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By Ash, STEM Manager

Happy International LEGO Day! Who doesn’t love the iconic building block?! (Until you step on one…)

Lego blocks originated in the workshop of Ole Kirk Christiansen, who started producing wood toys in 1932 in Billund, Denmark. A few years later he officially named the company LEGO® – after the Danish phrase “leg godt”, meaning play well. 

International LEGO Day — January 28 — marks the day when Godtfred Kirk Christiansen (Ole’s son) submitted the patent for the original LEGO bricks in 1958. They were the first of their kind with a sophisticated interlocking system that creates bigger and stronger building projects. And not only did Godtfred patent the individual brick, but also the concept of the bricks being used as an interdependent, interlocking building system! 

NCW Libraries loves LEGO too! We offer LEGO robotic programs, and building programs, and have helped provide LEGO Make-and-Takes! 

Why are LEGO’s so awesome though? Here are some benefits of play:

  • Builds teamwork and social skills: when building together collaboration skills are naturally used! It encourages shared focus, sharing,and positive behavior.
  • Develops communication and language skills: you can’t share or collaborate without the ability to communicate. 
  • Utilizes problem solving, mathematics and spatial awareness: following instructions and order, seeing symmetry and patterns develops math skills and spatial awareness through a problem solving process.
  • Encourages creativity and experimentations: free-styling with LEGO building puts you in the role of creator! Creativity, imagination and self expression feed into a sense of adventure and experimentation.
  • Bolsters self-confidence: whether following instructions or creating your own masterpiece, building helps achieve a sense of accomplishment and pride, encouraging testing out even more complex tasks at an individual pace.
  • Assists in physical development: the small size of helps develop fine motor skills, dexterity and finger strength.
  • Builds perseverance, frustration management: when your creation comes tumbling down, it can be really disheartening, but by continuing to play and rebuild, you learn not to fear failure, and that frustrations can be managed and overcome. 
  • Develops patience: sometimes it can take a long time to find the right piece, or rebuild the project, but the slower process helps off-set a world of instant gratification and teaches that time and hard work are essential to good results.
  • Lowers anxiety and stress: playing with LEGO’s can have a calming effect by bringing a sense of order and quiet to a chaotic day.
  • Helps with focus and concentration: by following instructions, in group play waiting your turn and listening to others takes a lot of focus and builds skills in concentration.

A brief history of LEGO:

In 1949, the company revolutionized the block toy by using an injection mold machine to produce a plastic brick. Since 1949 the company has grown rapidly, expanding to distribute in 40+ countries, opening LEGOLAND Parks, adding the DUPLO and minifigure lines, and the LEGO Education learning tools and programs.

In 2000, the LEGO brick was honored as the “Toy of the Century”. In 2020, Lego officially launched their Braille bricks for children with vision impairment to develop critical thinking, problem solving and collaboration skills through play. And now we celebrate almost 90 years of innovation, learning and play!

If you want to take a deep dive into the history of Lego, check out their website.

Celebrate the iconic toy by:

  • Getting out those LEGO sets and having a building contest with friends or family
    • See who can build the tallest tower or the strongest bridge
    • Can you build a replica of where you live?
    • Build a vehicle and race them
  • Watch one of the LEGO movies. NCW offered several to borrow or stream. Browse our selection here.
  • Never feel guilty about taking time to play with LEGO. You are building brain power and life skills!!
  • Make sure you clean them up so that no one steps on one! That hurts!

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