Are you and your kids big fans of LEGO? Did you know you could help your kids, especially preschoolers, learn mathematics using LEGO bricks? Well, you're about to find out.
LEGO at the moment has become a tool for kids to have massive fun while at the same time learning different things.
Playing with those bricks don't limit their ability to learn, as a matter of fact, it helps them develop some really important skills that every parent wants for their kids.
In this article, I will show you some math activities that you could engage your preschoolers and older kids in for them to get more from the LEGO bricks that they play with.
Before we get right to that, you might want to know some of the important skills your kids would get and benefit from when they play with LEGO bricks.
Important skills kids learn from LEGO
Aside from mathematics activities, your kids would also improve in the following other areas
LEGO has been known for years to guide kids and help them with lots of great skills for both now and for the future, one of those skills is cooperation.
Having your kids play and explore their creative sides with LEGO toys would help them learn how to cooperate in order to achieve objectives that are set before them.
Playing with LEGO doesn't require so much physical play, it majorly has to do with how well one can fully use their minds to solve problems.
LEGO would definitely keep your kids calm and help them focus and concentrate on the task ahead.
Among other things, the zeal to not give up would be instilled in kids who have had several opportunities to play with LEGO. LEGO toys come in challenging sets that leave your kids focused and trying to find a way to get them solved.
Some of the available LEGO sets take a lot of time and calculation to set up, even though they come with a guide but setting them up would require persistence and total calmness.
You cannot mention LEGO and not think of architecture. LEGO involves building things from bricks, laying one brick upon the other, and in the end crafting out a beautiful piece.
LEGO would help your kids learn what it takes to build, the process, as well as the efforts required. Architecture and engineering are the knowledge embedded in LEGO sets that your kids need to explore.
This is my favorite part and that's why I have kept it for last. LEGOs come in different shapes quite alright and all the sets out there also come with a particular number of bricks.
Now, some parents decide to challenge their kids to see what they can achieve with fewer bricks. I totally love that because it makes your child more resourceful when it comes to managing those available bricks.
Your kids are tasked with building a structure that is substantial using just a few bricks that are made available to them. This helps them improve their management skills and could also help them with other tasks even in their classes.
These are the advantages your kids would enjoy over their peers when they start early playing with LEGOs. Now let us move to the list of LEGO maths activities for preschoolers.
LEGO maths activities
The maths activities that you can engage your kids in and challenge them with are, but not limited to, the following:
Structure maths with LEGO
This one is very easy and educational, in fact, it borders on the management part of the skills I earlier listed above.
Your kids would have to build specific structures, maybe pyramids, human structures, little cars, or trucks, using only the LEGO bricks that you make available to them.
This is challenging and at the same time educational because they'll count the number of bricks they have before they get on with the task.
One thing you can do to make this more mathematical is, you can assign numerical or monetary values to each of the bricks you provide them with using the studs and when they're done creating the structure, they have to add up all the numbers and subtract the bricks they didn't use from the total.
It is a fun way to learn mathematics, you should incorporate it in the next LEGO session with your kids.
LEGO skip counting
It is easy to achieve this no matter how many bricks you have. Skip counting helps your kids memorize the multiplication table a lot more easily.
You can start from two, and in order to do this, you'd provide your child with a brick that has only two studs, when that is done, you place another one that has four studs right in front of it, then another one with six, and so on.
If you want to start with four studs, you just have to repeat the above steps and keep it going until you're sure they have reached their limit according to their age.
You cannot run out of bricks that have a high number of studs. If you no longer have a brick that has a lot of studs that you can keep going with, you could join two or more bricks together to create a larger number to keep the challenge going.
Watch your kids smash their multiplication maths when they get involved in this activity.
Drawing graphs can now be taken off the graph book and on to the LEGO board. LEGO offers a great way for your kids to learn graph drawing and also helps you teach them how graphs are formed, the types of graphs, why each size of the bar is different, and how they can apply all this to their day to day activities.
In building a LEGO graph, you have to first of all start with a wide enough LEGO board with or without studs, preferably with studs. This is the first and most basic step.
The next thing is, you can give them a task like asking them to list their favorite shows and how many episodes the shows have. Write the names of the shows on the bottom part of the graphs (the x-axis) and let the upright part of the graph (the y-axis) represent the number of the episodes.
Watch them try to differentiate which show has more episodes using the highest LEGO bar that they set up and which show has fewer episodes using the shortest LEGO bar.
Graphs are fun and interesting and you can decide to use other tasks aside from shows and episodes, as long as it is something the kids can easily relate with.
You can challenge your child to create or draw up figures using LEGO bricks. Show them the shape of a number, provide them with the required bricks to do it, and ask them to do it.
This activity is best for younger kids like preschoolers, it should enable them to differentiate easily between numbers because they have had some time creating them.
You should note though that starting from number one up is easier than just starting with any number. This helps to help them with counting unless the child is already a bit grown up and knows which number comes next when counting.
You can start them up with printable LEGO mats and have them lay the appropriate LEGO bricks that match the ones on the mat until they are able to form their own.
Place value with LEGO
With the really awesome LEGO bricks, you can teach your kids place value. You can help them identify the position of each digit in the numbers.
For example, where you have 364 being three hundred and sixty-four, you can get a drawing board and have them place which digit falls into the hundreds, which one falls into the tens and which one falls into the ones.
It is a smart way to learn difficult things. Don't worry if they're still very young, they don't need to get a complete grasp of what place value is yet, but it can make them understand it faster than their peers in class.
To make this more fun, you can make them build each digit in the form of LEGO towers before placing them into the required value.
Practicing addition and subtraction
Addition is made easier with LEGOs when you know just how to do it. With this activity, you're not required to have a million bricks, just a few will do just fine.
To do an addition, pick LEGOs that have a certain number of studs and ask the kids to round all the numbers up. To do this, you don't need to worry if the LEGO bricks have the same number of studs, it really wouldn't be confusing unless you're doing subtraction.
To do a subtraction, pick a LEGO brick that has more studs and pick one that has fewer studs and ask them to count the studs on both the bricks. When that is done, ask them to decide which brick has fewer studs, when they pick the right one, you can now ask them to count the number of the studs in the smaller brick from the larger brick and tell you how many studs they'd have left.
This is a great and fun LEGO math idea for kids, especially when they're already conversant with their numbers.
Rolling dice and building bricks
This can be a game, as well as an avenue to learn more about numbers. This activity is more suitable and would definitely be more fun for preschoolers.
Provide them with several bricks that have different numbers of studs starting from one to twelve (1-12). When they have these bricks, give them two dice, a LEGO board to build on, and ask them to roll the dice. Whatever numbers they get from the dice would be the number of studs they get to pick.
You can challenge them to build something with the bricks they get each time they roll the dice. Make sure though that you don't challenge them beyond their limits so as to not get them frustrated.
They can count the studs on each brick before they begin with the architecture. Guide them along the way. You can also ask them to add the number of studs on the bricks they get to the previous ones that they have built with.
Telling the time
For kids, being able to know what time it is can be very difficult but not when they start out using LEGO bricks to learn the basics.
Time telling is even a part of their mathematics scheme of work in their school, what better way to prepare them for this than to let them start with LEGO?
To teach them the time with LEGO, you can have a wide LEGO board, cut out twelve square pieces of paper, and write the numbers one to twelve (1-12) on them.
Arrange the numbers just the way you have them on your clock and ask your kids to arrange on the LEGO board the particular time that they see on your clock.
As you challenge them with this activity, also teach them which of the clock sticks represents the seconds, which one represents the minutes, and which one represents the hours. You can also teach them how the clock works if you want.
This challenge may not be suitable for preschoolers though, but they can still participate in the activity, at least they can have basic background knowledge about clocks and time.
These are some really amazing LEGO maths activities for kids. Whether they're preschoolers or a lot more grown-up, they'll definitely learn a thing or two from trying their hands on one of these.
These activities would help them stay calm and quiet; focused and speculative. Since kids love to have fun, it is your responsibility as a parent that once in a while you're able to incorporate learning into their fun activities and LEGO offers one of the best ways to do this effectively.