Learning through play and the impact that activity based learning has on the confidence and motivation of children has been extensively researched. 95% of children say that play helps them learn new things, 97% say they feel happy when playing and 95% of parents/carers agreed that play nurtured confidence in their children (The LEGO Foundation Play Well report 2018).

It is therefore no surprise that when Daniel LeGoff, PhD, LP first introduced Lego based therapy, it became an increasingly popular therapeutic intervention to support the development needs of children all across the world!

Whilst Lego play is hugely popular with children, it might not be the first therapeutic hobby that you might think about when asked about self-care for adults. For me – I love building Lego sets! There is just something so relaxing about doing a hands on, creative activity.

In the Lego Play Well report for 2022, 93% of parents reported regularly feeling stressed, and 80% were actively looking for new ways to unwind. 87% said play helps them relax and feel calm, while 86% said it helps them unwind from work, and 85% said it offers them relief from everyday life, chores, and worries.

As we mentioned in our previous blog post, Hannah and I attended the Tes SEND Show in London. We met and spoke with so many like-minded people, all of whom had ideas which really resonated with us and the three key differences Love Squared wants to make:

  1. Improve mental health
  2. Reduce social isolation
  3. Increase the ability to thrive at school

When we spotted the Play Included C.I.C. stall advertising the Brick-by-Brick® programme, we just knew we had to go speak to them. We met with Dr. Elinor Brett, an educational psychologist and the director of Play Included, who told us about the work they do.

The Brick-by-Brick® programme supports social and emotional wellbeing and communication for young people, aged from preschool to adulthood. LEGO play and the Brick-by-Brick® Programme so clearly aligns with the vision of Love Squared – a society where imagination, love and endless possibilities are the everyday words that people associate with child and family services. LEGO play allows children to actively engage in joyful and imaginative play, where they are able to have meaningful social interactions in a safe environment.

I was lucky to get an invitation from Dr. Eli Brett to join the Level 2 Facilitator training in Bristol. Others at the training had traveled from much further afield – Surrey, Exeter, Birmingham and even Slovenia! We began with an icebreaker activity; how many Duplo bricks can you hang off the table. This was our first lesson in social communication and problem solving, our first introduction to how Brick Club can help neurodiverse young people. Throughout the training day, it became more evident that their child led, neurodiversity affirming programme was much like our services at Love Squared. Everything we do is very much child-led and person-centred, and we want to make learning exciting and alway involve the child’s interests in the sessions – the same way that Brick Clubs are structured!

This training combined the things that I’m so passionate about: Finding things that children are able to do and doing more of those things without trying to change anyone, and play! I am so very excited to put my new skills into practice, both in a professional and a personal capacity.