This post is part of an ongoing series about how to get and keep kids involved in the sciences. In this post, we look at the similarities between the sciences and the popular kids’ toy, Lego, which has enchanted children for over 80 years. Then, the post will discuss what the scientific community can learn from Lego’s successes and tribulations.
Building blocks for successfully inspiring kids – How the scientific community can learn from Lego
Most of us remember spending hours playing with Legos and exploring how all the pieces could be assembled into whatever we were dreaming of. Today’s kids are still enthralled when playing with these simple and colorful building blocks and pieces. Legos have fascinated children in different countries and from various cultures for over 80 years. Indeed, Legos have been named the “Toy of the Century” twice! How does such an unassuming toy connect, resonate, and inspire multiple generations of kids? Legos spark the imagination and have endless potential. Kids can experiment and solve problems while building. The possibilities are endless and kids aren’t limited!
Today, we struggle to persuade and keep kids interested in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields. Why is this the case, when they share so many similarities with Legos, which are universally loved by kids? This popular toy, like the STEM fields, is based on creativity and problem solving. Researchers use the currently available reagents and equipment (the Lego building blocks) to design solutions and to create novel technology (the envisioned product made of Legos). The potential for scientific discovery is limited only by our imaginations, just like the toy building blocks. Can the scientific community learn from Lego how to charm and encourage kids? Absolutely!
Although the Lego company today is quite successful, in the early 2000s, the business struggled and even contemplated bankruptcy. How did Lego bounce back and reignite the children’s excitement? They started to focus on stories and partnered with franchises such as Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and DC superheroes. Lego even has their own movie! Wouldn’t it be great if researchers could make their own movies to engage children and teach them about the wonders of science? Here at Motionbirth, we’re committed to creating exceptional animations that fascinate, inspire, and spur an interest in scientific research and discoveries. We employ Scientific Storytelling in our videos to share research in a way that is accessible, engaging, and stimulating to viewers. We think that stories can spark and reignite children’s fascination with the STEM fields, just as it did with Legos.