Awhile ago we came across an article, written by Gillian Tett in FT Weekend. In it, she describes how serendipity brought her family back into contact with LEGO® – a rainy weekend, two kids trapped in a hotel room, and LEGO® room service to save the day.
She extends the story to talk generally about the cultural impact LEGO® has had (and is having!) on our communities. LEGO® is everywhere right now – the movie, the new model sets from Star Wars and elsewhere, and places like BRICKS 4 KIDZ that are encouraging the use of LEGO® to get kids engaged in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) concepts. You could say that perhaps LEGO® is more influential right now than it ever has been.
Gillian raises good points about this impact. The movie has something for everyone – and, side note here, if you haven’t seen it, give it a whirl! Kids love the colour, action, music, characters and whimsical story. But for parents, the story presents an interesting message. As Gillian says in the article:
“The bigger message it imparts is this: making things with your hands can be really cool; creating real-life structures is (almost) as exciting as texting friends, playing computer games or watching American Idol. And right now that is a particularly valuable moral for American and European parents to hammer home.”
It is essential now for kids to engage with STEM concepts. Articles everywhere point to early exposure to STEM as a key influencer on graduates’ levels of interest in science and engineering. Governments, school systems and companies everywhere are launching initiatives to increase this exposure – another article today in NY City Lens covers the investments in NYC by public-private partnerships to get children into STEM-related activities. In Australia too there is increasing discussion of such investments. After all, STEM is the gateway to well-paying jobs and a stronger economy.
It is good to see. We all know fads can be fleeting. LEGO®, at eight decades old, has ridden the tide of popularity better than most. And if it continues to excite kids about building and creating things with their hands, then we hope it has decades more to go.
** The image used in this post is from the original FT article – read it, and share!