I have joked that my Lego is my therapy. During a few dark and difficult days it certainly proved that. Now it is a topic of conversation when I am visiting yet another school.
I know I have to get the children on side when visiting schools, I am not their regular teacher and they can be more difficult. So, I have always told a few stories. Buses; books; badges; rainsticks; Lego. It is the Lego that really captures their imagination and I am referred to as ‘The Lego Lady’.
Indeed, I know if I have ever met with a class as I hear the whispers of ‘it’s the Lego Lady’.
“Do you mind being called the Lego Lady?” asked a year six girl on a recent visit.
“No, because it helps the class to remember me.”
We do have a few conversations about Lego but on supply we have work to get on with first.
I have visited a few schools which offer Lego therapy or Lego clubs and it is good to see the children getting the chance to explore and develop their skills.
Lego based therapy is a recognised provision offered in some schools.
But this certainly is an activity for all children, everyone loves Lego – including children on the autistic spectrum.
The Lego Club (therapy).
A Lego Club offers the opportunity for: (sorting; finding; identifying; preparing; combining; following instructions)
- Sorting: the first thing when I get a new box of mixed Lego is to sort out the pieces. I start by taking out the bricks and plates and then maybe sorting out the colours.
- Finding: As I sort out the mixed box, I take out the figures and figure pieces as well as certain types of bricks that might help to identify the set.
- Identifying: Once I have identified the set I might or might not have instructions to follow. I sort out the inventory to make sure I have all the correct pieces to make the set.
- Preparing: If there are pieces missing, I track them down.
- Combining: Once the set is complete, I start building.
- Following instructions: Following simple visual instructions either using the instruction booklet or on-line Lego instructions.
- Achievement: Once complete the set might then go on display or alternatively, I sell on and re-invest in another box of mixed Lego.
Originally, I had made a few ‘pirates’ themed Lego sets and put them out on display, in my classroom, in order to inspire the children with their writing. It certainly did that.
At the end of term, I put the models out on the tables for the children to sketch and draw and then, as a final treat, I allowed the children to play with them. They played so carefully and really enjoyed the opportunity. It was great to hear their conversations and to watch their pleasure. The models did get a bit muddled and broken as they were played with, but nothing I couldn’t fix later.
My recent box gave me, amongst other sets, the Rollercoaster. It certainly was a set for the expert. It arrived in pieces part made and it was a case of fitting it back together. It certainly was a challenge which I enjoyed and was pleased when completed. The only shame is that I don’t have a child to share it with.
Lego is also a very useful tool in Maths.
Lego Maths (opportunity to visualise a problem)
- Fractions: Using bricks represent fractions
- Arrays: Use the studs on plates or bricks for the children to solve given arrays
- Square numbers: Use a 2 x 2 brick and build on 3 x 3; 4X 4; 5 x 5.
- Part total:
- Visualising 3D shapes: Build a simple shape and draw the 3D version.
Lego certainly is much more than just a building toy.