Plus, you'll have a lot of fun and learn from each other.
- Parker Barry
Building play lets kids bring their creative ideas to life. It develops fine motor skills and spatial reasoning skills. And it’s fun for all ages, making it a great way for parents and kids to play together, building bonds while building with toys. While you build together, you can model problem solving and creative thinking without saying a word about it. While your hands are busy building, you’re free to talk and share and laugh about anything.
- Let the kids lead. Take a lesson from Lord Business (AKA the dad voiced by Will Ferrell) in “The LEGO Movie” and don’t be a control freak, micromanaging the creations or getting stuck, figuratively and literally (remember Kragle?) in building only one way. Let kids try out their own techniques to build what they envision. It’s OK to let them fail — that’s where the learning comes in!
- Try a variety of building tools. You don’t have to wait until kids are old enough for LEGO to start bonding while building.
- Classic wooden blocks are fun for everyone and great for toddlers. Little builders may start just by stacking blocks to build a tower, but they’ll mimic your building structures eventually and then start to build more complex creations as well.
- Magnetic tiles are beautiful and fun to build with, and they’re preschool friendly. The brightly colored shapes are a bit more precarious, with structures collapsing easily, so kids have to use a careful hand while building. Kids will see, hands on, how two triangles can make a square, and they’ll learn about magnetism.
- Think outside the box, too, for building together — put together marble runs, train tracks or gingerbread houses.
- Mix it up. You don’t need to limit building play to one toy at a time. Dump all the parts from all the LEGO kits into one pile and build from imagination instead of the instructions. Put some buildings or a little city made from wooden blocks alongside the train set. Make a landing strip from magnetic tiles for your flying LEGO creations to land on.
The trickiest one for some parents will be letting the kids take the lead. Parents should remember that when families build together, the learning isn’t one way; you’ll learn quite a bit from your kids as well!