One of my 1.5 year old son’s favorite activities is playing with his Melissa & Doug Nesting and Stacking blocks. Anything that he can pile up, and then knock over is guaranteed to catch his interest! Although the knocking down part is by far the highlight; he is getting better at helping to stack them up and even put them away.
These blocks, or any toy that can be stacked, are great developmental tools for toddlers. Physically, stacking blocks helps to develop hand-eye coordination and fine-motor skills. Cognitively, stacking objects enriches a child’s problem solving skills, creativity, as well as self-control.
Self-control is one of the most important skills for toddlers to learn in terms of safety. They are adding crawling, walking, and climbing to their movement repertoire and their desire to explore the world is becoming evident. Although, they are becoming increasingly more independent, they still need support and guidance from their caregivers.
Try using building blocks as a way to teach your toddler the concept of stop and go. While building the tower, say the word “stop” repeatedly. Once the tower is complete, say “go!” This is their time to go bulldozing through the tower, sending the blocks flying! A simple activity such as this will help your child understand these words which can then be used in other situations such as crossing the street, where safety becomes an issue. This activity not only teaches self-control but also improves listening skills, muscle control and spatial awareness all while entertaining your little one!
When choosing building blocks to use with your toddler, choose brightly colored, light weight blocks. The Melissa and Doug Nesting and Stacking Blocks are great because they nest one inside another which is another task for the little one to work on and they take up little space when not being used.
This post was submitted by Janel Park, one of our Certified IntellidanceTM Instructors. Click here to read more about Janel or see her class schedule.