Looking for some creative ways to teach your toddler? Here are six fun ways to learn with LEGO® DUPLO® Blocks that your kids will love!
Whenever we are looking to buy Jack any new toys, there are two things I consider:
- How long will it last?
- How can it help him?
For the first one, I just don’t like to buy junk. I want toys that will last the test of time and that can hopefully be enjoyed for years to come. For the second one, it’s a little more complicated. I like to buy him toys that help him learn. Toys that encourage him to use his imagination and that will help him develop different skills. While not all of the toys he has fall into those categories, I definitely make an effort.
Thankfully, there are so many great toys out there! I’m not out there buying him toys that are outrightly educational, but I think many of his toys have “hidden” educational benefits. One of our favorite types of toys are LEGO DUPLO Blocks. He got a set of this for his birthday last year, and they’ve proven to be something he really enjoys using. While we love building with them (and knocking them down), I’ve come to realize that there are a lot of great lessons and ways to learn with LEGO blocks! I love the LEGO DUPLO sets for younger kids, because they are the perfect size for little hands. I would definitely recommend making my DIY Toy Bag to store them in!
We recently moved, and we are excited to be closer to Benji and Liam, a couple of Jack’s cousins. Jack and Benji love playing together, so I thought it would be fun to break out a new set of LEGO DUPLO blocks and see how many different ways we could play with them. This set reminded me a little bit of a set my brother had growing up that was so fun, so it was fun to play with Jack and my brother’s kids and take a walk down memory lane.
Anyways, here are the ways to learn that we came up with.
1) Sorting and Learning Colors
This might be the most obvious way to learn with LEGO blocks, but it’s very effective! There are so many colors in each box, and it’s a great way to teach toddlers about not only different colors, but different shades as well. The boys loved taking turns taking a block and putting them into different piles. Colors are something we’ve been working on with Jack lately, and I think this was really effective for teaching him colors that we didn’t usually talk about – like grey and brown!
2) Sorting and Learning Shapes
This was a little trickier for the boys, because there were different shapes that looked pretty similar (such as squares and rectangles or somethings a block that had a circle shape on top and a square on bottom.) However, they caught on pretty fast. I kept things very basic – we mainly sorted them into piles of rectangles, circles, and squares – but they boys really seemed to identify the shapes pretty easily. We also drew the shapes in the air, which the boys really enjoyed!
Counting is a basic skill, but I think it’s much easier to teach when you have visual aids! There are a bunch of different ways you can teaching counting with LEGO DUPLO blocks — you can count all of them (which may be hard for younger kids), count how many of each color or shape there are, etc.
The boys loved doing this, though it seemed a little tricky to me, since so many of the shapes were the same. We started out by picking out the obvious large pieces, and then when it got down to lots of pieces of similar sizes, Forrest and I would show the boys two pieces and ask them to select which one was the biggest. We ordered them from largest to smallest. Doing this also helped us teach Jack a little bit more about what “beginning,” “end,” and “next to” means. He had trouble at first, but by the end, he seemed to be understanding the concept.
5) Following Instructions
Before Jack starts school, I really, really want him to know how to follow instructions. I worked in a childcare center for a few years, and it was frustrating when kids just wouldn’t follow instructions! I know that some kids have shorter attention spans than others, but I do hope that Jack knows how to follow instructions. He seems to be catching on to that concept a lot lately!
Anyways, all LEGO blocks kits come with instruction manuals in them. This is an awesome way to introduce following instructions, because they are very detailed, have pictures, and they are bright and colorful. Both Benji and Jack really loved looking through the book with Forrest and carefully finding all of the right pieces. We explained that by following instructions closely, we would be able to make the fun setup that was on the box. It was so cute watching them flip each page so carefully to make sure they didn’t miss a thing!
6) Imaginative Play
Imaginative play is so important! Lately I’ve been noticing Jack using his imagination a lot, and it’s been a lot of fun to watch and see what he comes up with. The thing I love about LEGO blocks is that they really do encourage imaginative play. Kids who play with them usually don’t just build them and just let them sit there. They get right in and start playing with them! There are so many different sets you can buy, and whether your kiddos follow the instructions and make it look just like the box, or they let their imagination run wild, the possibilities are endless. I don’t know a lot of about child development, but if there’s one thing I remember from my human development class in college it’s that imaginative play is. It helps develop social and emotional skills, language, and thinking skills.
This isn’t really a way to learn with LEGO DUPLO blocks, but it’s definitely a benefit – the development of fine motor skills. Fine motor skiils involve “the coordination of small muscle movements” (source), most typically being related to the relationship behind eyes and hands. They are extremely important for children to develop, and they actually will develop throughout most of their adolescents. Most of these activities I listed above help with fine motor skills as well
We are giving away a $50 LEGO gift card! All you have to do is go to this link and leave a comment letting me know what you would buy with the set!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of LEGO DUPLO . The opinions and text are all mine.
Katie is a Colorado-native, BYU graduated, and most importantly, wife to one and mother to three beautiful boys. She is passionate about sharing her experiences with others – especially about pregnancy, breastfeeding, cooking, and crafts. She is currently training to be a Certified Lactation Educator. She loves spending time with her family and helping others find joy in family life.