Is it possible to give baby construction games? Yes of course ! There are different types of blocks for toddlers to stack, store or carry. Soft building blocks seem to be the most suitable solution.
- The different types of blocks
- What are soft building blocks?
- Why are they good for baby?
- Choose the right blocks for baby
- A few useful little rules
- And the baby in all this?
From wooden blocks to homemade constructions to magnets, there are many types of blocks that babies can play with. Soft building blocks (also known as foam blocks) are lightweight toys that come in a wide variety of shapes, colors and sizes for your baby and they seem to be the best solution for children under 2 years old.
THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF BLOCKS
✔ Stack and carry: A two-year-old may not yet be able to build impressive architectural structures, but he can make piles of blocks and move them, which helps him allows you to learn weight and balance. Little ones quickly learn the concept of gravity by knocking over a pile of blocks and therefore the principle of cause and effect. It's the beginning of baby's awakening!
(@ Canva / Baby's awakening)
✔ Stack and put away: Your child will probably be able to stack two blocks at the age of 15-17 months then 8 blocks between 24 and 29 months. He should then be able to stack 10 blocks between 30 and 36 months. So the number of pieces will be important so that he is not restricted in his creativity!
⚠ It is necessary to remember, not all children develop at the same rate in all areas. This data is of a general nature and is in no way a fixed rule.
The simple structures that your child builds are models that use basic math concepts, such as fractions: two square-shaped pieces placed next to each other have the same size and shape as a larger rectangular block.
(@ Canva / Baby's first build)
✔ The Transition: This is where your preschooler will begin to build structures by placing two blocks on the ground and forming a bridge over them with another block. Just like the transportation method, it teaches balance. It also introduces symmetry and organization. From this moment, it is also interesting to integrate magnetic construction games.
WHAT ARE FLEXIBLE BUILDING BLOCKS?
Soft blocks are stacking toys for babies, ideal for sensory play. Whether it's the color, print or textures that appeal to your little one, squeezing, throwing and building has never been more fun. In general, soft blocks also help to recognize numbers, shapes or animals. These first construction games are the foundations of his future creativity and will surely be his first favorite toys.
(@The Smart Child / Soft building blocks)
Unlike traditional rigid plastic building blocks, which often have hard edges, these sets are soft and have rounded corners. With these construction toys, children play and build safely to the delight of parents.
Discover our article on the importance of educational games in the development of our children.
WHY ARE SOFT BLOCKS GOOD FOR BABIES?
As parents, you are probably curious to know how soft blocks can promote your child's development? Don't say anything more.
According to Verywell Family, "even the simplest block game contains the seeds of imagination, creation and destruction. Your little one will enjoy stacking a tower of blocks as high as possible and then watching what happens when they knock them over. It's one of the ways toddlers can develop fine motor skills and explore concepts like early math, geometry, problem solving, and cause and effect."
(@Canva / Baby Foam Building Cube)
As a toddler, the child discovers textures, shapes and colors, flexible building blocks allow these first experiences. Baby will be able to put them in his mouth, look at them and feel them for example.
Here are some benefits of soft construction games for baby's development:
✔ Spatial awareness:
Developing spatial awareness is one of the great benefits of cubes for toddlers. Spatial awareness requires knowledge of shapes, space, places, directions and movement. This is a fundamental skill to develop before babies can understand how other objects work. Just sitting down to play blocks with your child naturally introduces them to the concept.
✔ Shape and color recognition:
One of the most obvious benefits of building with blocks for toddlers is learning their shapes and colors.These children's construction games strengthen your children's shape recognition. Discovering how common circles, squares and triangles are in our daily lives makes them relevant to children. Blocks can spark your child's imagination with colors that help them learn shapes with endless options for building!
(@ Canva / Lego Silicone for baby)
✔ Creative thinking:
Children can move the building blocks freely since they are individual pieces, giving them the opportunity to mix and recombine them endlessly. It's not because children are small that they don't have big ideas!
If children cannot concentrate, they will struggle to develop good communication skills. One of the great benefits of stacking blocks for toddlers is development of concentration.This stage generally occurs after 2 years when the child becomes able to stack several bricks.
✔ Fine motor skills:
The benefits of construction games (soft or not) also extend to motor development. Fine motor skills include important movements like grasping, reaching, and moving that allow children to perform essential daily activities. Playing with building blocks strengthens their fingers and arms, while developing their hand-eye coordination. This stage occurs at the same time as the improvement in concentration and therefore around 3 - 4 years of age. At this age, construction games can be magnetic or wooden.
(@ Canva / Lego wood for fine motor skills)
For children to be able to engage meaningfully with others, their concentration skills need to be well developed as early as possible. Building blocks for children are a great way to improve their concentration levels and cognitive thinking.
Check out our article on ideas for creative games
to find other activities to improve their fine motor skills.
CHOOSE THE RIGHT BLOCKS
The best blocks to start with are those that are open-ended rather than those that are sold in sets and must be used to build a specific item.
Large foam blocks of different shapes, sizes and colors are safest for young children learning to throw objects. Older toddlers will enjoy a game of wooden blocks. Cardboard bricks are also very popular, and you can make them yourself.
(@ L'Enfant Malin / Silicone animal building blocks)
As your child gets older, consider more complex games like Duplo™ but remember that these games can be restrictive and frustrating for beginners. The Magnet-Me™, a magnetic construction game, is suitable for all ages from 2 years old.
(@ L’Enfant Malin / Charly and his magnetic toys)
A FEW SMALL POSSIBLE RULES FOR THE COMFORT OF THE WHOLE FAMILY
Your toddler's large foam blocks will soon become Legos that will be a scourge for the soles of parents' feet. The problem with blocks is that there are so many of them. From the start, help your child clean up well and insist that blocks are put away according to your house rules, that all toys are picked up at the end of the day.
An exception to this rule can be made if your child is in the middle of a project in progress or is having difficulty taking apart a creation. In this case, leave the work there so that he can continue to handle and admire it. Don't worry: he will soon get bored, move on and the blocks can be put away.
You can also make a rule forbidding your child from stacking blocks higher than their head. He may be tempted to climb onto a chair to stack the blocks even higher or could be injured if heavier blocks fall on him. You can relax these rules as your child gets better at stacking and knows how to free themselves from falling blocks.
(@ Canva / Stacking colored legos)
WHAT GAME FOR AN INFANT?
If your child is only a few months old, it is obvious that he will not yet be able to have fun with a toy or construction game that we mentioned previously. At this age we don't really talk about games or toys but more about parent-newborn interactions.
As a parent, how can you entertain your baby?
Here are some ideas for you:
💨 Singing, chatting, tickling, counting toes, blowing raspberries - simple things are best for newborns. Newborns also love nursery rhymes that involve touch, like “All Around the Garden.” You can also share nursery rhymes or traditional songs from your culture and language.
💨Make faces, smile, laugh, roll your eyes or stick out your tongue. Your baby loves looking at your face. Diaper changing is a great time for face-to-face play. Yes you are a parent but let go a little :)
💨 Give your baby different things to look at - outside, inside, different people or different rooms.
💨 Talk or make sounds with your baby, and wait for him to react. It may take a little time, but you'll be surprised at how much your baby has to say. This will show your baby that conversations are about taking turns, listening and responding.
💨 Try reading with your baby. It's never too early to start, but remember to hold the book close, because newborns can only see 20-30 cm in front of their eyes.
No construction games or foam construction kits for the first months of its existence but its turn will come of course. In the meantime, follow his little tips to entertain him in the best possible way.
And above all, don't forget to have fun. It's only a game if it's fun.
To conclude, soft building blocks of different shapes and colors are the perfect solution for developing babies up to 2 years old. Then opt for construction games that are a little more advanced and with a larger number of pieces. Why not also integrate magnetic construction games.
Your experience as a parent is very interesting to us and we would be delighted to read all your comments at the bottom of this article. Hoping to have provided you with additional information on what and why to choose soft construction games for babies.L'Enfant Malin offers a wide range of educational games for all ages and tastes.
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