Blocks are perhaps the most basic kinds of toys, but they’re anything but boring. Blocks are universally entertaining, but while your little one discovers the joys of building and stacking, they’re also learning a lot. In addition to improving motor skills, playing with blocks also enhances problem-solving abilities.
This is one toy that’s been around for centuries, and it’s definitely something your child should have in their toy box.
Benefits of Blocks
Even the simplest set of blocks contains the seeds of imagination, creation, and destruction. Your toddler will enjoy stacking a tower of blocks as high as possible and then watching what happens when they knock them down.
This is one way that toddlers develop fine motor skills and explore concepts like early math, geometry, problem-solving, and cause and effect. After they figure out the blocks’ properties – size, weight, shape, and stability level – it won’t be long before they’re building cities complete with roadways and bridges.
Here’s what to do
Once your baby has developed better eye-hand coordination, she’ll love adding building and stacking to her repertoire of fun. Any objects that can be placed on top of each other will do: Try offering her wooden, foam, or cardboard blocks, board books, shoe boxes, cereal boxes, and plastic cups. And while she might need your help erecting her skyscraper, she’ll definitely want to knock it down all by herself.
This is also the perfect age for a set of stacking rings. By trying to get the rings on the pole (or, better yet, turning the pole upside down and dumping the rings), she’ll get valuable lessons in problem solving and the concept of size. Don’t expect your baby to get the sequence right (with the biggest ring on the bottom) just yet — that won’t happen for many months. Just let her at it, sit back, and watch that little brain go to work.
Rules for Blocks
Your toddler’s large, foam blocks will soon become Legos that become a scourge to the soles of parents’ feet. The issue with blocks is that there are just so many of them. Early on, assist your child with proper clean-up and insist that blocks be put away based on your house rules, whether that rule is to clean them up before getting another toy out or that all toys must be picked up at the end of the day.
An exception to this rule might be if your toddler is in the middle of an ongoing project or has trouble dismantling a creation. In this case, allow the work to stand so they can continue to manipulate and admire it. Don’t worry: they’ll soon grow bored, move on, and the blocks can be put away.
You may also want to establish a rule of not allowing your toddler to stack blocks higher than their head. They might be tempted to stand on a chair to stack the blocks even higher or could be injured if heavier blocks fall onto them. You can relax the rules as your child gets better at stacking and knowing how to get out of the way of falling blocks.
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Verywell Family. 2021. Playing Blocks: Why Your Child Should Be Playing With Them. [online] Available at: <https://www.verywellfamily.com/why-your-child-should-be-playing-with-blocks-289706> [Accessed 28 May 2021].
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