Even if kids haven’t seen the movie, Star Wars shows up in their play. For a play-of-the-day, young kids might like some Lego and blocks star play. Children do not need to have the special kits and other toys to have fun. We can let them play with what they have available. Imaginations will often figure out substitutes.
Construction toys are definitely hands-on, but brains are as busy as hands. We don’t have Superman’s x-ray vision but if we could see the activity in the brain we’d notice that kids are making a tremendous number of neural connections. Both brains and hands are needed to stack, balance, and make rows and lines. Children may have a picture in their memory banks of how space vehicles look and try to recreate them. This will involve a lot of trying and comparing what they have constructed to what they remember or visualize. Unlike Yoda’s words, “There is no try,” kids will try constantly. Hands, brains, and eyes are all trying to coordinate their actions.
As grownups, we often try and see if something will fit in a space. For kids, spatial awareness and manipulation develops from the trying. This is also called play and kids will explore where blocks and toys will go. Eyes can measure a space but only trying will confirm if something fits or not. Matching sizes and shapes are skills needed for math and science, even if Yoda says, “Size matters not.”
Brains are also organizing, planning, and solving problems when kids play with blocks, Lego, and other construction materials. These are critical skills for all kinds of learning. Besides construction toys, there may be some out-of-this- world treasures in the recycling or craft junk, such as plastic containers, cereal boxes, etc. Imagining and creating are the heart of innovation.
Lego and blocks star play appeals to kids of various ages, both boys and girls. Although we can’t see how active it is during play, wouldn’t you agree with Yoda, “Truly wonderful the mind of a child is?”