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Everyone is familiar with the colorful Lego bricks that provide kids with hours of play. But Lego is more than a toy: it can really benefit your child's social development, mathematical thinking, and build the bond you have together.

Lego bricks are among the toys that have stood the test of time and will likely continue to be part of the lives of many children in future generations. Its secret, which it shares with other popular toys, lies in the fact that it is open ended. Lego can be used to create endless different structures for a myriad of different purposes.

Playing with Lego encourages logical thinking and reasoning skills, promotes a number sense, and inspires kids to share their play with peers, siblings and parents alike. Lego is timeless, and it isn't merely a toy.

Playing with it can offer your child many psychological benefits.

A Brief History Of Lego

Lego started off in the workshop of Danish carpenter Ole Kirk Christiansen, who began making wooden toys for children in 1932. The name "Lego" — which means "play well" — was introduced in 1934, and the company first started making plastic toys in 1947.

An early version of the interlocking bricks that are now simply known as "Lego" appeared in 1949, along with other toys. The company continued to place a heavy emphasis on quality as Ole Kirk's son took over the company, and a modern version of Lego bricks that are still on the market today was designed in 1958.

Since then, various themes were added to Lego's repertoire. If you have kids or played with Lego when you were small yourself, you may recognize pirates, robots, space, the Wild West, town and city and other themes. Lego's pieces have become increasingly complex, and go well beyond the simple building bricks today. 

Indeed, those wheels, flat boards, window pieces, traffic lights and others can add a nice new dimension to play. But they are not necessary, and it can be good to go back to basics. 

Those simple but intelligently designed interlocking bricks undoubtedly remain Lego's main strength. 

Lego: A Toy For All Ages And Abilities

The only other two toys that come to mind that have similar staying power are baby dolls and balls. Both of those continue to provide many hours of play for children of both sexes (given the opportunity), because they tap into two human needs — the need to mimic adults and prepare for caring, and the need for competition and speed.

What makes Lego bricks so appealing? For one, they meet a need for creative play in children of nearly all ages and ability levels. Even babies can play with the larger and simpler Primo and Duplo cubes, but kids can start building with standard Lego bricks as soon as the oral exploration phase ends and they stop putting everything in their mouth (before that, Lego bricks can pose a choking hazard).

A simple stacking action may be the first thing a young builder engages in, but larger and more complex structures will soon start appearing.

Whatever a child's skill level, there is no need for Lego to be frustrating — a structure will appear no matter how a kid uses the cubes.

Those kids that like following instructions and creating pre-determined structures can follow along with the suggestions offered in the manual or find ideas on the internet. Those that like to use their own imagination can do so.

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