I want to teach my children how to think independently and problem solve. As the wife of a computer scientist, I see just how much automation is becoming part of everyday life. Artificial intelligence is creating machines that complete incredibly challenging tasks. Here in California’s Silicon Valley, for example, I see self-driving cars on a daily basis. There remains one area of intelligence that is uniquely human: the ability to think creatively, out of the box, in order to solve problems. How can we inspire kids to think creatively about design in order to solve problems? In our house, it starts with LEGO® Classic.
How to Inspire Kids to Think Creatively About Design
If you follow me on Instagram, you know that we are a family of LEGO fans. My kids save up money to buy LEGO sets. Mike and I build LEGO sets together as at-home dates. LEGO minifigures feature heavily in my children’s stop motion videos. The defined sets are awesome for discovering new ways to build with LEGO bricks, and there is something incredibly satisfying about the way the pieces snap together perfectly, exactly as shown in the instructions.
Using LEGO Classic to Inspire Creative Thinking About Design
Do you want to challenge your kids to think creatively about design? Pull out a bin of LEGO Classic bricks. This simple creative thinking activity was one of the first things we did after returning from Scotland. Getting creative is a fabulous way to soothe jet-lagged kids!
LEGO Classic Designs
Here are a few favorites of the many designs my kid came up with.
Our LEGO Classic set includes several of these silly round eye blocks. My kids used them to build robots. We had seen several robots at my children’s favorite museum in Scotland. Robots are also very popular in our house, because Mike works with them as part of his job. The kids put a lot of thought into function as they designed these machines. The robot on the left designed by ten-year-old Emma makes fire, “kind of like an oven”. The one on the right is an electricity robot that flies, like a drone.
Creative Storytelling with LEGO Classic
The robots my children build come with strong personalities that inspire all sorts of storytelling. Eight-year-old Johnny built the mother and baby robot set. His baby robot even has a little baby robot bed.
My kids love the idea of houses on wheels for traveling around the world. You take the roof off of this moving house created by Emma at night to reveal a bed, table, plant, and water faucet.
Six-year-old Lily’s moving house includes a pet bird and a a puppy.
Pro Tips for Getting Creative with LEGO Classic
LEGO Systems recently paired up with the world-renowned improv group, The Upright Citizens Brigade, to show just how fun it can be to use bricks for fun, inspirational out-of-the-box thinking. We watched this resulting video before starting our building session for this post. The kids LOVED the creativity of these actors, and it definitely inspired them to see the sky as the limit with their designs. LEGO Master Builders and the Upright Citizens Brigade Experts have some tips on how to have a fun family improv activity at home:
Warm Up to Building
Start by building a tower. Your tower can be any height or width, but you have to start and end with your favorite color? Why? Building is intuitive. A sure-fire way to unlock your creativity is to just start clicking bricks together. Giving yourself a simple exercise with one or two guidelines is an easy way to get started.
Build Your World
Pick something you can see to build with bricks. Don’t get caught up on details. Focus on the general shape or color and add one distinguishing detail. You can see this happening with Lily’s dog. The colors aren’t realistic, but the shape of the brick she picked for the head is reminiscent of a dog’s head.
The Bricks Tell a Story
Ask yourself a question and build the answer. LEGO Master Builders and the Upright Citizens Brigade Experts recommend starting with something simple, like “What’s my favorite day of the week”. Then build what Thursday looks like to you. Share the story out loud – even if you are by yourself. Why? Snapping bricks together helps us come to decisions and formulate ideas faster and more clearly. You’ll find if you set out to build an answer to a question that the building flows easily and you’ll amaze yourself with your skills and insights.
What will you build?
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.