Stacking toys are all the rage in the infant-toddler sections of toy stores, both online and IRL. We all sort of just know in the backs of our minds that stacking toys are the “it” toy for our one year olds, but we seldom stop and wonder, “why”?
Stacking toys have tremendous benefits for early development. First and foremost, infants explore their world with a whole hand grasp. Simply put, an infant’s fine motor skills are undeveloped and therefore they can only hold things in their whole hand. When a baby plays with a stacking set, the larger blocks compliments their ability. Holding the large and smaller blocks teaches the baby how to position their fingers, and how to grasp and release the block based on its size. They learn to adjust their interactions with each gradient block.
Stacking toys also offer tremendous learning opportunity for the baby’s spatial and visual development. In order to stack one toy on top of another on a dowel he/she must understand the relationship between the toy and himself/herself, as well as the toy and the dowel. This skill is slightly more advances than a simple stacking or nesting toy.
The most fascinating, and more indirect gain from exposing your baby to stacking toys is the inadvertent development of his/her trunk control. Starting around the age of 6 months, infants begin acquiring the skill and muscle strength to sit upright. Along with sitting comes the development of balance. When a baby is seated and playing with a stacking toy they engage their trunk more to maintain balance while they stack. Think of it as an abs workout while playing.
Along with all of these amazing benefits, playing with stacking toys enhances language skills, spatial intelligence, as well as creativity and imagination. Now that you’re not only on board the stacking toy train, but educated about its massive gains, where do you begin with your baby?
Natural Nesting Cups
Nesting toys are the first step in stacking toys for infants. As Montessorians we believe in setting a child up for success from the get-go. We will always introduce a child to a concept incrementally in a fashion he/she can master quickly and then increase the difficulty. Nesting toys are easier to start with since there is no risk of the tower knocking down, and because your baby will be able to see how each piece fits into each other. We absolutely adore this gorgeous set of nesting cups because unlike nesting dolls your baby does not need to have opening and closing skills required. (http://normanandjules.com/lollipop-stacking-bowls/dp/3627) but if all you got on hand is your Grandma’s Russian nesting dolls , don’t fret they will also do the trick!
Classic Nesting Blocks
Each side offers a different learning opportunity combined with stacking, sequencing, counting, and rhyming. Toddlers especially love to nest the hollow blocks into the largest cube.
Single Dowel Bunny
This stacking toy is the pefect transition into stacking on a dowel. We all love that vintage fisher price stacking toy with the colorful discs, but we simply cannot deny our shelves of this little cutie. The single dowel makes this bunny the perfect intro toy for your babes!
Organic Multi Stacker
This is definitely not your run of the mill stacking toy. Beautifully treated wooden shapes of all kinds make this stacking toy both aesthetically pleasing as well as interesting for your Toddler. Hand crafted from sustainably sourced wood, and decorated with paint made using eco pigments. They are finished with beeswax and botanical oils, giving them a natural smell and soft feel. Free of any toxins.
How adorbs is this stacking toy?! This toy encourages discussion and exploration of numbers as well as colors. Your toddler will love the little people. Count how many discs go on each dowel with your Toddler and talk about the different colors!
If these 5 toys don’t tickle your fancy, a simple google search will yield all sorts of stacking goodies for your baby!
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