I remember in the early 2000s when I got my first cell phone. It was basically the same size as my shoe, text messaging seemed like science fiction, and dial up internet was still a thing. Fast forward almost two decades and it seems like babies are almost born with a cellphone in hand, already connected to WiFi and a Twitter account with two-hundred thousand followers.
In a world like this, it’s no surprise that the younger generations are excelling in the tech world while people my age still use a pen and paper and read paper books. Although this is good for the tech future, maybe it would be beneficial for our younger children to be more proactive and creative? A lot of younger kids or teens can probably render a digital model on their fancy state of the art computers with software that personally blows my mind, but sit them down with some Legos and chances are the finished product wouldn’t look anything like it does on the front of the box. Here are some ways to start early, get your kids away from their phone and “playing”/working with something that could really help them professionally down the line. First and foremost, before you buy anything, check to be sure your children are old enough to safely play with their new toys. Safety first!
Buy a “LEGO Classic Creative Building Box”
The LEGO Classic Creative Building Box is just a mega variety bucket with a mix of all kinds of assorted pieces. This allows almost unlimited creativity to make ANYTHING their young minds can think of. It doesn’t matter if it looks good, or even resembles anything in particular, the important thing is that your kids are actively using their fine motor skills combined with their intellectual abilities to be unique and imaginative, rather than chopping fake cartoon fruit with their “samurai finger” on a six inch touch screen.
Slowly Increase the Difficulty
As your child grows older and understands the idea and basics of what they are doing, have a conversation with them about why you think it’s important for them to do this. Encourage them by getting Lego kits that have an intended design or theme like Disney sets, Harry Potter kits, or anything else that interests them. The key here is to keep it fun. Encourage them to use the instructions and sit down to help if they need it. Sometimes they may get discouraged because they can be hard to get perfect. Remind them that it takes time and practice and with those they’ll only get better.
Let them Freestyle
Now that they understand what Legos are and have some experience making some pretty difficult sets, give them creative freedom and ask them to design something completely from scratch. Maybe they want to make a digital rendering of what they are picturing in their mind and use this like the previously provided instructions. Regardless, although technology is never going away and only getting more advanced, it is imperative to not allow other necessary skills like mental creativity and physically working with your hands go wasted.