Children love good quality toys that keep them both amused, stimulated and challenged in new ways.
Young children, in particular, love the challenge of carefully stacking boxes or blocks, one on top of the other to create a tower, adding each box as they go. Anticipation grows for the child as the growing tower of boxes becomes increasingly precarious until suddenly it falls down, creating much excitement!
Interestingly, it is not all just about having fun either – playing with blocks, stacking or nesting toys offers numerous developmental benefits for children, including the following:
1. Hand and eye co-ordination
Moving blocks or stacking toys into certain positions takes hand and eye coordination. This is where the sensory function of using your eyes to see an object is combined with the ability to use your hand and move the item. Developing hand and eye co-ordination is an important step for babies and usually starts to appear between the ages of 4 to 14 months. Blocks and stacking toys are ideal for encouraging this important skill and even for older children, it is a proficiency which can be continuously practised and refined.
2. Fine motor skills
The ability to pick up an item like a block, box or stacking shape, takes considerable skill and requires the use of the pincer grip. This where an item is grasped between the forefinger and thumb. Blocks and stacking toys help children learn and practise this important skill and further develop their fine motor control and dexterity.
3. Cognitive development
The use of blocks and stacking toys requires a child to think and problem solve. It also teaches them the results of cause and effect. If a child places the wrong block on the tower, for example, it may cause the whole tower to topple over. Next time, the child will need to work around this problem and think of a different way to complete the task. Stacking and nesting toys also often teach a child about different sizes and shapes.
One of the very best things about playing with blocks and stacking toys is that everyone can join in!