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Resource Spotlight: LEGO

Updated: Jun 30

LEGO, the very iconic plastic building bricks, are the epitome of construction materials in many househols, worldwide. Did you know: The name 'LEGO' is an abbreviation of the two Danish words “leg godt”, meaning “play well”. The company say "It's our name and it's our ideal". LEGO can be a valuable tool in occupational therapy (OT) for addressing various cognitive, motor, and social skills. Lets look at how skills can be targeted:

1. Fine Motor Skills Development
  • Hand Strength and Dexterity: Manipulating small LEGO pieces helps strengthen the muscles in the hands and fingers, improving dexterity and grip strength.

  • Pinch Grip: Picking up and placing LEGO bricks enhances the pincer grasp, which is crucial for tasks such as writing and buttoning.

  • Bilateral Coordination: Building with LEGO often requires the use of both hands together, promoting bilateral coordination.

2. Gross Motor Skills

  • Core Strength: Generally, to build well with LEGO, it's best to be in an upright position, which requires the use of core muscles to maintain postures.

  • Upper Body Strength: Larger LEGO sets and collaborative builds can require reaching and lifting, engaging the upper body.

3. Cognitive Skills

  • Problem-Solving: Following LEGO instructions or alternatively, creating new designs, encourages problem-solving and critical thinking.

  • Planning and Sequencing: Building LEGO models involves planning and sequencing steps, which can help improve executive functioning skills.

  • Attention and Focus: The engaging nature of LEGO helps children improve their concentration and attention to detail over extended periods.

4. Visual-Perceptual Skills

  • Spatial Awareness: LEGO building enhances spatial awareness and understanding of how different pieces fit together.

  • Visual Scanning: Finding and selecting the correct LEGO pieces helps improve visual scanning abilities.

  • Figure-Ground Perception: Differentiating between pieces in a cluttered pile enhances figure-ground perception skills.

5. Sensory Integration

  • Tactile Input: The texture and feel of LEGO bricks provide tactile sensory input, beneficial for children with sensory processing issues.

  • Proprioceptive Feedback: Pressing bricks together and pulling them apart provides proprioceptive feedback, aiding in body awareness.

6. Social and Emotional Development in group-play

  • Social Interaction: Group LEGO activities promote social interaction, communication, and teamwork. Outcomes Therapy love running LEGO Group over the holidays, as a means of naturalistic connection with likeminded peers.

  • Turn-Taking and Sharing: Playing with LEGO in a group setting encourages turn-taking and sharing.

  • Emotional Regulation: The structured yet creative nature of LEGO play can provide an environment tp help children develop the skills manage emotions.

7. Creativity and Imagination

  • Creative Expression: LEGO allows for open-ended play, enabling children to express their creativity and imagination.

  • Storytelling: Children can build scenes and characters, which helps in developing storytelling skills and imaginative play.

8. Functional Life Skills

  • Task Completion: Building a LEGO set from start to finish reinforces the importance of completing tasks.

  • Following Instructions: Using LEGO sets with instructions teaches children how to follow detailed instructions, an important life skill. We hope this series helps you understand how the use of certain resources in occupational therapy!

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