A set of blocks is a staple toy for many through childhood. Regardless of age, you can do so many things with blocks, and there’s a full lineup of things you can create. Both in the classroom and at home, block sets are essential for early childhood development.
While stimulating both fine and gross motor skills, blocks encourage creative expression and the use and growth of imagination. For some more advanced teachings, they can enhance self-esteem and problem-solving skills. Finding ways to promote play can be challenging in today's society as technology becomes the face for many things, but adding a set of blocks to your child's toy collection can keep them busy and growing.
Beginning in infancy and expanding well into tween and teenage years, kids of all ages can find a set they like. Let's explore the best building blocks for each child age group!
It might be challenging to think of how an infant can learn from a set of blocks, but specifically in infancy, their development rapidly evolves quickly as the hours pass. At the beginning of the day, your infant may not know how to hold something in their hands, but they might be holding teethers on their own by nighttime.
At around three to four months, an infant will unclench their fists and develop their ability to hold onto things. This is a great time to introduce things with texture, teether items, and things that make noise. A block set is an excellent addition to tummy time as they are beginning to grab and reach things that pique their interest. Keep in mind things like material, colors, and the weight of the blocks.
Babies reach the age of sitting up on their own beginning at six months, which is when you can introduce something sturdier with a higher likelihood of stack. A BPA-free soft block with bright colors and numbers, letters, and shapes can help them begin to familiarize themselves with those basics. A soft, chewable block set that is also washable makes an excellent playtime toy, as babies have a tendency to put virtually everything in their mouths.
When your child hits 12 months, they grow out of the baby phase and enter the world of toddlerhood. This is an excellent time to expand their toys from basics to more complex ideas.
While their infancy blocks might have only stacked on top of each other, now you can begin to introduce blocks that click together. The idea of the blocks coming together will help them further develop their ability to make connections, be more intentional with their choices, and build something more static.
One Year of Age
You don't have to eliminate the infancy blocks when your baby turns one, and it's encouraged to keep all those versions as you grow their collection. Babies are still developing those skills at this age and often continue to teeth and build core strength for independent sitting and standing.
Growing their collection by adding something more substantial can help them explore. Consider bright colors, oversized pieces that fit entirely in their hands, and many different connector sizes to begin building structures.
Two Years of Age
At two, your child is still making critical connections with hand-eye coordination and motor skills. But by now, they are further developed in their communication skills. This is an excellent time to allow them to explore their building block structures with the addition of letters, numbers, and shapes.
Consider upgrading the chewable teether-style blocks to a non-toxic wood set of stackers. This will introduce a new texture and give them something easy to grasp. It's essential to remember that a two-year-old has hand-to-mouth tendencies, so a non-toxic product is your safest option.
Three Years of Age
While three is on the tail end of the toddlerhood bracket, you can begin introducing more complex ideas, as this is also the beginning stages of the preschool bracket. Their early block sets are still functional well throughout childhood, but now you can expand on their building abilities with more shapes and intricate connections.
Before this age, the sets your child used were small scale, with 50 pieces or less. It's critical not to overwhelm your developing baby's mind with too many options at once. But once they are ready for something more complex, you can expand their sets to 50 pieces or more. This will allow them creative expansion and the ability to build larger, more imaginative structures.
Four and Five Years of Age
By now, you're exploring preschool options and considering the best education style for your children. After introducing a more complex and dense set of blocks, you can begin to tailor the sets to the education style you prefer and mimic the ones they use in preschool.
Often, there isn't enough storage at home for multiple sets. But by now, you can narrow down their collection to things that fit your child’s interests and needs. This is also the perfect time to introduce a Wise Block set, as the Super Wings Building Bucket contains 64 pieces and is suitable for ages three and up.
Six Years and Beyond
As elementary school approaches, blocks don't become obsolete. It’s essential to tailor your child’s toys to their interests as they get older and develop more complex skills. Once the motor skills are no longer the focus, you can shift things to more creative expression and problem-solving abilities.
Complex sets like the Wise Block Remote Control Police Car and Emergency Vehicle are suitable for ages eight and up and have 296 pieces to create and build. These are fun and challenging ways to increase open-ended play and learn to collaborate with others during playtime.
After exploring the best building blocks for each child age group, it's clear that the primary goal of each set is growth-focused and designed to enhance your child's skills. Toys, games, and playing all have significant roles in developing minds, and building blocks make an excellent investment from infancy and beyond.