Stacking toys, whilst fun for children, host a whole range of benefits that encourage development from an early age, including physical development. In this article, we discuss why stacking toys are so important for children, as well as what is a good age to start playing with stacking toys to reap the benefits.
So, why are stacking toys so important? Stacking toys are important as they boost fine motor skills and gross motor skills in young children. They are a fantastic tool for physical development, as well as cognitive development; stacking toys also help children with spatial awareness, shapes, and basic structure.
Read on to learn more about why such simple stacking toys are so important in children's development.
Why are Stacking Toys Important?
Stacking toys are important for not just fun and enjoyment, but also for key developmental areas such as motor skills, general physical development, and also cognitive development.
According to UNICEF, children tend to learn best through play-based, hands-on activities, and state that play is an essential strategy for learning. This is because they learn critical skills as they play.
With stacking toys, these critical skills are largely physical, including fine and gross motor skills, both of which are imperative as children continue to grow and progress through school. They need fine motor skills to learn how to write, draw, paint and sculpt, and require gross motor skills to be able to play with other children, other toys, and to participate in physical activities.
What Do Children Learn From Stacking?
Alongside physical skills like gross and fine motor development, stacking also teaches children a number of cognitive skills, such as spatial awareness, counting, shapes, basic structures, and some stacking toys can also help children with number and letter recognition where they are a design feature.
What’s more, stacking helps children to simply learn to play. The fine and gross motor skills developed from playing with stacking toys allows children to gain the necessary skills to be able to play with more advanced toys, as well as gain the ability to participate in physical activities and games, e.g. playground games, and the ability to safely play with other children, at which point, they will then develop critical social and language skills.
Because of this, you could argue that stacking toys are the gateway to further, more advanced play, and to further development, as these are some of the most core skills a child needs to progress.
What are the Benefits of Stacking Toys?
We’ve already mentioned some of the benefits of playing with stacking toys, but have gone into a little more detail below to really stress the importance of these simple toys.
Fine & Gross Motor Skills
Stacking bricks, cups, or whatever shapes your stacking toys are, helps young children to develop their fine and gross motor skills. To be successful, they have to learn how to stack shapes in an appropriate order, and in a stable manner.
There are a variety of cognitive skills to be gained from playing with stacking toys. These include:
- Caution and instinct gained from building their stacks too high
- Hand-eye coordination
- Spatial awareness
- Identification of letters and, at a later stage, making words
- Identification of numbers, colours and patterns
Gateway to Play
Some of these skills mentioned above may seem inconsequential, but they are essential skills to allow your child to further develop as they get older. Most of these skills are needed to be able to develop more important, top-level skills such as writing, learning at school, playing sports, learning to ride a bike, and even learning to drive when they are older.
They essentially form the foundation of your child’s core skills that will be required throughout life.
When Should Babies Start Stacking Toys?
Most toys will give an appropriate age range for their toys, but you can expect children to start playing with stacking toys at around 18 months. At this age, their curiosity will lead them to build very basic 1-3 level structures, they will also take great enjoyment in knocking down the structures. At around 2 years of age their coordination will have improved, allowing them to build taller, more stable structures, however, they’ll still probably enjoy knocking them down more!
Stacking Toys at The Early Teacher
The Early Teacher stocks a range of stacking toys, suitable for children of different ages. For very young children, perhaps start their journey with our Animal Stacking Cubes. Older children may like our Wooden Stacking Squares where they can create fun and interesting stacks. Alternatively, why not try our Stacking Fire Engine?
Find these and more on our website; take a look today to kickstart your child’s development through play.