With tomorrow being Pi day (March 14 is like pi, that is 3.14 the magic number for circles), it seems appropriate to blog about how Lego and Duplo can help young children with early math and kindergarten readiness skills.
Lego and Duplo are made of mostly squares and rectangles, but there are some wheels. Learning the name of a shape is only a small part. From playing with Lego, kids discover that the squares and rectangles do not roll. For that, wheels are required. But circle shapes do not fit together to make walls and corners. That needs straight lines. This is basic geometry.
Did you know kids also learn something about fractions, before they ever hear the word? Both Duplo and Lego have different sizes of blocks. Two square Duplo bricks are the same as one longer brick. The same for Lego too. Children are learning that pieces can be equal to just 1. That is a foundation for understanding fractions, that parts make a whole. The bricks can be 2 short ones = 1 long one, or it could also be 2 skinny ones = 1 fat one.
Lego and Duplo are also great toys for counting. Grownups can help kids with this part. Again, knowing the names is only part of knowing how to count. Kids need to learn that one number is for one thing. To count 4, there really does need to be 4 blocks. This seems so basic to us, but it’s not for kids. When learning to count even 3 things, kids will point to them over and over and keep saying numbers way beyond 3. They have not yet associated 1 number with 1 item. To help your child with this, you can take your child’s hand and gently touch each block as you say a number. Do not be discouraged when you need to do this the next day, and the next month, over and over. It takes lots of repetition for the brain to understand this 1 number-1 thing connection.
Shapes, fractions, and numbers are only 3 early math skills that kids get to experience as they play with Lego and Duplo. What is the favorite pie at your house?