Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Favorite Products #18 - 3 Favorite Blocks

This post is devoted to blocks - specifically three of my favorite sets. I absolutely love blocks because they can be so open ended when it comes to play time. You can stack them up, knock them down, build things or put them into something else. Here are three of my favorite sets along with some tips to use them to encourage development with your preemie.

Set #1: The Alphabet Peek A Boo Blocks from Fisher Price.

These are great blocks for preemies who have learned how to grab smaller objects. I like these blocks because they have fun little surprises in each one. My son loved to check each one out. They also have a nice texture on the top and bottom. They come in a variety of sets with different themes and colors.

Set #2 - Parents Counting Pal Soft Blocks

Our daughter received these as a gift and she LOVES them. They are nice and soft. These are a great size for preemies who like to hold large objects. Our daughter likes to bang two of them together. These are great blocks for stacking and knocking down.

Set #3 - ABC Building and Nesting Blocks

We have a similar set of nesting blocks - these are great fun. Our son got them as a gift and we kept them for our daughter too. Not only are they good for stacking but they also are great for preemies who like to put smaller objects into larger objects. Since they are made of cardboard, kids can easily grab onto them and they aren't heavy so stacking is easy as well.
Developmental Tips:

Banging - Blocks make great objects for preemies to practice banging together. Blocks with a slight edge (or ones that are hollow) are particularly good for this skill because little hands can grab onto them easily. As your preemie masters this skill, try giving him/her smaller blocks to play with.
Knocking Over - Before your preemie figures out how to stack blocks, he/she will love to knock them over. Start with just 3-4 blocks and encourage your preemie to knock them over. You can work on language skills as well by using one phrase (uh-oh, oh no) when they do get knocked over. You can also practice "ready, set, go" by saying it each time and knocking the blocks over after you say go.

Stacking Up - Blocks make the best toys for stacking. Once your preemie seems to understand this skill, try and have him/her practice with large blocks. If you have blocks in varying sizes, start with the larger ones and give your preemie the smaller ones to stack with (that way it's an easier base for him/her to put the small one on top). As your preemie masters this skill, you can use smaller blocks. This is also a great way to practice turn taking.
Have fun!

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