Thursday, October 30, 2014

On Beyond Zombie Linky Party #7 - Lego Creative Play

Welcome back to the On Beyond Zombie Linky Party! This week we are taking a break from Super Heroes (*gasp* I know, right?) to talk about Lego's. Playing with Lego's may not seem important, but it is. Not only do Lego's promote creativity, but they help to promote fine motor skills, language skills, cognitive skills, problem solving skills, patterning practice, sorting skills, and hand-eye coordination, among many others! And don't forget the numerous open-ended play opportunities! We use Lego's daily in our homeschool, to teach math, language arts, and simply playing with them teaches them the three dimensions of physics! Lego has been, and always will be, one of our staples for creative play.

It came to my (shocked) attention last week that my daughter did not feel comfortable creating with Lego's unless she had very specific parts or directions. Both of my children have sort of out-grown DUPLO's and have moved on to the smaller, more complicated and creative pieces. Honestly we only own a few sets, and they each build a type of vehicle or prop for the vehicles. However, that still leaves hundreds of pieces of various colors, shapes and sizes.

Munchkin has very little difficulty using the small Lego's, despite being 3 and "too young," based on the age range on the boxes, which is usually 6-10. He's been playing with Lego's since his birthday in August and has really taken an interest in creating his own unique vehicles.

Bean on the other hand, will only touch them if she has picture directions or a very specific design in mind. That means that if, for instance, she wants to build a car, she will double check with me every other minute about the parts a car needs. How many tires? How many windows? How many seats? On and on and on, until she is satisfied with the car. And believe me, it has to look like a realistic car, otherwise she will tear it apart and start over.

One of the things we do at tea time is to create something. Usually I'll tell an original story, or ask them if they'd like to share one of their own stories. Lately Bean has taken to telling jokes. I've now added an additional activity to the routine, which is to create something out of Lego's. They are already in the mood to create something, so it has been an easy addition. All I do is set up the Lego's in a big bowl, and we all sit together and create something. Sometimes together and sometimes on our own. We might decide on a theme (Firetruck, fly, house, etc.) and all try to create something that fits the theme. Munchkin digs right in, finds all the pieces he wants and begins building. Bean takes her time and asks questions and requests suggestions. I'll ask her things like, "what do you want to make?" "what color is it?" "what pieces do you need?" "what is its purpose?" I try not to be intrusive and let her own imagination guide her. If she needs help, I'll suggest pieces, like wheels if it moves or quarter circle pieces if she's trying to make wings.

Here are some of our creations for Fly.

Mine: I'm not even sure what it is, but it's a little building with 3 doors and one wall of windows, and Yoda is standing inside. It's a helicopter of some sort... And the kids were fascinated with it!

Here's Bean's plane! After she was done with it, Munchkin picked it up and made many changes to it. (As seen in the pictures below.)

Here's another one of Bean's, this one is a sort of hover craft.

And here is Munchkin's wild creation. He built it upon Bean's original plane design. It's a plane, with extending wings made out of fire truck ladders. It also spins. So perhaps it's also a helicopter, except that pilot will be especially dizzy.

No one said it had to make sense.

Later Bean created a bath tub. It also spins, and half of the pieces are actually upside down.

It's pretty busy, but looks comfortable enough.

The original plane underwent more variations the next morning. This time with friends!

As I type this, Munchkin's already working on creating something new. This one is a sort of transport vehicle, though only about half finished.

(Please keep in mind that just because Munchkin is able to safely play with Lego's, that does not mean other 3 year olds are. Please use your own judgement when introducing Lego's to young children. Keep a close eye on them so no accidents happen.)

This weeks features are: Teaching Kids About Inventions from Planet Smarty Pants and Slippery Squishy Spooky Slime from The Science Kiddo!

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