Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Basic, fun, versatile play.
There are so many kinds of blocks - wooden, plastic, rubber, cloth, noise-makers (rattle or bell), and foam. We have the blocks in the above photo. I found other interesting blocks but did not buy them for Matthew. He doesn't need every single toy block out there. The others I found are:
Stack and Smile Photo Blocks at One Step Ahead.
IQ Baby Knock Knock Blocks
International Playthings Taggies Big Soft Blocks
Infantino Activity Blocks
The different kinds of blocks offer various benefits. Best Child Toys lists the following:
- Increase hand-eye coordination.
- Enhance logic thinking capability.
- Enhance capability in spatial awareness.
- Improve social capability by building 'something' with friends and siblings.
- Enhance language skills, for instance by talking about the end product.
- Visual stimulation.
- Auditory stimulation.
Besides stacking, we like to play "fill and dump" with all his toy blocks. We've also used the old-school, 2nd generation plastic square blocks, which Bill used to play with when he was a tot, to motivate Matthew to cruise around our coffee table earlier this year. We built very tall towers using these plastic square blocks, with one tower on every side of the coffee table, and Matthew gleefully cruised around the coffee table knocking each tower down.
Matthew loves the Parents brand rubber blocks. He loves to chew on them. Sometimes he crawls around with a rubber block in his mouth. These blocks are also super easy to stack.
The blocks that come with the Chicco Flip 'n Play Table encouraged Matthew to stack and build instead of just knock them over and toss. For a beginner stacker, they are easier to stack than Mega Bloks and they stay on. In fact, Matthew can easily stack these blocks 6-high.
The smaller wooden blocks (approximately 1 inch square) encourage more fine motor control for stacking. When Matthew is older, it will also be one way to introduce numbers, letters, and words printed on the sides of the blocks.
I'm sure Matthew will discover other creative ways to play with his toy blocks as he gets older, ie several years from now. Maybe we can build several towers next to each other and knock them down with a ball as if bowling. Or maybe he can pretend to be Godzilla and send the towers crashing down himself. Or maybe the blocks will be pretend boulders for his trucks to haul. The play possibilities with toy blocks seem endless.
About 'Toy Review Tuesday': Every Tuesday, I write about our experience with a toy. This review is not to be construed as an endorsement of the product nor do I intend to put pressure on parents to purchase the toys reviewed. Questions, sharing your own experience, or any other helpful insights are welcome in the comment section.