The kiddies have helped me put this together a few times, not many- they usually start strong and then their attention fizzles by the end of Step Two and somehow mommy winds up finishing it. Today, Wild One asked me to help him build the castle. Hmmmmm, we'll see about that.
Legos aren't just for imaginative play, when you are putting a set together then you're following directions and you're counting spaces (to make sure everything is placed as per the instructions). The part that I really like about the Lego sets is that it uses pictures to tell the child what to do. Between steps, the child looks at the two pictures to determine what's different (look more math- comparing), locates the correct pieces (classifying and sorting/science and math) and figures out how to place those pieces so that they match the picture (more math and sequencing).
Throughout his construction of the castle, he kept saying, "I'm a builder!" All I needed to do was to remind him every now and then to compare his castle to the one in the book, and there were a couple of times when I needed to point out a slightly misplaced block. Other than that, the boy did it!
I love seeing that look of concentration on his face. I remember reading in several Montessori books to let them work, meaning not to interrupt with questions or comments (including compliments). It's hard staying quiet, so now when they are working I will change the music to something I want to sing along to (instead of listening to The Nutcracker or Kari Boral). It helps keep me from interrupting if I'm singing Billy Joel or Linkin Park.
When Little Miss woke up from her nap, Wild One was so happy to show her what he created - are you ready? - for her! I love that kid!
Little Miss ran to the castle, sat down and the two of them began playing and laughing.
Wild One didn't know he was learning. He didn't know he was practicing math, science and pre-reading. He didn't know he was learning how to follow multi-step instructions. He didn't know that he was strengthening his fine motor muscles to prepare him for writing and cutting with scissors. He was playing and learning through play, and for us that is always the best way.