LEGO produces nearly 20 billion LEGO bricks a year – or 36,000 a minute, and also makes 306 million (tiny) tyres a year – more than any other ‘tyre’ manufacturer.
Lego blocks are part of every childhood, and we have surely all spent many happy hours as children building a tiny Lego fantasy world. Let’s look at where it all began. The Lego Group began in the carpentry workshop of Ole Kirk Christiansen, in Billund, Denmark. After the second world war, there was little call for carpentry work, and he began building wooden toys in his workshop – starting with a wooden truck that could be taken apart and put back together again.
This was a great success and very popular with children, and the range of buildable toys grew steadily. The brick in its present form was launched in 1958. Ole named his company LEGO – from the Danish from ‘leg godt’ – ‘play well’. Incidentally, the phrase also translates as ‘I put together’ in Latin. The company is still family owned, and is now run by Ole’s grandson. Click through to the Lego home page to read about their history, achievements and new themes and developments.
As parents, we can encourage children to play with Lego, safe in the knowledge that they are acquiring new skills every time that they click a few blocks together. Lego stimulates learning in the the following areas:
- It stimulates creative play and provides tools that develop lateral thinking in a relaxed environment.
- Lego creates a sense of spatial awareness and teaches mathematical concepts such as symmetry, shape and geometry.
- It improves literacy as older children work with instructions.
- It encourages children to plan, execute and complete a task.
- It enhances communication and critical thinking.
- It refines and promotes fine motor skills development.
Many adults also nurse a not so secret love for Lego, and as Lego has become more theme-oriented and elaborate, so has it’s adult fan-base. Artists and builders have explored Lego’s possibilities, and created fantastic works that both adults and children can marvel at.
We love Lego for the deceptive simplicity of its concept – just a few brightly coloured bricks, that invite children to touch, explore, create and learn. If you are still looking for that last-minute stocking-filler, we recommend that you get a box of Lego. Who knows, your children might even allow you to play with the blocks yourself.