By the time your baby’s 12 months old, she should be able to place one block on top of another, and she’ll also enjoy banging them together.
“Babies are able to pick up and examine blocks as early as 6 months,” says Victoria J. Youcha of Zero to Three, a nonprofit organization devoted to the healthy development of infants and toddlers. But holding and mouthing blocks are about all you can expect at this age. Learning to stack blocks takes several more months.
Blocks are a wonderful way to foster your child’s creativity, teach her about organizing, balancing and stacking, develop her hand-eye coordination, and help her build fine-motor skills such as grasping. Building structures out of blocks is a great workout for your child’s growing body and brain, because it requires physical dexterity as well as planning.
Another plus: Blocks have long-lasting appeal. Many children will play happily with blocks from babyhood through the toddler years and beyond.
When your baby first starts playing with blocks, show her some fun activities, like dropping the blocks into a plastic bowl or container and then pouring them out. She’ll also get a kick out of watching you create a tower of blocks, and then knocking them down herself.
Eventually, she’ll attempt her own construction projects. When your child’s about 18 months old, she’ll begin to understand how to sort blocks by colors, size, pictures, etc.