Building Blocks of the Brain

When I was younger, I absolutely loved Legos. It was one of my favorite things to do. In kindergarten, my brother and me would always play games like Legos, Mega Blocks and Lincoln Logs. We would build forts on days when we could not go outside and play then take pictures of the great things we would build. We would love construction fun. Every Christmas we asked for a different Lego set. Sometimes it would be the Batman set, but our favorite was by far the Star Wars Legos we would get. We would build ships and big play sets.  Obviously, one of the benefits of kids playing with legos is enjoyment, but does playing with Legos help develop young children and their brains?

kid_legos1One of the most sought after talents is being creative. Creativity is vital to long term health of whatever career a person pursues. The components that a child needs to make cool designs with legos are highly applicable to a grown up’s life. Designing, working together, building, wrecking the final product, and trying a different one. Using Legos let kids free style, build something creative that they like, and enjoy it with other kids. According to Parenting Science, the more time kids spend playing with blocks and puzzles, the better they perform on IQ tests of spacial ability.Legos don’t just help with developing a child’s creativity, it develops many other skills that they must develop to grow up. Even the muscle movements that are required to put the Legos together develops moves and muscles that help with skills with scissors and pens or pencils. According to Dr. Maryhan Baker, these movements are called Fine Motor Skills, which helps handwriting, independent dressing and promote coordination.

According to a recent American survey, high achieving college graduates in the science, technology, or engineering fields were more likely to have hands on extensive experience with hands-on activities according to Parenting Science.  Like we learned in class, correlation does not prove causation. Just because people under those fields played with toys like Legos or Lincoln Logs does not mean that those toys caused intellectual or academic progression or improvements.  Legos also help develop problem solving skills. Children realize that when the blue one does not fit in the yellow, they must find a building piece that does. They map out what they want to build before they build or, or free plan using solely their own creativity. They use imagination to create their scenarios and works of art. Learning how each piece fits together and seeing what they can make with these pieces is a valuable challenge to the mind. Here is a link to why people are so drawn to legos.



5 thoughts on “Building Blocks of the Brain

  1. Dante Labricciosa

    The idea of this blog is there, but you must carry out a little more. We cannot conclude that playing with such building blocks leads to higher IQ in children. You cannot analyze articles of analysis. Though it is very interesting to think that children that play with legos have a higher IQ, there could be confounding variables that could be looked into with depth. Maybe since the children could afford legos and other building block toys, they could afford better education. Your post can also lead to the question of what other variables could boost IQ, as I found an interesting webpage that could lead to studies on various promising variables: I’m sure those interested in engineering loved legos as children and may have a high IQ, but what about high IQ people that did not play with legos? Legos may or may not boost IQ, but so may other things, as there needs to be more studies done and exploited to reach any significant information for strong evidence.

  2. Devon Buono

    I like the idea behind the post. To make this better, maybe have an experiment explaining/testing your question. I decided to do so for you. I found a study which took place over one year. It involved 130 Swedish schools using lego training on children. Two groups of children were randomly separated, and half went through lego training, while the other did not. Those who went through lego training showed signs of improved mathematics skills ( Since it was conducted with a relatively large sample size, and the groups were randomized, the odds the results were due to chance are low. This supports the claim the legos aid in the development of the brain in children. The experiment was not able to determine exactly why it helped improve their math abilities, but the results are still interesting/convincing. The next step is to figure out why legos improve math abilities.

  3. Matthew O'Brien

    You mention in your post that since correlation need not equal causation, it is possible that playing with legos does not cause an increase in intelligence. This implies the existence of confounding variables that should be taken into account. Perhaps you could add some analysis about that into your post. Do you think that it is likely that some people are naturally predisposed to creativity and for that reason play with legos as kids and pursue creative career paths in adulthood? I think that these questions can lead to an interesting post about the relationship between childhood activities and career paths as adults.

  4. Anthony Michael Calligaro

    I loved this topic for a blog. What a great idea! Personally, I completely understand when you said that playing with legos or Lincoln Logs as a child does not technically cause people to be engineers or have science-related careers because correlation does not equal causation. I have first hand experience with this phenomenon as I played with legos all the time as a kid, yet I have no talent or interest in engineering or anything related to science. Although this is only an anecdote, I would hope I’m not the only person that hasn’t gained an ability to excel in technology or engineering after playing with legos as I grew up. According to several studies (link below), there is a correlation between construction play (like legos) and spatial intelligence, which gives people the ability to understand 3-D images. This ability is helpful for engineers as well.

  5. rvm5523

    Great post! I can definetly relate to your love of LEGOs because I used to be the same way. After reading your examples and the certain studies done I can clearly see how LEGOs help in the development of children’s brains. The whole process of mapping out what they want to build and problem solving is key in the developmental process of kids and LEGOs are the perfect activity in doing so. I found another link that proves your hypothesis. This site lists ways that LEGOs helps develop the brain of children like you explained. Thanks for the blog!

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