Of the many early childhood connections I’ve made, one of my favorites is with Jeff A. Johnson at Explorations Early Learning. Often, Jeff finds quotes about early learning and play to inspire us all and turns them into posters. This is one of them, and it seems to link up wonderfully with Lego and Duplo. After all, they are a fabulous toy for constructing!
When children play with Lego and Duplo they are doing more than constructing towers, cars, and other things. Children are constructing their own knowledge.
Knowledge grows from experiences. Children need a tremendous number of opportunities to develop the brain connections and pathways that they will need for all kinds of thinking. The brain takes in information by using the senses. When kids use Lego and Duplo they are also using the senses of sight, touch, and hearing. The shapes, colors, and sizes of Lego are a feast for the sense of sight. Ears can tell the difference between the sound of Lego when it snaps together and when it falls over with a loud crash. The feel of Lego in the hand is much more pleasant than underneath a foot!
Not only are children constructing sensory knowledge, they are learning about cause and effect too. They use this knowledge to solve problems and make choices. For example, kids soon figure out that if they want a tower to stand up, they need to make a wide base instead of a skinny one. If they want to make something that moves, 4 wheels are better than 2. Some of these concepts seem so obvious to us, but kids have to build them for themselves.
To repeat what this poster says, in teacher fashion, here is a question: Would you agree that just watching someone else play with Lego and Duplo is not nearly as effective as being able to play with it ourselves?