of parallel play. But everyone has start somewhere.
The Many Benefits of LEGO
Lego remains an excellent toy for children. Some kids cannot take a bucket of LEGO and think of something to build. That doesn’t mean that there are no benefits to these colorful bricks.
- Encourage creativity
- Practice fine motor skills
- Great for hand-eye coordination
- Gives children a sense of accomplishment
- Builds problem-solving skills
- Can even help calm anxious children
- Work on Math (counting)
- Language Development-colors, the story around your build, etc.
Even the main build style sets almost always incorporate play features that spur the imagination. Pick up a box of Lego bricks and see how your child responses to it. You’ll be amazed at how much this simple toy can do for your child.
Hey, I’m a mom. I know LEGOs are expensive. But, you have some great options for your investment. One is to keep favorite sets packed away in dry bins after the child has lost interest. LEGO is timeless and all generations enjoy them. However, if you’re like me and sometimes find your household overwhelmed with too many LEGO bricks, they really have great resale value. Package them up for a consignment sale or use a Facebook group. Either way, you won’t have to sell them for pennies on the dollar like we do sometimes with clothes or other toys.