This post is sponsored by LEGO Juniors.
“I want to build it! Why can’t I make it myself? It’s too hard … It’s not fair.”
He wants so much to be like his big brother and sisters and rip open the box, tip out the pieces, and follow the instructions to make an amazing LEGO masterpiece.
At four and a half, Noah loves LEGO as much as his siblings do, and his fine motor skills are fabulous, but traditional LEGO sets are still a little too hard for him to manage on his own. The big kids are happy to help, but it’s not the same thing… he really wants to do it himself.
Recently we noticed some new LEGO Juniors sets at the shops. LEGO Juniors is aimed at 4-7 year olds and while they contain the same sized bricks as regular LEGO and include the same basic bricks, they are a little easier and have more pre-built pieces making them quick and simple to build. Perfect for Mr “I want to build it myself”.
I waited for a quiet afternoon when the big kids were at school and watched his eyes light up when he opened the LEGO Juniors set.
“I am pretty sure you can make this one yourself” I told him.
He looked a little unsure, his confidence wavering.
“Get out the instructions and see what you need to do first.”
As soon as he turned to the first page his finger went to the picture of the numbered packets and then he went searching for the matching packet of bricks. That was all it took, the confidence to get started, and he was off!
As I sat back and watched him follow instructions and fit pieces together, I was struck not only by the fact that he was building the LEGO Juniors set all on his own, but he was also ‘reading’.
No, he hadn’t suddenly become a genius and started reading novels out of the blue, but there is more to reading than just words and books! The skills he was practicing as he built were the same skills he needs to know before he can learn to read.
Pre-reading skills like these:
Opening the instructions correctly and knowing which way to turn the pages, just like a book.
Knowing that the instructions are read from left to right, just like words in a book.
Reading and matching symbols and numbers… later they will be letters and words.
Practicing following a sequence, step by step, from start to finish, just like a story.
Using pictures to augment and check his understanding, just like he’ll do when he begins to read words.
He was learning that reading is useful in a real and meaningful way to him and above all else, he felt confident and capable!
Right now these skills helped him work through the instructions and build the entire LEGO Junior set all on his own. In a year or two, those same skills will help him discover the magic of reading books all on his own too.
LEGO Juniors is a great activity to get them practicing all those pre-reading skills. It’s fun, something the kids are interested in, and they don’t even notice all the reading and learning they are doing!
There are lots of other fun LEGO activities that encourage pre-reading skills.
For more fun LEGO activities that incorporate reading, check out these ideas:
LEGO Story Telling from Lemon Lime Adventures.
Make Your Own LEGO Book from Kids Activities Blog.
LEGO and Play Dough from One Perfect Day.
LEGO Animal Alphabet Cards from Play Learn Love
LEGO Letter Learning from Crayon Freckles
Portable LEGO Kit and Puzzle Cards from Fun At Home With Kids
What is your favourite way to play with LEGO?
This post is coordinated by The Remarkables Group.