The revered Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Jung put his finger on why play is not just about amusement, but rather a crucial tool for human development. “The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect, but by the play instinct,” he said.
In this hectic world where smartphones are never off and schedules have become ever tighter, it’s possible to forget this powerful purpose of play – especially when raising our children.
However, Ramadan offers a valuable opportunity to open a window of meaningful family fun time and develop values and skills that will stand youngsters in good stead for the rest of their lives.
That’s why LEGO has launched an innovative online campaign – #BuildingGoodness – to foster qualities such as kindness, respect, patience and acceptance, which are all emphasised during the holy month.
The idea behind the campaign is that with shorter Ramadan working hours there’s naturally more time for families to be together – and by choosing to spend that time in LEGO play, everyone can feel more connected while letting their imaginations run free.
“During the holy month, there is heightened consciousness, reflection, time and a slower pace of life,” explains Aalia Thobani, Child Development Expert at The Developing Child Centre. “I think it’s an open invitation for all parents to focus on the quality of time they’re spending with their children and increase the bond they have. You learn about your children and they learn about you, and through this you’re sharing your own values with them.”
She stressed the importance of understanding what quality time means.
“It’s not just being on the sofa while they play on the floor. It means being focused on the same activity, with the same point of reference. Getting down to their eye level is super important too, as is getting rid of all distractions – so put those phones away. Spending quality time with your child is not just nice to do; it’s essential for their development.”
When adult family members interact with kids through LEGO, it isn’t simply a case of helping them create fun things with the blocks, say experts. It offers a chance to improve their communication skills and involves a back and forth in teaching and learning.
“When spending time in LEGO play, families and siblings imagine together, they build together, and in the process they show kindness and compassion to each other,” says Urszula Bieganska, Head of Marketing, LEGO Middle East and Africa. “They can also learn about different professions through the LEGO sets (like firemen, police, pilot, architect, among many others) and appreciate and respect what they do – all through play.”
As early as 20 months children begin learning to invent and imagine, create fantasy scenarios and make artful statements, helping to build self-esteem and leading to the development of confidence, active problem-solving skills and independent thought, says the LEGO Play Well Report 2018 based on global research on play patterns.
Through LEGO play children learn main social skills such as communication, collaboration, confidence and creativity – essential for growing into well-rounded young adults.
On top of these is patience – a virtue especially emphasised during Ramadan. Playtime is ideal for developing patience as a core skill in children. And parents also get to build on their patience while playing with their kids.
“When children imagine something and come to build it but encounter obstacles it teaches them to take a step back and try another way,” explains Bieganska. “By failing and trying again, they not only learn to be patient but also resilient, and we’ve seen how important these skills are for leading a successful life.”
This Ramadan, the LEGO #BuildingGoodness campaign aims to not only bring families together but to teach children to be kind to each other.
“If one kid is shy, then the others should welcome him or her to play with them. Also, while building they learn to be tolerant and calm with each other until the desired build is complete,” she adds.
For more information, visit @LEGOMiddleEast