Open Ended Toys
Open-Ended. What do I mean by open-ended? Well I love toys that serve more than one purpose. Blocks are great for this because while one block on its own is just a block, when you put them together they can be anything. You can build towers, castles, walls, houses, people, statues and the list goes on and on.
When I introduced blocks to Asher, he was just 4 and a half months old. He had started sitting on his own and this was a great activity to encourage him to hold his body upright and encourage his sitting.
You might think at 4.5 months he was building amazing structures and playing beautifully for hours on end… but alas, he was not! I was trying to engage him in stacking blocks on top of each other and can you guess what his favourite activity was… yes correct! Knocking them down. So eventually it became a game of how quickly I could get more than 3 blocks on top of each other before Asher knocked them over.
Slowly I started to introduce a countdown and count 3-2 -1 before he knocked them over and we would both celebrate wildly.
Even though he was not building beautiful towers or amazing creations, he was developing his fine motor skills by picking up different sized blocks, thin ones, fat ones, small ones, long ones. And now that he is 9 months old he is still intrigued by his blocks and is learning to stack them on top of each other. I know that these blocks will always be a toy that he plays with and uses in a variety of ways.
If you have older children that are building structures, you could print off images of famous buildings that children could mimic and build. It is a great way to extend their building skills and give them new ideas of things to build.