How to Use Wooden Blocks to Stimulate Development from 3 Months to 3 Years
You don’t need a huge arsenal of toys to keep your littles playing. In fact, one of our most favorite products can be used from birth to 24+ months, for all kinds of different play-based activities that spark learning and imagination.
If you haven’t guessed already, we’re talking about wooden blocks!
Wooden blocks are tried and true, kid-approved, mom-approved, beautiful additions to any nursery, toy chest, or play corner. And they can be used from birth and beyond. In this blog post, we’ll be breaking down a few ways that you can use wooden blocks to stimulate development from 3 months to 3 years.
Wooden Blocks for Baby
In the first six weeks, you and your baby will learn a lot about each other. Your baby can see objects that are about up to 8 -12 inches away. Blocks can be used simply to provide baby visual stimulation. When the baby is laying on the ground (either back or tummy time) place any blocks around your baby in a half moon shape and “creative talk” about them. Baby loves the sound of your voice, so “creative talk” can be really anything that comes to mind. (example: talking about colors, textures, how they make you feel, asking baby how they make them feel) Your little one doesn’t understand obviously -- you are just familiarizing them with new language along with visual stimulation. Baby also often enjoys voice inflections and changes in pitch, so don’t be afraid to look silly during creative talk. :)
As time goes on, your little one’s hands will be opening up more. You may notice that your baby closes her hand around objects or moves their fingers across toys when placed in her hand. Allow the baby to explore these new textures and sensations by placing blocks within her grasp during tummy time or while laying on her back. Baby is also learning to track objects with her eyes. Take blocks and hold it in front of your baby to see if he can follow it. Again, creative talk is welcomed for any developmental stage!
Wooden Blocks for Toddler
When your child gets a bit older (and mobile!) blocks can come in handy for all sorts of creative play to spark imagination, problem solving, fine-motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and so much more.
One of our favorite ways to use wooden blocks is to create a traditional block tower. This is a great activity for toddlers, as it helps them develop hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. When they knock down the tower, they'll see that the blocks fall because they were unbalanced. This is a simple and low risk way to help them understand how cause and effect works. (A lesson that is needed throughout life!) Learning how to position objects to achieve a desired outcome will not only help you little one learn how to interact with their world, but will also help them develop a sense of control and autonomy.
Wooden Blocks For Age 3 and Beyond
Another fun way to use wooden blocks? Create a block maze. This is a great activity for older toddlers and preschoolers. They can use the blocks to create a path through the maze, and then see if they can make their way through without bumping into any walls. This activity helps with problem-solving skills and spatial awareness.
And then of course, as your child approaches the age of 3 and beyond, they’ll begin working on things like counting, categorical organizing, colors, shapes, letters, etc. Blocks can be used to help you children gain additional visuals and kinesthetic learning techniques to aid in remembering these concepts/skills! It really is incredible how much they are able to learn in such a short amount of time.
Even the simplest set of blocks can provide hours of fun for your baby or toddler. They'll love listening to you share about blocks, feeling them, or stacking a tower of blocks as high as possible and then watching what happens when they knock them down. After they figure out the blocks' properties - size, weight, shape, and stability level - it won't be long before they're building cities complete with roadways and bridges… and then who knows what they might do down the road :)
A Few of Our Favorite Places to Shop Wooden Blocks
(from left to right)
- Uncle Goose - unique, handmade, one-of-a-kind sets
- Raising Wild Ones Boutique - natural, handmade, mother-owned
- Kido - tons of options, black-owned
- Loveevery - comprehensive and inclusive set
As you can see, there's a lot more to wooden blocks than meets the eye. They're a great tool for development and learning. So next time you’re looking for something to do with your littles, consider giving them a set of blocks. They (and you!) will thank you for it! Have a favorite set of blocks that we didn't tag here? Let us know in the comments!