When our babies become toddlers, we are always in awe at the things they do. Their curiosity amazes us and the pure and simple joy only a toddler can express makes our hearts swell. Naturally, we want to do everything we can to encourage their growth, help them develop their little worlds and ensure their futures. There are countless products on the market designed to do these very things; however, it's often the tried and true methods that parents have incorporated for generations that work the most magic in their lives. Those methods include wooden blocks. You know the ones - those little blocks toys with brightly painted letters and numbers that are a part of nearly every child's toy box.
Incorporating wooden blocks into a toddler's daily activities is easy to do and allows parents yet another opportunity to bond with their babies. Ask any parent of a young child and they'll tell you some of the best times in their lives are when they're in the floor with their toddlers. They're surrounded by colorful wooden blocks toys and for those special moments, the world stands still as they watch this amazing child with his tiny fingers carefully stack these little blocks three and four high only to topple the blocks seconds later, all the while squealing in delight.
Wooden blocks are ideal at this stage of life when language and word skills are being developed as well as hand to eye coordination. It's also the time when imaginations are being developed. The textures of the blocks are being acknowledged as toddlers are inquisitively tasting them, rolling them around in their hands and discovering the shapes remain constant.
Although wooden blocks have been around for many years, the shapes, sizes and even colors have evolved. No longer are parents limited to the little 2"x2" square blocks; today's versions include cylinders, triangles and rectangles. They're available in many widths and lengths. These toys are ideal for stimulating children of this age.
The benefits of playing with blocks are well documented. They have been linked to stronger math skills and problem solving skills. From a psychological angle, blocks present what's referred to as divergent problems; meaning those problems with more than one solution. It stands to reason, then, blocks are ideal for promoting creative thinking while looking for many solutions to a single problem.
So how can we, as parents, help our toddlers benefit the most from blocks? Here are a few ideas:
• Encourage your toddler by first stacking a few blocks together. You can be sure you'll have his complete attention as he watches closely and then tries to mimic your finished project.
• As you're in the floor building with the blocks, take advantage of the time by combining a story as you're building with the blocks. Not only will he be taking in every word you're saying, but he will closely monitor your own hand movements and attempt to recreate his own wooden work of art.
• As important as one on one time is with your toddler, block play presents an opportunity for development of social skills by including siblings or friends to play along too.
Remember, children are looking for Mom and Dad's approval. Be sure to applaud their achievements and share in their excitement. This is perhaps the most important gift parents can give their little ones - the gift of approval.
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Joe Kanooga is a father of two kids, a successful business owner and the author of numerous articles about popular toys including wooden blocks toys. Click here to download a free Toy Information Guidebook loaded with ideas for parents and helpful tips about popular play toys including wooden blocks and many other toys.
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