The importance of purposeful play and hands-on learning for future readiness

LEGO® Education’s Dr Jenny Nash explains why embracing joyful, play-based learning experiences can benefit every student

30 Second Briefing

For over 40 years, LEGO® Education has been working with teachers and educational specialists like you to deliver playful learning experiences that bring subjects to life in the classroom and make learning fun and impactful.

How does LEGO Education define purposeful play, and why is it particularly relevant when it comes to preparing today’s students for the future?

At LEGO Education we believe that when learning is joyful, it is more meaningful, interactive, and engaging for both teachers and students.

These types of learning experiences spark passion in teachers and set students up to thrive as lifelong learners through better understanding of their rapidly evolving world.

Research shows that learning through purposeful play helps to cultivate children’s social, emotional, physical, and creative skills.

We believe that play in the classroom should be intentionally designed to ensure students are developing the STEM/STEAM knowledge and skills needed for their future.

Purposeful play empowers us to rethink the physical classroom experience to foster the curiosity, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills.

Our Expert
Dr Jenny Nash

Dr Jenny Nash

Head of Education Impact, LEGO® Education

Area of expertise: Dr Jenny Nash serves as Head of Education Impact, U.S. for LEGO® Education, where she is an advocate for playful hands-on learning and focuses on instilling confidence in learning in students and teachers.

She has worked in various levels of education, including as a middle and high school science teacher, professional development provider, and educational specialist.

What are some of the benefits of purposeful play for students and teachers, both academically and non-academically?

Play is natural – when you see a child playing, you see a child learning.

Purposeful play is rooted in pedagogical approaches such as inquiry-based learning, which are known to improve student learning outcomes.

It encourages students to systematically explore, experiment and continually iterate to find solutions or new approaches to problems, or even just investigate a new idea.

Students benefit from all opportunities to connect ideas, nurture creativity, and apply their knowledge and skills. Playful learning experiences provide a way for students to naturally discover and engage in these learning experiences.

“Purposeful play is rooted in pedagogical approaches such as inquiry-based learning, which are known to improve student learning outcomes.”

Learning through play is often referred to as an approach that “levels the playing field”; what is it about purposeful play that has such a positive impact on accessibility?

Play levels the playing field by meeting every student where they are, regardless of their background or prior experiences.

Play also allows students to draw their own conclusions based on their experience, without a need to define right and wrong answers.

report by The LEGO Foundation shows that learning through play can close achievement gaps, helping all children develop critical skills they will need to succeed throughout their lives.

One outcome of a playful learning approach is the diverse ideas that students can showcase and discuss as part of the learning. And when students are talking about their experience, then they are learning.

Need to know
  • Future-proof students’ skills, and make them confident life-long learners by giving them unlimited possibilities for hands-on, playful STEAM learning with the LEGO Learning System.
  • A true STEAM solution
    Every lesson is designer to help students develop a full range of STEAM skills using familiar LEGO building elements and Minifigures to help connect abstract concepts to real-life experiences.
  • Built-in scaffolding for easy adoption
    Easy implementation at the classroom or school level, along with the support of built-in scaffolding and professional development, allows teachers to focus on their students, and drive successful learning outcomes.
  • A toolbox to unlock unlimited possibilities
    Deliver unlimited STEAM learning possibilities with an interconnected system of solutions that work seamlessly together, driving familiarity over time to unlock deeper learning across grade levels, with or without technology.

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