Your toddler’s brain is an amazing thing.
Think about it: in less than 2 years, your child went from staring at the ceiling to jumping, running, and belting out songs you didn’t realize she was over-hearing.
One of the biggest developmental skills she’s conquering during this time is cause and effect…trial and error…means to an end.
That there’s a relationship between an action and an outcome. A relationship she controls! MWAH HA HA!
Sure, you could let her practice this amazing new discovery by throwing things around the room, dropping food on the floor, and all other kinds of “Mom will get it” chores, but eventually your back is going to give out, and a toddler temper tantrum will ensue.
*whispering* But what if I could tell you there’s another way to let your toddler practice this skill. One that doesn’t require anything from you at all…
Should I tell you?
“What??? WHAT IS IT, HEATHER?!”
It will cost you a Facebook Like. *patiently waiting*
Okay, here’s what you’re going to do…
Let’s Go Over How Awesome
Magnetic Toddler Blocks Really Are
There’s a lot of science behind the benefits of using toddler blocks. It’s the Toy of All Trades, tackling a ton of developmental skills with one single investment.
- Problem solving
- Self expression
- Predictive reasoning
- Math skills (matching sizes, lengths, etc.)
- Spatial awareness
- Scientific skills (testing guesses)
- Fine motor skills (finger movements to manipulate items)
- Social skills (sharing and building things together)
- Language skills (communicating desires, etc.)
It’s amazing that a simple toy can give your toddler an opportunity to practice ALL those skills, at the same time. I seriously cannot think of another toy that has the most bang for the brain buck.
Traditional Toddler Blocks: Womp. Womp.
When I think of toddler blocks, I think of the small wooden blocks that remained the only source of entertainment at my Aunt Kay’s house (other than the red monkeys in a barrel, that is). Fun Level: 2
Then, when Lauren was born, we discovered the Duplo toddler blocks. These “heftier” cousins of Legos were a disappointment wrapped in a hopeful dream. Here’s why:
Firstly, the blocks were very loosely fitted, so chubby hands could practice stacking and unstacking. This means that “towers” were never very stable, and my kids would get easily frustrated – working hard to build something, only to watch gravity pull it apart (when they really wanted to be the one to pull it apart.
Secondly, the blocks would end up everywhere. Since they didn’t stack well, they were a constant headache to keep tidy. Finding all the pieces (under the couch, over by the piano) to put away was a Mom-and-Toddler job, and I really needed it to be a Toddler ONLY job.
Thirdly, they were chunky-sized, obviously to avoid being a choking hazard, but sometimes things can be “too chunky,” you know? They are really more “preschool block sized” than “toddler block sized”.
So, in summary, Duplo toddler blocks Fun Level: 4
The Magic of “Magnetic”
A few months ago I was introduced to these new magnetic toddler blocks. These have completely switched all my “toddler block cons” to massive PROS.
- Since they are magnetic, they stick together easily. No more toppling toddler towers! (Until, of course, your excited toddler is ready to do the toppling.)
- They tend to cluster together, making clean up SO much easier. No more having to dig under the bookcase! It’s definitely now a “Just Toddler” chore.
- They are slightly smaller (but still choke-proof) so they fit perfectly in the palm of a toddler who’s not quite ready for the “Big Girl Bricks”.
They are called People Blocks, and they are like the younger, much hipper cousin to old-school toddler blocks.
These new blocks are currently available in two sets:
- Zoo Animals magnetic toddler blocks
- Classic Colors magnetic toddler blocks
Both sets come with a variety of magnetized shapes and colors, with wheels and other toddler blocks to encourage experimentation. They are also a heckavah lot less painful to step on at 2am in the living room. #themoreyouknow
My favorite part about these, though, is that both sets have pieces with faces painted on them. Faces are actually really important in this stage of development. They encourage a toddler’s brain to “bring them to life” and exercise her imagination! Plus, they’re just super cute, especially when your toddler creates a monster and labels it “Daddy!”
Magnetic People Blocks Fun Level: 10
The Most Important Skill Your
Toddler Will Learn This Year Is…
…the concept of cause and effect. Or, in other words, that actions lead to outcomes.
Why is that so important? Because as a parent, understanding that concept has HUGE ramifications for important life lessons like…
- It will help keep her safe. (If you step there, you’ll fall.)
- It will help reinforce good behavior. (If you hit your sister, you will sit in time out.)
- It will help her understand how to submit to appropriate authority. (If Mom says no, and I do it anyway, I lose something I want.)
Learning how to interact within the boundaries of life is a necessary skill. It protects our children physically, emotionally, and socially.
Parental boundaries provides them, at this early age, with a stable foundation of security, and it’s this strong foundation that allows them to build stronger relationships, self-confidence, and empathy. (I know this, because as a social worker, I worked with many kids who didn’t have parents who loved them enough to set limits on their behaviors, and the result was a constant state of emotional stress and lack of bonded relationships.)
In fact, this psychologist suggests that part of the reason so many teens and young adults live in absolute chaos, is they have never learned the importance of cause and effect, and how boundaries can provide peaceful stability.
So, in other words, the faster your child learns the concepts of cause and effect, the faster your consistent parenting efforts will pay off. (Who doesn’t want that to happen?)
And to think, it all starts with purchasing your first set of magnetic toddler blocks.
If only the rest of parenting could start off so easy. Hmmmm…. Any developmental potty training toys out there? Anyone?
Other Related Articles:
- Dear Homemaker: Use These 70 Life-Hacks to Steal More Time
- 5 Things About Your Toddler’s Development That Will Surprise You
- 8 Mistakes Most Parents Make When Looking for a Good Preschool
- How to Encourage More Pretend Play: 6 Backyard Adventures No Kid Will Want to Miss
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