Beloved Toy to Learning Tool

Beloved Toy to Learning Tool

A favorite childhood toy has become a therapeutic tool.

Legos are commonly used as a tool in schools and therapy centers across the country. 

“Kids with disabilities at the high school are still struggling with fine motor skills and so putting legos together and taking them apart is good for them. It’s a big step for our kids,” exceptional child and mild to severe disabilities teacher, Christina Minton said. Minton works daily to help her students gain skills that will help them in everyday life. 

Lego therapy is largely practiced at many therapy centers across the world. Working to build structures together is one of the many tactics that therapists and educators use. They help children with disabilities learn life skills such as color sorting, fine motor skills, and the ability to share. 

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“Colors aren’t cut and dry for all of our kids; color sorting is a big thing we do. Then sometimes we have to work on sharing or not getting frustrated by having an unpreferred peer come in to work with them. So cognitively, there’s a lot of skills that are going to be developed with that,”Minton said. Many students that enter her classroom don’t have all of the skills that most neurotypical people have automatically and for them, learning through play such as sorting legos or taking them apart and putting them back together is majorly beneficial.

“We have all kinds of fidgets but sometimes kids just need a brain break from all the information we are putting inside their brains to just focus on something that they can do. And so some of our high functioning kids who don’t have problems with legos that might be just a good break for them to play with them for a minute,” Minton said. Nearly everyone can relate to the sentiment of needing a brain break. Some kids who don’t struggle with legos often find them helpful to take their minds off things that they can’t do and replace it with something that they can. 

Even people who don’t have the fine motor skills to enjoy classic legos are still able to enjoy Lego Duplo, a scaled up version of the beloved bricks. Lego Duplo is a classic for those who lack the dexterity to assemble tiny pieces by offering them a larger version to work with, oftentimes improving self esteem. 

“We have all kinds of things in task buckets back there. Anywhere from looking at orders and making orders to certain colors, putting nuts and bolts together. A lot of them are real life skills, just putting silverware in the silverware tray is a challenge, rolling silverware like all those things that we automatically know how to do, they don’t,” Minton said. Adaptive toys are huge for being able to help kids build essential skills they wouldn’t otherwise have.

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