Lego and Duplo can be considered as a sort of “gym-equipment” for building brain muscles. They help kids develop thinking skills and kindergarten readiness as they play and have fun. Part 1 talked about the strategy of problem-solving; this part will look at decision-making.
It’s obvious that problem-solving is an important skill or strategy, but decision-making? What’s hard about that? Well, think of a time when you were too tired to make a decision, maybe about something as simple as whether to make toast or eat the bread as is. You knew that making a decision would require some brain energy that you just didn’t have. Plus, there’s the learning that comes from making good decisions and the lessons from ones that have not been successful. Decision-making is not easy and effortless.
As kids play with Lego, there are tons of decisions. The first two pictures in Part 1 were construction by boys. Here are two that girls have made. There have been choices about what bricks to put where, whether to build out or build up, which parts are important, if something is okay as it is or can be changed without affecting other parts. Lego has limitless options and somehow the brain has to ignore a tremendous number of them as it decides what to do. These two Lego towns are different because the kids have made different decisions.
For some children decision-making can be overwhelming. They wait for others to decide what to play with and what to do. Some are so eager they make decisions impulsively without pausing to check if it’s a good choice or not. Other children may want to choose everything all at once and some get locked into a decision and find it very difficult to change their choice, even if it’s not working. Decision-making, like so much else, needs practice and experience. Play-time with Lego and Duplo gives children a tremendous opportunity to try making decisions. They get immediate feedback about their choices and can adjust their decisions right away.
As your child plays can you see and hear how s/he makes decisions? Can you think of other ways that Lego and Duplo help with life skills?