child development
More Than Child's Play: Favorite Toys Can Provide Clues to Future Career Choice

99% of architects played with LEGO® bricks

New research* from LEGO® UK reveals how children’s future careers can start to be carved out in their early years through play preferences - with architects having preferred construction toys, nurses most likely to have chosen dolls and IT workers having opted for computer games.

Architects were the professionals that were most likely to be influenced at an early stage through their preferred toys - construction sets. The research showed that 54% of architects had decided on their future vocation before the age of 16, compared to the British average of 15% - highlighting that toys such as LEGO bricks can help develop creativity and life skills.
The study of more than 2,000 adults found parallels across a number of professions:
- Those in caring and people professions – such as nursing, teaching and recruitment - were most likely to favour dolls and action figures
- ‘Problem solvers’ in banking or accountancy were most likely to enjoy board games and puzzles
- Marketing and advertising professionals were most likely to play with creative sets such as painting kits and Play-Doh
- IT workers preferred playing with computer consoles and games

Construction toys such as LEGO bricks were found to be instrumental in forming budding architects’ ambitions, with 99 per cent** of architects, including Royal Academy President, Sir Nicholas Grimshaw (architect of the Eden Project), and David Chipperfield, winner of the 2007 RIBA Stirling Prize, having played with the toy bricks when growing up.

Dr Nicola Pitchford, a Developmental Psychologist at the University of Nottingham says, “The toys that children gravitate towards help promote the skills they may draw on in their future careers. Architects use a very clear set of logical skills which can be linked to the cognitive skills children learn and develop when playing with construction or building toys such as LEGO bricks. These sorts of toys also encourage the creativity that is key to the profession as the number of constructions children can build is endless.”

Rory McCoy, an architect with the award winning firm, Gareth Hoskins Architects says, “I loved playing with construction sets and other building toys when growing up. I can still remember my excitement at the sudden realisation that I could make buildings structurally sound with my LEGO bricks – I couldn’t wait to find my next big architectural discovery!”

*LEGO UK polled 2000 British people through One Poll in January 2009
**LEGO UK polled 235 architects through the architectural website www.bdonline.co.uk in January 2009