Every Wednesday, I’ll post about multiple intelligences so we can better understand children and why they do what they do.

My nephew, Andy, played with Duplo® blocks, Legos®, and his Thomas the Train for hours and hours at a time. I imagine every family member can testify that our favorite memories of Andy growing up include either watching him play with them or participating with him.

Andy’s imagination was significant. I think he really saw castles, fire stations, and bridges over raging rivers when he built ordinary-looking structures. His trains were carrying important products and many families to their destinations many miles away. His picture-smart strengths were obvious from the very beginning.

He found new ways to connect Thomas’ tracks so he was never bored. His logic-smart abilities allowed him to think things through and predict what pieces he needed for certain constructions. His parents (my brother, Dave, and his wife, Debbie) learned to be very careful checking on him in the middle of the night. They didn’t want to step on tracks or worse yet, Thomas.

Andy played with these toys longer than many boys and girls did. In fact, last Christmas, during his senior year in college, I gave him the Lego® game, Creationary, at his request. Because it’s for ages 7 and older, I wondered if he knew what he was asking for and he assured me he did.

Andy took Creationary back to college with him and played several times with his roommates this past semester. His inventiveness, innovation abilities, and fun through exploration continues.

It’s not an accident that Andy just graduated from Cedarville University with highest honors (a 3.96 GPA), a degree in mechanical engineering, and a fabulous job. Every moment he played with Duplos®, Legos®, and his train was related to this accomplishment. Every moment.

This is why I encourage parents to never answer the common question, “What did you do today?” with “Nothing. I just played with my kids.” There might be nothing more valuable.

The fact that Dave and Deb didn’t make Andy pick up his train set every night to clean his room contributed to his academic excellence. The fact that we purchased expensive Lego® sets for his birthdays was an investment in his future.

Play awakened and strengthened Andy’s smarts and led to his future. Play more!