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Lego DNA! That’s a cool use for them.
By Mike & Amanda Knowles from
Tacoma, WA, USA (Lego DNA)
[CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

There’s nothing like stepping on an unexpected LEGO to wake you up in the morning. That doesn’t change the fact that LEGO is one of the best toys to encourage creative thought, fine motor skills and spacial awareness.

These types of blocks are flexible enough to help in building all kinds of academic skills, too. You can build the letters of the alphabet, or use the little figurines to represent words your child needs to use. Of course, they’re small enough to encourage basic subtraction, addition and maybe even fractions.

What’s with the LEGO kick, you ask?

Today, I had an interview downtown, and I figured I’d run a couple of errands while I was out. Once I finally got home and logged onto Facebook, I found this article from PRI, about Maia Weinstock. She creates LEGO minifigurines of women who inspire her.

If you check out the link and scroll down to the second picture, you’ll find a LEGO version of Temple Grandin! I’m not autistic myself, but I still did a little happy dance when I saw her. If you’ve been reading my blog for very long, you’ll probably know one of the most important things for me is media representation.

I was absolutely thrilled to see such an accomplished woman on the autism spectrum represented in toy form. It’s even more awesome, because I can see how LEGOs can help kids on the spectrum immensely, especially if their interests fall in the building realm.

Unfortunately, those figures aren’t for sale, but I hope their popularity will encourage LEGO to veer from the old gender based stereotypes.

This was actually rather well timed, because I was just in Target on Friday, shopping for a little girl’s birthday. I noticed LEGO has a pretty huge display of kits just for girls, but passed them up. They were so fixated on the whole pink, purple, shopping, and general “girl stuff” themes.

While there’s nothing strictly wrong with those things, I prefer to avoid them, just like I try not to reinforce the idea of the “hyper-masculine man” when shopping for little boys.

I tend to shop based on interest. If the little girl loves dinosaurs, I’ll get her something that both encourages her to be creative and relates to dinosaurs. If the little boy likes horses, I’ll get him something that encourages creativity and relates to horses.

That said, a part of me can’t wait for the kids in my life to be old enough for science kits. Hopefully, they’ll invite their auntie over to blow stuff up with them. Err, rather, learn about science with them.

Yeah, science. That’s it.

Another part wants them to stay little and adorable forever.

Anyway, it’s incredibly important to offer kids options when it comes to their education and play. Girls and boys should be represented in the adventure-driven kits as well as the traditionally more domestic kits. The same thing could be said for the other toys available.

Just as importantly, people with neurodiverse brains and those with disabilities should also be represented. We all have outstanding things to offer the world, and the sooner we can teach the advantages of diversity to our kids, the better.

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