It is the job of every parent to prepare their child for life. That comes in all shapes and forms for their entire life – teaching them manners when they are young, sharing the importance of healthy eating, helping them with their schooling, explaining the birds and the bees or getting them involved in music or philanthropy. There is an opportunity around every corner and anything can be turned into a life lesson.
We also encourage the girls to choose a sport that would interest them. They have participated in soccer, tumbling and swim team to name a few. Right now, they are focusing on track. Not only does it build physical strength but it gives them confidence as well. Giving them opportunities to succeed on their own by using their talents is key.
When the girls were little, we regularly presented them with the chance to discover, solve and resolve matters. “How much change should the cashier give us back?” was a very common one. My girls excel at math and science. Both girls are part of the school district’s Extended Learning Program and Miss M just completed Advanced Lego Robotics. I truly believe it is because we encouraged such thinking when they were young. Calculator, smalculator... we’ve got brains.
When a toy opens the door to education, I jump at the chance to get the girls involved. Learning when you don’t know you’re really learning is THE best kind. LEGO® Friends are a perfect example of this. Miss K has always been very interested in imaginative play whereas Miss M has always enjoyed structured play. The process of following the directions to build something then utilize it to bring the characters to life became an ideal outlet for the two to play together. A merging of their two worlds.
We sat down the other night to assemble a new kit – a juice bar! Usually, I’m totally forbidden from helping because they enjoy the process so much. Seriously… they normally wouldn’t let me help. This time they were under strict orders to let mom be involved because “it’s for work.” It was pretty cool to watch them and help with the assembly process. Sometimes we got a little off task and got goofy. Quality time “in the name of work” is always the best.
If you aren’t familiar with LEGO® Friends, let me fill you in. They’re themed… like normal LEGO® kits… except they all revolve around girl-friendly activities. A yacht, stables, a tree house just to name a few. Construction helps develop their problem solving skills while also opening up their imagination. STEM is an important focal point for girls and these types of project reinforce those skills.
The girls took turns reading the instructions and adding the different building blocks where appropriate. Aside from just standard construction, the sets are filled with adorable details like flower pots, glasses of juice and miniature vegetables. This one even had a cash register, purse and some money as well as a patio seating area!
I already knew a lot about the girls’ general play-styles but I learned quite a lot about how they like to play with their LEGO® Friends. As I said, they don’t usually let me help. While the sets can come apart and be reassembled (isn’t that half the fun?), my girls don’t like when the sets get broken apart. Nor do they like mixing and mingling the different pieces. I asked if they ever closed off a doorway or moved the countertop to the other side of the room and they both exclaimed “no!” They like the sets “as designed”. I guess I can’t blame them because they are totally cute. I had to wait until the girls left the room to add a whole bunch of customers to the juice bar for the photo shoot. When they returned, they couldn’t stop giggling about all the people!
One thing that I found extremely inspiring about this project is the connection between LEGO® Friends and Girls on the Run, an organization to inspire girls to achieve their limitless potential. Watching my girls both on the track and playing with the sets in our home drove home the partnership. For more information on LEGO® Friends, check out their website, or connect with Lego on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.