Blocks can seem like a simple toy but they have many valuable lessons for your child to learn. This ends the stage of most toys going into your child’s mouth and moves them into true toy play. There are many fun and interactive things you can do with a blocks that can require imagination and interaction. This can be a great cause and effect toy teaching your child that his actions can have an effect on what he is playing with. Blocks span ages expanding into Legos and more intricate building toys.
Skills: cause/effect, grasp and release, anticipation of events, joint focus/attention, turn taking, design copy, counting.
- Begin by sitting beside or across from your child (on the floor or at a table), allow your child to explore the blocks. Your child may want to bang the blocks together or put them in a container and dump them out.
- Once your child has had the opportunity to explore the blocks, you can begin to demonstrate stacking and building a tower. Try to keep your child’s attention by making playful sounds or counting as you place each block.
- When you have stacked 5-6 blocks using the words “ready, set, go” or “1,2,3, go”, knock over the blocks (cause and effect). Laugh or make funny sounds as the tower falls over, watching for your child’s reaction. Watch for them to look back and forth between you and the tower, as if to say, “did you really do that?” (joint focus/attention).
- Continue the game by starting to build another tower. You can use the words “more”, “again?” or “let’s build it again”. This time put 1-2 blocks on the tower then give your child a turn to put a block on the tower (grasp and release, turn taking). I your child knocks the tower over, laugh and begin again. Continue to use the “ready, set, go” and look for your child’s excitement as you get ready to knock the tower down (anticipation of events).
Other Play Ideas:
- If your child needs assistance with picking up or placing the blocks, you may want to use bigger blocks. This will let your child use two hands for placement and the visual target will be bigger. You can use the same sequence for play as above. As the blocks get smaller the difficulty increases.
- If your child is unable to stack the blocks, they can still participate in the game by knocking the tower down.
- Use blocks during pretend play and social play to create a castle, road or house.
- Imitating block designs by building something simple with 2-3 blocks and see if your child can build the same thing. As your child learns to imitate the design, increase the number of blocks and change the design (copy design).
- Include counting as the towers get taller.
Examples of blocks can be found at Amazon.