Educational pioneers like Maria Montessori emphasized the centrality of play in children’s learning experiences. The basis of her educational theory, which has guided pedagogy for more than a century, is that play is a child’s work.
Montessori believed that through play, children learn to navigate the world around them, absorb and process new information, and develop critical thinking skills. Today, the concept of learning through play is firmly ingrained in our education systems and embraced by innovative companies such as LEGO®, which combine play with important areas like science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM).
LEGO®, a global leader in the toy industry, integrates the fun of building with the rich learning opportunities that STEAM offers. Their intricate sets, beloved by both children and adults, encompass a range of themes and often include interactive features, turning abstract STEAM concepts into tangible, hands-on learning experiences. This provides an avenue for the child to play, learn, and grow simultaneously, fostering a lifelong love of learning.
Educational researchers and practitioners agree: the process of play is not just about fun and games, it’s a fundamental mode of learning. Whether children are building a spaceship, solving a maze, or creating an intricate architectural masterpiece, they are constantly learning. LEGO® sets, with their infinite possibilities, make this process even more engaging and fruitful.
Benefits of Play
Enhanced Cognitive Development
Play stimulates a child’s brain and can lead to enhanced cognitive development. This is because play allows children to make connections between their physical world and their cognitive processes. Children who play with LEGO® sets are constantly learning, problem-solving, and developing important cognitive skills.
Development of Fine Motor Skills
Playing with LEGO® blocks helps to improve fine motor skills. The small pieces require precision and control to assemble, which aids in the development of hand-eye coordination and dexterity.
Improvement in Spatial Awareness
Building LEGO® sets can dramatically improve a child’s spatial awareness. They learn about dimensions, symmetry, balance, and perspective while creating their masterpieces.
The open-ended nature of LEGO® play boosts creativity. Children can create anything they can imagine, which encourages out-of-the-box thinking and innovation.
Encourages Teamwork and Communication
When kids engage in building a LEGO® set together, it encourages teamwork and communication. They learn to share, take turns, cooperate, and express their ideas effectively.
Top STEAM LEGO® Sets
LEGO® Technic Liebherr R 9800 Excavator (42100)
Set Number: 42100
Year Released: 2019
No. Pieces: 4108
RRP: £399.99 / $449.99 / 449.99€
The LEGO® Technic Liebherr R 9800 Excavator set provides a complex and engaging build for older children and adults alike. The kit comprises a 1:20 scale model of the Liebherr R 9800, one of the world’s largest mining excavators. With 4108 pieces and advanced functionality – including authentic hydraulics and two advanced Smart Hubs with seven motors – this set offers a unique hands-on learning experience into the mechanics and engineering principles behind heavy machinery.
LEGO® Ideas Tree House (21318)
Set Number: 21318
Year Released: 2019
No. Pieces: 3036
RRP: £214.99 / $249.99 / 249.99€
The LEGO® Ideas Tree House set is a wonderfully imaginative construction kit that inspires both creative thinking and environmental awareness. This intricate model comes with 3036 pieces, featuring a three-room treehouse with interchangeable leaves for summer and fall. This set is a testament to LEGO’s commitment to sustainability, as the leaves are made from a plant-based plastic derived from sustainably sourced sugarcane.
LEGO® Creator Expert Roller Coaster (10261)
Set Number: 10261
Theme: Creator Expert
Year Released: 2018
No. Pieces: 4124
RRP: £299.99 / $379.99 / 329.99€
The LEGO® Creator Expert Roller Coaster set is an engineering marvel, perfect for older builders interested in the mechanics of motion. With 4124 pieces, this set builds into a fully operational roller coaster, complete with a ticket booth, cotton candy cart, and an array of mini-figures. It’s an exciting and challenging build that integrates the principles of physics and design.
LEGO® Architecture Skyline Collection New York City (21028)
Set Number: 21028
Year Released: 2016
No. Pieces: 598
RRP: £44.99 / $59.99 / 49.99€
The LEGO® Architecture Skyline Collection New York City set offers builders the chance to recreate a miniature version of one of the world’s most iconic cities. With 598 pieces, this kit includes models of the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, Flatiron Building, and One World Trade Center. It is a great educational tool to explore architectural design and the history of these landmarks.
LEGO® MINDSTORMS Robot Inventor (51515)
Set Number: 51515
Year Released: 2020
No. Pieces: 949
RRP: £314.99 / $359.99 / 359.99€
The LEGO® MINDSTORMS Robot Inventor set is a robust introduction to robotics and coding for young tech enthusiasts. With 949 pieces and a richly featured app, builders can construct five different robots and program them to walk, talk, think, and do more than they ever imagined. It’s a wonderful entry point into the world of programming and robotics.
LEGO® Education SPIKE Prime Set (45678)
Set Number: 45678
Year Released: 2020
No. Pieces: 523
RRP: £414.99 / $399.95 / 454.99€
The LEGO® Education SPIKE Prime Set is designed to engage students in hands-on investigation of STEAM concepts. With 523 colorful, durable, and intuitive LEGO® building elements, students can create a variety of models while learning about science, technology, engineering, arts, and math. Paired with lesson plans and digital tools, it’s an excellent resource for learning at home or in the classroom.
LEGO® Star Wars Millennium Falcon (75192)
Set Number: 75192
Theme: Star Wars
Year Released: 2017
No. Pieces: 7541
RRP: £734.99 / $849.99 / 849.99€
The LEGO® Star Wars Millennium Falcon set is one of the largest and most detailed LEGO® models ever created. This impressive interpretation of Han Solo’s unforgettable Corellian freighter has 7541 pieces packed with intricate details and unique features, including intricate hull detailing, seven mini-figures, and a highly detailed interior. It’s a masterpiece of design that offers a rich, immersive build for Star Wars fans and large-scale model enthusiasts.
Foster Enjoyment of Learning at Home
In the ever-evolving landscape of education, a positive and fruitful learning experience extends beyond the traditional classroom environment. As parents or guardians, fostering a love of learning in your home is instrumental in shaping a child’s attitude towards education. It encourages the development of a curious, engaged, and life-long learner. Here are some effective ways to cultivate an enjoyable and enriching learning environment at home:
Encourage Children’s Curiosity and Never Dismiss Their Questions
Curiosity is at the heart of learning. By nurturing your child’s curiosity, you help them develop a love for exploration and discovery. Welcome their questions, as each one represents a learning opportunity. Remember, there’s no such thing as a silly question. Each inquiry is a step towards understanding the world around them.
Establish a Routine for Reading Together Every Day
Reading is a fundamental skill, and sharing this activity can make it a delightful experience. It expands vocabulary, develops empathy, and stimulates imagination. Make reading a daily routine, whether it’s a bedtime story or a quiet afternoon activity. Take turns reading aloud to make the experience interactive and engaging.
Set Aside Regular Family Game Nights to Encourage Problem-Solving
Games are a fantastic way to learn. They encourage strategic thinking, problem-solving, and cooperation. Regular family game nights, be it board games, card games, or LEGO® building challenges, can make learning fun and engaging.
Support Hobbies and Interests That Your Child is Passionate About
Every child has unique interests. It could be anything from painting and music to coding or astronomy. Encourage these interests and provide resources to delve deeper. This will not only develop their skills but also encourage self-driven learning.
Make Learning a Hands-On Activity with Fun DIY Projects
Hands-on activities are an excellent way to make learning tangible and exciting. DIY projects range from science experiments and craft projects to cooking and gardening. These activities make abstract concepts concrete and enable children to learn by doing.
Incorporate Technology and Digital Tools into Learning
In this digital age, technology is an integral part of education. There are countless educational apps and online resources to enhance learning. They offer interactive, personalized learning experiences that can make learning more engaging and efficient.
Make Real-World Connections to What They Learn
Linking what children learn to real-world contexts helps them understand the relevance of their education. Use everyday situations as learning opportunities. For instance, a grocery store trip can be a math and nutrition lesson.
Celebrate Efforts, Not Just Achievements
Focusing solely on outcomes can place undue pressure on children. It’s important to recognize and celebrate effort, resilience, and progress. This fosters a growth mindset, where children see challenges as opportunities to learn and grow rather than obstacles.
In conclusion, nurturing a love for learning at home sets the foundation for academic success and life-long learning. As Albert Einstein said, “Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think.” By fostering an engaging and enjoyable learning environment, we can encourage children to explore, discover, and think critically, setting them up for success in their educational journey.
How does play benefit learning?
Play stimulates cognitive development, enhances fine motor skills, improves spatial awareness, boosts creativity, and encourages teamwork and communication.
Why is LEGO® considered educational?
LEGO® combines the fun of building with the rich learning opportunities that STEAM subjects offer.
What are some of the best STEAM LEGO® sets?
Some top choices include the LEGO® Technic Liebherr R 9800 Excavator, LEGO® Ideas Tree House, and LEGO® Creator Expert Roller Coaster.
Can LEGO® help with home learning?
Yes, LEGO® sets can supplement home learning by providing practical, hands-on experiences for a variety of STEAM topics.
How can I foster a love of learning at home?
You can encourage curiosity, read together, have game nights, support your child’s interests, make learning hands-on, use technology, connect learning to the real world, and celebrate effort.
Are LEGO® sets age-specific?
While LEGO® sets do come with suggested age ranges for complexity and safety, they can be enjoyed by anyone who feels up to the challenge.
What’s the most intricate LEGO® set available?
The LEGO® Star Wars Millennium Falcon with 7541 pieces is one of the most intricate sets available.
As we conclude, remember we have a vast selection of LEGO® MOC sets available, catering to all levels of builders. From fostering fine motor skills in toddlers to inspiring creativity and problem-solving in older children and adults, LEGO® offers an engaging, fun way to learn. Let’s embrace Montessori’s wisdom, combining play and education to spark curiosity and a lifelong love of learning in our children. Happy building!