Do you remember a childhood filled with toys, dress-up, and imaginative play? A global study conducted by LEGO found the average child today spends less than 2% of the week (about seven hours total) engaged in play. In fact, one in three kids enjoy their toys for less than three hours a week. Often, children are running to sports practices, music lessons, tutoring sessions, or zonked out on technology. In the hustle and bustle of our modern lives, it can be a challenge finding meaningful ways to connect as a family.
Enter LEGO: a timeless stand-out in the world of play. The simple joy of building with LEGO bricks transcends generations, bringing parents and children together in a shared experience. This holiday season, as you welcome hundreds—if not thousands—of Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene blocks into your house, rejoice at this opportunity to collaborate and connect.
5 Sturdy Benefits of LEGO Building Together
- Everybody finds their niche. One of the remarkable aspects of LEGO is its universal appeal. There’s a theme and a difficulty level for everyone—which is an easy way to build self-esteem and confidence. Whether it’s a preschooler stacking Duplo blocks or a pre-teen assembling intricate LEGO Technic sets, the experience is enriching for all ages. Younger children develop fine motor skills and spatial awareness, while older siblings and engage in strategic problem-solving and parents find their moment of zen.
- Team work makes the dream work. Many families are juggling a myriad of ages and interests. For mom Stephanie Hanna, the five-year age gap between her daughters presents a challenge at times, but much to her relief, “LEGO has something to offer for each age.” Her kids have moved from DUPLO onto LEGO Friends sets, but she loves that they’re able to sneak in meaningful discussions while exploring the imaginary lands they’ve built.
- Get smarter, stronger, and more skilled. LEGO offers a unique avenue for families to train together, building manual dexterity and mind-body connections. Researchers at the University of California at San Diego found that children can use LEGOs to build their visual spatial skills—which is linked to higher GPAs and graduation rates.
- It’s affordable therapy. There are Braille bricks for individuals with visual impairment. LEGOs are also used therapeutically for children with autism to enhance communication, collaboration, and physical skills. When Kathleen Jordan was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at age 60, playing with her granddaughter was the best cure. She felt her brain fog start to lift with LEGO therapy. “I started figuring out problems more quickly. For example, instead of taking a shopping cart loaded with groceries over to where I had parked my car, I would drive my car around the back of the building and unload the cart there—common-sense things like that,” she explains. But in a simpler way, the confidence was inspiring. “I realized I could build things with dimension, and that was a big aha moment for me. It was like, if I can do this, I can do anything,” she adds.
- Unplug and unwind. For many, LEGO time offers a sanctuary from the digital distractions of modern life. In a world dominated by virtual experiences, the tactile nature of LEGO provides a welcome break, encouraging families to be present in the moment and fully engaged with one another. Sometimes it’s nice to turn your mind off and follow a simple set of directions or let your fingers place bricks as they may. Adults report a zen-like mindful relaxation and satisfaction in completing a LEGO build. LEGO enthusiast Marco Andre put it this way: “When I build LEGO, outside expectations disappear. No one is watching. I can follow instructions or experiment. I can go fast or go slow. I can build it alone or with family. I can be nervous, happy, anxious, or tired… LEGO is my ritual of connection, a bridge to simpler times. A way to achieve peace.”
Want to play with LEGOs over winter break? The Shine Studio’s got plenty to share. Drop us an email.