Benefits of Stacking Toys
We love stacking toys!
Seemingly simple, these understated toys are an essential item that will provide hours of fun and entertainment, whilst assisting your babe in several areas of early learning development. Stacking toys, (rings and cups), help develop both the body and mind from around six months of age. The basic skills learned from stacking toys become a foundation for more complex tasks and are perfect for babies up to three years of age.
Just how well do these classic toys ‘stack up’?
Fine motor skills
For young babes, picking up and putting items in place helps them learn the important skill of intentional grasp and release, as well as how to control and position their fingers. Since infants don't have the dexterity or fine motor control yet, they use their entire hands to explore, hold, release, and place objects. This means that larger, chunky shapes like Mushie’s Stacking Rings are just the right size for little ones to grasp. Fine motor skills will flourish as your babe learns how to coordinate the muscles in their hands. By manipulating different sized rings, cups and other objects, your babe will become adept at small physical actions like stacking and balancing.
Body Control & Balance
Starting around six months of age, babies are gaining the postural stability to be able to sit up by themselves. Sitting up while stacking allows your babe to get used to stabilising their core as they move about and use their hands. This early multi-tasking activity also gives them the opportunity to develop protective responses by allowing their body to ‘catch itself’ and make adjustments to maintain balance.
This is the ability for the right hand to cross over the center of the body to function in the left hemisphere, and vice versa. This is an important skill for handwriting, cutting with scissors, reading, eating, and anything that requires the hand to move from left to right or right to left. You can assist with the development of this skill by placing all of the cups or rings on the left side of your babe’s body, next to their left hip, and have them reach over with their right hand to grab a piece and set it down in front of themselves, or to their right, (then swap sides).
Hand-Eye Co-ordination & Spatial Perception
Building a tower with cups, or stacking rings on a post, are simple yet rewarding activities that develop your babe’s hand-eye co-ordination, depth perception and understanding of where their body is in space. As they grasp, hold and mouth the rings or cups, and try to deftly place them inside or on top of each other they have to visually gauge where to place each one, both in relation to themselves, and in relation to the other pieces.
For younger children, nesting toys, like Mushie’s Stacking Cups, can be easier to start with than traditional building blocks. As the cups sit inside each other, their design is more forgiving and offers more guidance in the early stages of visual perception. Traditional building blocks, like our Wooden Baby Blocks, build upon this skill as your babe grows. These solid blocks require graded control and pressure as your child balances the blocks on top of each other so they don't fall over.
When your child starts stacking you’ll see them assessing ‘problems’ and experimenting with solutions. They'll have to concentrate on carefully stacking the pieces and use problem-solving skills to work out how to stack the cups without the tower toppling, or getting all of the rings to fit on the post.
Stacking toys that are graduated in size, like Mushie’s Stacking Cups and Stacking Rings sets teach your babe about 'relative size'. You can demonstrate this concept by stacking a bigger cup on top of a smaller one and watching it tumble; then stacking the cups in size order so that the tower stays standing (or the rings are in a graduated stack). This is a simple lesson in cause and effect, too.
Stacking and nesting toys provide the perfect opportunity to introduce language related to size (small, medium, large; big, bigger, biggest; small, smaller, smallest), as well as words that describe placement, such as ‘inside’, 'under' and 'on top of'.
The colour and design of Mushie’s Stacking Cups and Stacking Rings sets provide opportunities for your babe to develop their concept of colours and shapes. As they grow, our Wooden Baby Blocks and Flash Cards provide even more opportunity for shape, image, pattern, letter and number recognition and association.