This 1 Fact Will Leave You Thinking Differently About Your Kids Playing With Lego

It's not just your average household toy

As a household toy, Lego has always been a fun way for kids to explore problem-solving and their imagination. Through the building bricks we see kids try to make the highest towers or the funniest shapes.

It’s a toy that seems fun for all ages, my 16-month-old toddler loves to see how high she can stack the blocks and then comically hit the tower to see it fall. As a parent, I also join in the game and it’s just great fun for everyone.

But did you know that playing with Lego can help children who may need additional support in socio-emotional or communication skills? In fact, the latest Lego brick-based therapy has evolved to support children’s emotional and social wellbeing by giving them the opportunity to express themselves, boost their self-confidence and form meaningful friendships.

It comes as according to the NHS, one in five children and young people has a mental health condition in England. Though it was previously reported that Lego-based therapy is a box-ticking exercise to support the social skills of autistic children, Dr Gina Gómez de la Cuesta, Clinical Psychologist and Founder of Play Included, who studied the therapy approach for her PhD at the Autism Research Centre, says it is a helpful tool for any child who may suffer from mental health conditions.

Speaking to HuffPost UK, she said: “Many children love to play with Lego bricks, and Lego brick based therapy is a proven way to support children’s wellbeing by building their confidence, providing opportunities to form friendships and nurturing a sense of belonging.

“While Lego brick based therapy was originally developed to support neurodivergent children’s social development, it has evolved greatly since it was first implemented and, over the years, it’s become clear that any child who enjoys Lego play may benefit from this methodology.

“The most current version of Lego brick based therapy, Play Included’s certified Brick-by-Brick programme, developed with support from the Lego Foundation, enables all children and young people to have fun playing with Lego bricks and improve their wellbeing, regardless of their neurotype.”

Although the primary purpose of play is to have fun, Dr Cuesta says Lego play is also a powerful way for children to make sense of their experiences, their emotions, and the world around them. Building Lego models with others can teach children to share and resolve conflicts, and help to develop crucial social and communication skills.

In fact, the recent Brick-by-Brick programme draws on the latest research in play and offers a safe and accepting environment where children are encouraged to take the lead in collaborative Lego play sessions, rather than being instructed by an adult.

Dr Cuesta said: “Playful facilitation from trained adults is essential for the best outcomes for children as this gives them opportunities to solve and explore situations themselves, which boosts their self-confidence. Being able to play with a variety of Lego models, themes and activities means that children can also strengthen their creativity and express themselves through both verbal and visual means. Importantly, many children gain a huge sense of pride for what they have created, which further improves their confidence.

“Lego brick-based therapy works best for children who enjoy playing with Lego bricks. By meeting and playing with other children who share a common interest in playing and building with Lego bricks, children can form meaningful relationships with others, which reduces feelings of loneliness and anxiety.

“By providing safe, accepting spaces where children and young people can socialise and play in a way that suits their natural style of communicating and socialising, the latest Lego brick based therapy fosters playful and fun experiences that can help to reduce feelings of anxiety, and positively impact children’s mental health.”