Trent Ernst, Editor
Tim and Sharon test out the Lego at the library in preparation for Lego Club, starting soon.
There are few things that say “childhood” quite as much as Lego. The venerable building blocks of development, which have been in production since 1949, are popular with children of both genders, making them the perfect plaything for the Tumbler Ridge’s library new Lego Club initiative.
Children’s librarian Sharon Bray says that creative play builds active minds. “Playing with Lego offers kids something physical, something imaginative, and something mechanical. They love the challenge of building on different themes.” More importantly, says Bray, Lego has magic powers: “It can keep boys of any age quiet and occupied.”
But it’s not all about building houses or spaceships. No, Bray says that there is an ulterior motive for getting the kids playing with Lego: getting them to read.
But what is the connection between Lego and books? “Promoting play contributes to early literacy development by increasing attention span, memory, creativity and cooperation as well as language and vocabulary skills,” says Bray. Playing with Lego and other building toys also encourages narrative skills, and other important literacy skills.
Bray says that children can act out stories and rhymes with their lego. “Play allows children to express themselves verbally and make stronger connection with letters, words, language and story, paving the way for future reading skills.”
And, of course, it doesn’t hurt that the program is happening in the library, where the children are surrounded by books.
The idea of a Lego club, says Bray is not unique to Tumbler Ridge, but is used across BC and North America. She says the more she researched the idea, the more enthusiastic she became. “Lego clubs lay the foundation for logical mathematical thinking, scientific reasoning and problem solving. Tactile and kinesthetic learning increases children’s understanding. Play motivates learning.”
And it’s not just scientific and mathematic thinking that improves with Lego. “Lego club will give kids the opportunity to explore their creative side by building with Lego.” The program, says Bray, will be run on a free play format, with occasional themes and challenges. “The library’s Lego program will be suitable for children five and up,” she says. And for the younger children? “We do have a collection of Mega Bloks and Duplo, and will be starting a Wee Ones Building Club.”
Bray says there is currently no official start date, as they are still looking for more Lego. They’ve had a number of families drop off their old Lego, as well as a donation of a number of boxes of brand new Lego from TRU hardware. Bray says “if people have a stash of well-loved Lego gathering cobwebs, they should consider giving their collection a new home at the TR Library.” If you have Lego you’d like to give, donations can be dropped off at the library, or pick-up can be arranged.