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Brick by brick: How LEGO® can help your kids learn essential life skills

Chloe Schneider

Chloe Schneider

Chloe is a writer and content strategist with bylines in mindbodygreen, Mashable, Ageless by Rescu, and more. She's a mum to one-year-old Felix, and believes that you can have it all, you just can't have it all at once
Created on Apr 17, 2024 · 5 mins read
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LEGO® is the unproblematic king (and queen!) of the toybox. It is one of the few things every parent, caregiver, and educator seems to agree on — educational, fun, accessible, and even a little nostalgic for the adults involved.


With the new season of LEGO Masters airing right now, we’re more inspired than ever to get building with our kids, and it turns out that playtime could be even more beneficial than we realised.

One Sydney entrepreneur and mum, Dr. Denise Meyerson, brought a play methodology called the LEGO Six Brick Methodology to Australia. It’s a fun, engaging learning experience that has proven effective in enhancing numeracy and literacy among primary school students.

We spoke to Denise to hear about her path from corporate consultancy to children’s development and get some tips for using LEGO as a tool for education at home. 

From corporate consultancy to children’s development


Dr. Denise Meyerson is a mum, but her love of LEGO for learning actually started in the corporate world. 

“About 17 years ago, one of the banks in Australia who had a branch overseas used the LEGO Serious Play method and told me about it. I was trained in the USA and became the LEGO Serious Play licensee in Australia.

I went on to use LEGO Serious Play in many of the main corporations in Australia and around the world.  For example, we used it at NAB to help them develop better teams and at Microsoft to improve access for women into the field of technology.”

With these accolades on her resume, Denise was invited by the LEGO Group to become one of just four master trainers globally, an accolade that took her to Billund, Denmark — the home of LEGO — for a LEGO IDEA Day. 

She recalls, “By chance, I sat next to Brent Hucheson who was starting to develop a method called Six Bricks.  I was intrigued as to how six DUPLO-type bricks in six different colours could achieve so much for children.”

“The Six Bricks method was subsequently formalised as a way of giving children the key skills they need to do well at school and beyond. I brought it to Australia and we have started training educators and parents to use these simple techniques that have a huge impact.” 


How the Six Bricks method works


While most parents will be used to dealing with what feels like six hundred bricks lying around the floor (and the incredible pain of stepping on one), the methodology Denise is rolling out across Aussie schools makes use of just six bricks; one each in yellow, orange, red, light blue, dark blue, and green.

There are over 300 activities in the methodology, all rooted in the belief that learning through play wakes up the brain, encouraging imagination and problem-solving.

When the activities become a part of kids regular play, they help them gain skills such as:

  • Listening to instructions 
  • Building focus and attention to continue an activity to its conclusion
  • Problem-solving skills and perseverance
  • Numeracy including number recognition, addition and subtraction
  • The ability to form patterns which is at the basis of reading and doing maths
  • The ability to cross the mid-line which is essential for reading

3 Six Bricks method activities to replicate at home


This hugely-beneficial method is also really easy to re-create at home. 

Denise shared, “There are so many activities to choose from – and parents can invent their own as well! I would encourage parents not to pack the bricks away into boxes and tubs. Instead, leave some on the table and around the house.  Then it’s easy to quickly do an activity — for example, you can use them in the kitchen as you prepare dinner: ask your child to find as many objects in the kitchen as the yellow brick or the red brick.”

Like anything with young kids, repetition is key. Denise recommends you keep the activities going and make them a part of daily play to maximise learning benefits. 

To help get you started, here are three quintessential Six Bricks activities you can replicate with your bricks at home:

Build a tower
Ask your child to build the highest tower they can without clicking the bricks together. This means they will need to build short end to short end. If they do this easily, give them a clothes peg and ask them to repeat it by lifting each brick with the peg. 

The skills in this activity include:

  • Problem-solving: How high can I go without the tower toppling over?
  • Perseverance:  How long can I focus on this task without giving up too quickly?
  • Developing a growth mindset: If the tower falls over, will I start again and learn from where I went wrong?  This is a key skill to avoid being stuck in a fixed mindset.
  • Fine motor movement: Can I lift the bricks with the pegs or balance them so the tower doesn’t tumble?

 

Patterns
 Create a pattern or shape on the table using the different colours, then ask your child to replicate it. If they do that well, create a 3D model and ask them to copy it.

The skills in this activity include:

  • Observational skills: Can they notice all the patterns and then replicate them exactly?
  • Perseverance: Will they give up too quickly if the pattern isn’t easy?
  • Focus and attention: Can they avoid being distracted if the pattern is challenging for them?

 

Getting physical  
Ask your child to balance one brick on their head and move around. Then see if they can add a second brick, then a brick on the back of each hand.

Skills in this activity:

  • Gross motor movement: Can you balance well and move quickly without allowing the bricks to fall off?
  • Focus and concentration: Can they keep their mind on the task without distraction.
  • Creativity: Can they add in new movements and actions while balancing the bricks such as dancing or turning around?

Developing essential life skills at home


As you can see through these three examples, learning through LEGO can teach your kids skills for life; like focus, resilience, and creativity. 

Start by keeping a collection of six bricks in different places you frequent around the home, and use them in a way that makes sense. Soon enough, you and your kids will be creating your own activities and discovering the joy of learning through play. 

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