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Are you a LEGO fan too? Yes, same here! As a child I preferred LEGO over dolls. It’s still my favourite when I play with the children. I really enjoy building with them, it’s just the best fun.
LEGO has always been a pioneer not just in the creation of this wonderful toy, but before every other toy company. They have been the first to campaign for gender-equality, diversity and inclusivity. They want to empower every child regardless of race, gender, language or religion. Lately, LEGO announced that they are going to invest up to US$400 million over three years to accelerate sustainability efforts.
This included bringing in paper bags and phasing out plastic bags as well as other major changes such as developing sustainable materials, going zero waste and carbon neutral as a company and working hard on promoting circularity – encouraging people to donate their pre-loved bricks to children in need of play. We still use the bricks we used to have as children, mixing them with new bits. The bricks, 40 years on, are perfectly compatible and functioning.
LEGO also puts a lot of effort into children’s education. It’s of course a STEAM toy, and their LEGO Foundation covers a lot of programmes from early childhood. It enables children to become life-long learners and to develop skills that will help them in the ever-changing world.
Build the Change
Leading the conversation in what has become the biggest challenge in our history, climate change, LEGO has developed an online platform for children to learn from and to make a real difference. The LEGO Build the Change online platform is a powerful way for children to use their imagination and get creative (while having fun), when thinking about the environment, climate change and biodiversity. It’s all about tapping into their imagination, creating brilliant and innovative ideas.
The LEGO Build the Change platform itself is designed for 7-year-olds and above. My son is just under and because he can read he can use it no problem. However, they cannot use it without the parent signing up for a parent account and then creating an account for a child. The parent needs to sign in every time the child wants to use it. I think this is very sensible and responsible. It also encourages the parent to take part in activities.
Linda and Leo, two little LEGO figurine characters, will guide you through how it works. After signing in, you can select topics, such as which environmental problem concerns you the most, e.g. lack of recycling and the use of non-renewable energy. You can then watch short videos explaining the problems on the children’s level of understanding. I especially liked the way they explained climate change to the children, so that they can understand why it is happening and what we can do to help.
I also really liked how they explained what experts are already working on to help. They give very good, positive examples of all the ideas that have already made a difference. In my view, this is super important for everyone. But particularly children, as they can feel very little and helpless as they learn about climate change.
Then there’s a lot of fun and educational activities to do too. Like creating a wild animal and their habitat. Then watching a video about a selected wild animal and how it’s habitat is changing. Learning what effect it will have on the animal. It’s good to be around as a parent so they can explain to you what they have learnt. This makes it a great family activity.
And then – this is the best part, children need to think how and what they would do to help these animals, based on what they watched in the video. For example: planting more flowers the bees like to save them. Or choosing to cycle and walk when we can. These seem like little actions. They count and add up, plus they give the children a sense that they can help and do something about it. That they are not too little, because little actions add up and we all need to do our part.
What I really liked about it
We have created his favourite animal, a raccoon – and talked about how raccoons are now forced to go into cities and eat what they can find in bins, because they can’t find enough food in the wild. So the solution would be to provide raccoons with adequate food in their natural habitat. So more trees, flowers and plants will result in more food for wild animals. We need to protect more wild habitats and preserve them for animals.
The biggest and best thing about The LEGO Build The Change platform is that it really helps to build the change, brick by brick. Children are being educated on topics that are important in order to help them to build their own future with the knowledge and skills they can access at a young age. The platform explains the problems in a gentle way and also gives a tool on how to cope. It not only gives positive examples but also encourages the children to think about solutions and come up with new ideas.
I’ve been reading lots of positive news lately. One is about a 15-year-old boy developing bioplastics from algae and other young people coming up with really clever ideas, thinking out of the box and discovering a new way they can help the fight against climate change. We need more of these young people. But our input as a parent is just as valuable. The Build The Change Platform is a fantastic way to encourage the children to build up this kind of innovative thinking and problem solving.