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Playtime Tips: Stacking Toys

Playtime Tips: Stacking Toys

 

Stacking toys encourage children to balance and build as they develop their fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. We love stacking toys because they offer endless opportunities for open-ended play and can grow with your child.


Develops: 

  • Fine motor skills
  • Hand-eye coordination
  • Counting/Sequencing
  • Problem-solving
  • Concentration/focus
  • Nesting
  • Imaginative play
  • Creativity 

Play Prompts: 

Try these tips to add challenge, simplify, or switch up how you play with stacking toys. Bring in the whole family by simplifying for younger siblings or stepping it up with older siblings!


Simplify:

    • Tunnels Before Towers: Instead of stacking the pieces vertically in a tower, place the pieces side by side first to build a horizontal tunnel. Drive a toy car on top to make it a railroad track. 
    • Slow Mo: As your child develops their fine motor skills, encourage them to slowly place each piece to reduce the chances of it toppling over. Talk and move in an exaggerated slow-motion style to help them slow down their play. 
    • Oh No!: If your child gets upset when their stacked tower topples over, turn it into a silly celebratory activity by creating topply dance move or create a catchphrase to say as it falls like, “Timber!”
    • Pancake Stack: For irregular-shaped stacking toys (e.g., animals), start by laying the piece flat and stacking other pieces on top of them before attempting to balance them. 
    • Bulldozer: If your child is not yet able to stack items, model how you stack items and encourage your child to knock them down. Adding in a fun noise will motivate them to engage with the toy. 

 

child stacking blocks

 

Step up:

  • 1, 2, 3 Learn With Me: Stacking toys are a great introduction to numbers and colors. Have your child practice counting and identifying colors with these toys. Give one and then two-step directions to stack the ‘yellow piece’ first and then the ‘blue piece’ or to find two red pieces. 
  • Sensory Shutdown: Have your child stack the pieces with their eyes closed, or with a non-dominant hand. 
  • Stacking Story: Encourage your child to make up a story and use the stacking toy as props. The climax of the story can be when the tower topples over. 
  • Architecture Art: Have your child build a tower and then sketch what it looks like on paper using art materials. Make it a partner activity and switch off between who builds and who sketches. 

Spinoff: 

  • Tower Tune: Sing/chant this song (in whatever tune you’d like) as you build a tower and your child knocks it down. Switch off roles. “I’m gonna build a tower, a tower, a tower, I’m gonna build a tower, and you’re gonna knock it …. down!” “You’re gonna build a tower, a tower, a tower, you’re gonna build a tower, and I’m gonna knock it …. down!” See how tall your tower gets before it is knocked down.
  • Loose Parts: Instead of using the pieces to stack, have your child use them however they decide. They can become imaginative play figurines.
  • Skyscraper Contest: Inspired by your play with the stacking toys, gather everyday materials from your household and hold a competition to see who can build the tallest tower. 

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