I grew up playing with Legos and building all types of structures, big and small. Legos are simple toys by themselves but built together can turn into a complex and amazing project! As a parent and therapist I have used Legos for both play and therapeutic purposes. I recently visited LEGOLAND Discovery Center in Yonkers, NY and wanted to share some language tips when visiting this fun and exciting place for both children and adults. When I visited Legoland, I found myself watching adults having as much fun as their child because Legos are not only for children, they can also be for parents. LEGOLAND also has a parent’s night! For more information, click here.
This visit was my third since the LEGOLAND Discovery Center has opened and each time we visit there; there are new attractions to see in addition to the static activities. For example, this time we visited there was a new exhibit called Lego Ninjago Laser Training Camp.
Would you like some tips on how to work on language when visiting LEGOLAND? I happy to have teamed up with LEGOLAND in helping to provide some practical language tips for you and your child the next time you visit LEGOLAND. I am going to break down my tips into different sections of LEGOLAND. Many of these tips will carry over to your home when playing with your Legos!
When you walk into the LEGO Mini Land, there is a whole city of Legos! It’s amazing how this LEGO Mini Land looks so realistic. The city includes landmarks such as The Statue of Liberty, Times Square Yankees Stadium and much more. Your child can press a button to get the rock and roll band to start playing, see fireworks at the Statue of Liberty and check out the moving train that resembles the NYC subway. As you are walking through this exhibit your child can naturally comment. Point out the different landmarks and label them (e.g. “I see the Statue of Liberty”). Play “I spy” game to see if your child can label what they see. If you had visited any of those locations ask your child to recall information (“When did we see Times Square?” “Can you tell me what you remember about visiting the Statue of Liberty?”). Encourage your child to describe what is occurring in each display (e.g. I see the trains moving underneath,” “The Statue of Liberty is so tall and green,” “I see firework by the Statue of Liberty.”).
LEGO Racers: Build and Test: LEGO Racers is where you can create your vehicle to race built with all different size and shape legos. Your child can be creative in constructing their car which can be important for problem solving and critical thinking. They can figure out through problem solving what makes one car faster than another. This can also be an ideal time to teach shapes, patterns and sequencing. Building vehicles together can also be a great activity for turn taking, working together, resolving conflict and commenting. When your child has completed constructing their car, race it against other cars and see who wins! A great opportunity to comment “Wow that car is fast!”, “I won,” etc. If your child is too young to build their car, work with them in building it, which can be an ideal bonding experience.
The Play Zone is a fun place for your child to climb and play. There are different stations setup with larger legos for children to build and problem solve together. When you send your child into the kids only play zone, they can work on their social skills with peers, turn taking, problem-solving, cooperative play and improving their motor skills. For any child, it’s a perfect opportunity to let loose, bounce and build your imagination! My son went into Play Zone and stayed there for almost an hour playing with the other children and building all different structures. He was also able to recall information even a couple of weeks later about what he did in the Play Zone.
The Duplo village includes a play area for children to build and play with larger legos. This area can be ideal for working on colors, actions, cooperative play, and commenting. Across from the Duplo Village are the earthquake tables that can be used to create your legos with an optional shaking brick. Have fun by building your structures and then turning the knob to see if your structure will fall. This activity can help build problem-solving skills, prediction (e.g. “Do you think your building will fall?”) and early engineering skills. When you turn the dial, ask your child what each color means and what color will make your building shake the most and least. Work together with your child or have them work alone or with a peer. A perfect opportunity for turn taking and cooperative play!
In addition to the attractions that I discussed above, there are many more places to visit in LEGOLAND including a LEGO 4D theater, a LEGO factory tour, Merlin’s apprentice ride and much more! The LEGO store is your last stop which includes tons of fun lego projects, games, etc. These lego projects can also be used an ideal carry over activity for home.
Check out LEGOLAND Discovery website here to check out the attractions and to buy tickets. Not only is LEGOLAND a great place to visit with the family, they also have a school trip program. Teachers are allowed a free visit to LEGOLAND prior to the school trip to help plan lessons around the trip. There is also a school trip preparation guide that LEGOLAND provides here.
LEGO Carryover Activities: The fun doesn’t have to end when you leave LEGOLAND! Here are some suggestions on some carryover activities that you can do with your child at home.
Pick up a fun lego project at the LEGO store and build something magical with your child. We bought the Eiffel Tower which we are still working on!
With Fall beginning on September 22nd, Lego City Work This Farm is ideal for reading after apple or pumpkin picking with your child. This Lego book is about what farmers do when working on the farm. Do you want to work on language when reading this book? There are many new vocabulary words that can targeted when reading this book such as “wheat”, “combine harvester”, “tractor”, and much more. Discuss with your child how wheat is made and what we need wheat for (e.g. we need wheat to make flour. Flour helps us make breads, muffins, scones, etc). For tips on how to use dialogic reading, check out my tips here. For tips on how to support the Common Core Standards Curriculum with picture books, click here.