Stacking toys and sorting toys come in a wealth of varieties including stacking blocks, stacking rings and a stacking cups toy. Wooden alphabet blocks are dual purpose as they can be used to stack and teach the alphabet. Our wooden building blocks are given a section to themselves as there are many types of this popular wooden toy. Stacking Toys and Sorting Toys are often thought of a traditional wooden toys for babies and toddlers. Indeed we have many wooden examples but many have a modern twist. Additionally we have selected several fabric soft stack toys and sort toys. These are particularly good for traveling as they are so light. Many of the stacking and sorting toys are designed for children aged two years and over however there is no reason why with supervision these toys cannot be introduced to a baby, obviously you need to be careful not to leave baby with small parts. I am advocating play time with the parent and would not leave a child with a toy that wasn't suitable for the age of the child.
In terms of educational toys the stacking and sorting range is often overlooked. These toys are important for basic hand eye coordination and for cognitive development in older pre school children. The toys can also be used for physical development if incorporated into physical games. As mentioned previously although the toy may not be designed as a baby toy as long as they are supervised and you use your common sense to avoid toys with small parts then they can be of great value.
You could sit baby down on the floor or in a high chair with a stacking rings toy. They can begin to remove the rings and with practice they will learn how to coordinate their hands to put the rings back on the cone. They certainly will not go on in order until later but baby will benefit from practicing to improve their fine motor skills. You can interact by pointing out the different colors and sizes. At two years they will start to understand some of the concepts of color.
They will certainly notice a difference between the different colors although may not be able to tell you, they will be faster at stacking the rings and will start to develop an idea of size. Often by three years these toys have been passed on or are in the bottom of the toy box. They are of great value in this age group as the concepts of height, depth, size, sequence and color can be practiced. Numeracy can be practiced by counting the parts, adding and taking away.
It is a good idea to make a mistake when you are having your turn, your child will enjoy telling you what you have done wrong and can demonstrate understanding by explaining the concepts to you. Additionally the stacking rings can be combined with a physical game by creating a 'ring hunt' where they need to run around with a bag collecting the hidden rings then assembling once they have them all. This can be played with two children if you use two sets they will need to recognize the size and color so they don't collect more than one of each.
A few examples:
Cone sorting is a rubber wood toy from Plan toys it is a wooden stacking toy of excellent quality and feel. This is a colorful and modern version based on the traditional stacking rings but the sections make a cone shape. Plan Toys stacking ring is again based on the traditional wooden version of baby stacking toys but made from rubber wood it has a lovely quality and feel. Fun Stacker by Plan toys is a set of wooden stacking arcs in 5 different colors, children can be creative with this one. Tooting Teddy Train is an excellent example of the soft stacking toys and makes a lovely gift for a newborn which will be of benefit for many years. A favorite of ours is the Family Popov a soft version of the traditional Russian dolls.
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