LEGO is one of those genuinely great toys. For a lot of people, it has been a gateway to a career in the sciences. Simply playing with LEGO can help kids develop spatial reasoning and problem-solving skills. Lego science activities can help kids learn even more specific skills.
If you want to take it a step further and use LEGO to help inspire kids to learn more about science, then you’re in luck because there are some great science LEGO kits out there to try. And be sure to check out our article on STEM LEGO for details of the more STEM-education oriented sets and educational programs.
LEGO Science Sets
I have to own up to being a bit of a skeptic when it comes to LEGO sets. I grew up in a household with a large tub of assorted LEGO pieces. We may have had some special sets, but the pieces soon ended up in the mix with all the generic pieces. That said, there are actually some pretty cool LEGO sets you can now get. Looking at some of the science ones has been enough to make me rethink my stance. Here are a few of my favorites.
LEGO In Space
If you are a fan of space, then LEGO has most certainly got you covered. In amongst the Star Wars themed sets, you can find some fantastic NASA themed LEGO sets. Depending on your kids’ age and their interests, there are two main types to choose from.
For slightly older kids and, quite honestly, parents, there are some fantastic model kits. These allow you to build super detailed models that you’ll want to display when you’ve finished. I was really taken with the International Space Station and the Apollo Saturn V rocket. These detailed models are a great introduction to the precision and science that goes into designing and building spacecraft. Building these models would inspire anyone to learn more about the real versions.
LEGO Research Centre
This research center is one of the LEGO Ideas sets. This means it’s a bit light one building and bigger on imaginative play and details. This set comes with three scientists. There is a paleontology section with a T-rex skeleton and microscope. The astronomy section has a telescope and board of constellations. Finally, the chemistry section features some lab equipment, including bottles and flasks.
It’s an excellent introduction to the idea of different scientific fields. If you have kids that love LEGO and love science, this would be a lovely gift to help them further explore their interests.
LEGO Meets Dinosaurs
Dinosaurs are a big hit with most kids, so it’s no surprise to find that there are some pretty cool LEGO dinosaur kits. For younger kits, you might want to check out the Mighty Dinosaurs Creator kit. It gives kids the chance to build three different dinosaur models, including a T-rex, Triceratops, and a Pteranodon.
If you have an aspiring archeologist or paleontologist, then there is an even better option. There is a LEGO Ideas Dinosaur Fossil Kit. This fabulous set lets you build detailed models of the same three dinos in the Creator kit. Only these ones have over 900 pieces and give you a real taste of the challenge of putting together a fossil skeleton.
LEGO Chain Reactions
I couldn’t talk about cool science LEGO without mentioning this fantastic LEGO set. If you have a child who already has a good-sized LEGO collection, this is a great addition. The LEGO Chain Reaction book is filled with great models for kids to build that let them create Rube-Goldberg machines.
The book comes with a few extra pieces to help your kids make amazing creations. It’s a great way to get kids excited about physics and mechanics without them even realizing that they’re learning.
To make all the machines simultaneously, you need a decent set of LEGO already, so that is something to be aware of. However, this book can be a great way to transform the way your child looks at their existing LEGO set.
LEGO vs Women
In the last decade, LEGO has made a few missteps when it comes to marketing towards girls. You may remember the LEGO friends series, where they painted everything shades of pink and purple and created the most stereotypical ‘girly’ kits possible.
I have to admit that as much as I love LEGO, that blunder did sour my opinion of the company. This is why I was so pleased with what I found while researching this article. LEGO does actually seem to have been making some positive strides towards marketing to girls in a really positive way.
While looking at NASA sets, I found Women of NASA. This pretty cool set celebrates four women who made fantastic contributions to NASA and space science. Featured are Nancy Grace Roman, Margaret Hamilton, Sally Ride, and Mae Jemison. The set does a great job of inspiring kids to learn more about these pioneering women.
In the past, there has been a lack of representative minifigs of women. In my youth LEGO relied on cleavage and pink to denote females on the rare occasions they made one. Here they’ve shown that they can grow and learn because these minifigs are great.
Now I’m not saying LEGO has fully cracked the code just yet. Their sets that aren’t explicitly aimed at girls tend to only feature male figures and pictures of boys playing with them. But, there is hope, and it’s good to know that if you want some decent representation of women in science, you can find it with LEGO.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do LEGOs relate to science?
LEGO can be used to learn about science in many different ways. Just building a tower requires kids to develop a basic understanding of forces and moments. This can be extended by making moving machines that allow children to explore ideas behind mechanics and engineering.
Is Lego good for your brain?
There have been a lot of studies on LEGO and how it affects children’s development. It’s pretty universally agreed that playing with LEGO helps children to improve their spatial reasoning skills, problem solving and allows them a creative outlet. So if you’re looking for a ‘brain friendly’ toy, LEGO is a great choice.
Is Lego an educational toy?
LEGO is a wonderful toy because it is such an open-ended toy. There are so many ways for kids and adults to play with it. Left to their own devices, kids can learn some of the basic principles of engineering and physics. When guided through STEM activities, kids have the opportunity to learn all sorts of skills, from coding to structural engineering.
Last update on 2021-04-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API