The holiday season is synonymous with gift giving and shopping. As parents, we also get tempted into buying toys for our child. And when it comes to the kids, there are new toys on the market every year. With so many choices, are you confused? Does your toy buying checklist look something like this?
- Child can play by themselves and let you have some moments of peace
- Can be used for a long time
Meanwhile this is what kids like to play with
- Discarded boxes
- Wrapping papers
- Household items
- Running, jumping games
So is it possible to create one list that checks of both lists? There are some that will fall into both and my favorite of them all are blocks; simple wooden blocks; blocks of all sizes and shapes! Let’s look at some ways to use them.
- 0-6 months: Place the baby on their tummy and put some blocks in front of the baby. Playing with small wooden blocks helps develop their grasps.
- 6-9 months: Dropping the blocks causes the block to fall down. This is a simple cause-effect concept that begins at this stage.
- 9-12 months: Banging blocks together. At this age babies are bringing to use both sides of their bodies so clapping and banging blocks are easy ways to provide practice.
- 12-15 months: Stepping over blocks. 90% of children are walking between this age range. Provide them some variety in task by building an obstacle course with blocks.
- 15-18 months: Stacking up 2-3 blocks. Builds fine motor control.
- 18-21 months: Bowling pins of blocks. Make a tower or several towers placed closed to each other and have the child knock them over with a ball. This target practice helps with eye-hand coordination.
- 21-14 months: Use blocks to make music. Dropping or shaking a couple of blocks inside a container will make noise. Changing the containers will change the sounds produced. Play a song and have the child follow the rhythm with the blocks. You can use a wooden spoon to play drums on blocks as well.
- 24-36 months: Use blocks for pretend play. Blocks can become vegetables for cooking, they can build houses for their dolls, garages for the cars and even use blocks for pretend money or keeping score.
- 36-48 months: Use blocks to teach concepts of colors, numbers, heavy-light, tall-short, over-under etc.
- 48 months+: With more imagination setting in, the options for self-play are limitless at this age. Blocks can be used to play a strategy game like Jenga as well.
This article has been written by Puja Padbidri, a professional pediatric (neonatal) physiotherapist at The Yearling House.