Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Lego: The Power of Play

I loved Lego when I was a kid and I love it even more as a parent. In my mind, Lego is a super toy. It embodies invention, transformation, creativity, experimentation, engineering, science...it's great for teaching patience, organization and fine motor skills and, when more that one child plays with it, it's also a great training ground for social skills. Pretty awesome stuff.

Jonas has recently stopped needing help when putting together Lego kits!

One of the flip sides of ADHD is something called hyper-focus. That's when Jonas can concentrate on something so thoroughly that it's like everything else in the world disappears. There aren't many things that will capture Jonas's attention like this. He can play with Lego for hours, making things out of his own mind and coming up with elaborate scenarios to play out with them. It can be a pretty powerful transformation, expecially when we harness it towards something that can be so good for him.

One of the differences between Lego now and when I was a a kid, is that it seems that most Lego now comes in pre-designed kits You can still buy boxes of blocks, but these kits take it one step further. They have characters, themes and directions. You name it and there is probably a kit out there that will let you make it out of Lego. (Lego Star Wars, Nascar and Ninjas are three hot items in this house.)  The idea of following directions when playing with Lego seemed all wrong to me when Jonas first started playing with it. Mom and Dad had to build it and that's not the point of Lego, in my mind. Also, it could take us hours to put something together that would be broken in two minutes. When tears flow from parents and child it's not a positive toy endorsement.

Jonas loves Star Wars, especially Darth Vadar. It must have taken two hours to put together.
I'm not sure who cried more when it broke - the boy or the dad.
I've come around in my thinking over the past year or so. Jonas is now able to follow the directions on his own to build the kits. This is a really important developmental step and we're thrilled to see Jonas make it. He's only recently stopped asking for help when he's building stuff. It's pretty cool to watch. On the other hand, creativity is also important and it's great to see that not get stifled...

Mutant men trying to save one who's fallen in quicksand.



  1. Jac, I also love Lego. I had a great starter set given to me by my godfather when I was 6 or 7. My boys also love it but when challenged, I'm the one who puts the sets together, not hubby (he's challenged by all instructions, ranging from assembling car track sets to bbqs). Anyway, I still get the same enjoyment. My boys have specific themed sets but also a large tub of general pieces...it's great because when they're tired of the sets, I throw all the pieces into the tub and save the instructions in there too. You're doing a great job in keeping the challenge for Jonas!

  2. Thanks Margaret! It's a big hit with all four of us here. Good for you for being the assembly woman! I like playing with it to. ;)