One of the things I’ve wanted most for my children is that they have a active and free imagination.
Imagination in a child can be such a powerful tool! Many successful people and those in important careers such as peace officers, doctors, pilots, and firemen dreamed as children and imagined themselves to be where they are now.
While movies and cartoons, in small doses, can help to feed that imagination, too much screen time can prove to be counterproductive as it promotes laziness in both the body and in the brain.
A child ceases to put his imagination to work with toys and building materials, while continually craving more media stimulation.
One thing I have noticed with my children, as we have consistently chosen to keep the television off for most of the day is that not only do they no longer continually ask to watch cartoons, they have begun to be more imaginative and innovative in their play.
My 5 1/2 year old can literally spend all morning long building an elaborate train track that sprawls across half the living room with 3 different sets of tracks and Legos, while my 4 year old sits by and watches in fascination (and eagerly tries to help out).
It has been a joy to witness how their imagination has begun to blossom.
While my husband and I have a policy that we will not spend over a certain amount of money for toys, we have both said that when it comes to Lego sets, we are willing to spend slightly more.
Not only do children tend to play with them for much longer than they do other toys, but Legos can be used for more than just building.
1. They help build small motor skills. Whether its Mega Bloks or the small Legos pieces, they require a child to manipulate the blocks into structures by stacking and building. They also help to build good hand-eye coordination.
2. They help promote strategy and planning skills. After a child imagines what he wants to build, he needs to be able to visualize the necessary steps to achieve his goal. In his mind he sees the finished product, but in front of him are a pile of little plastic squares and rectangles. He needs to plan how those bits of plastic can become the finished product.
3. They teach children how to follow instructions. On the box is an exciting and colorful rocket, race car, or robot. Inside is a bag full of little blocks, and a detailed instruction manual for how to put the little blocks together so they resembled what the box looks like. In order to put the Legos together, a child has to learn to follow the instructions carefully, or they will not be satisfied with the outcome. This is a very important life tool to have!
4. They stimulate the imagination. One of the Lego sets I love the most is Lego City. With the vehicles and buildings, a child can be instantly transported into a whole new world where they can build and arrange their own town with roads and buildings and houses.
5. They teach letter, color, shape recognition. Teach young children colors and shapes with Lego blocks and wheels. Then have them sort the colors. You can also make letter tracing mats and have them use Legos to create the letters!
6. They teach math. Have you seen the meme? From simple addition and subtraction to fractions and algebra, your child will learn math and have fun with it. Check out this Lego Math Learning Activities round up post!
8. They teach history. Grab your Legos and build the Mayflower an illustrate the Civil War. Bring the story of Noah’s ark alive or build a giant Lego man-eating wale! You can bring history to life by building it with Legos. Better yet, tell the stories and then give your kids a homework assignment to build them with Legos to see how well they comprehended their history lesson!
This post is day 4of the series: 31 Days of Screen Free Activities for Kids. To see all of the posts in this series visit this page.
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