This little post was inspired by Baby Hugo’s current favourite toy – a simple set of stacking cups. Once he sees them being stacked he charges across the room, at full speed, laughing his head off to bull doze them flat! He reminds me every day that good fun for little ones doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. Stacking cups would definitely be on my Top Five Toys For Under £5 to support communication skills & language development (actually that sounds like a good blog post, right?). You can pick up a set of stacking cups for around £2, and they are suitable for play activities from about 6 months. They can be pretty fun & pretty diverse it turns out.
Here are some ideas on how your stacking cups can grow with your child over their 1st 5 years.
1st year: building towers
Build towers, knock them down! Surprisingly good fun every time!
Build a tower for or with your little one. Try saying “reeeeeady” before one of you knocks it down to build the anticipation. Use repetitive language as part of the play routine to support baby learning new vocabulary. Try counting or naming the colours as you stack them. Get animated when they tumble down and use a gesture or sign to emphasise that the tower is all gone or that the bricks have fallen down.
2nd year: in, on, under, between
Use your cups with other small toys or household items to explore ideas about space and position. Try a variety of in/on/under/between positions. Talk about it while you play. Can your little one find an object hidden under one of the cups? Who can build the tallest pile? Where’s the bunny?- take turns building & let the other person try to spot bunny. Cover your eyes, no peeking!
Use only a few other toys to keep it simple…
This way of playing is also great when you’re baby’s play interests are in the
wreak destruction & mayhem tip, throw and shake phase. They’ll enjoy emptying the cups and exploring what was inside! As they get bigger and can build themselves, construction play becomes a great time to practise their developing coordination, planning & problem solving skills.
3rd year: colours
Fill your cups with matching colours!
You can lay out a selection of blocks or large beads for your little one to pick from. Or choose one cup and hunt together in the toy box for things that match. Kick it up another gear by going on a colour hunt room to room, around the house….
Pick a different colour each. Who will find the most items in their colour?
4th year: imaginary play
What else can your cups be? Where else can you use them? Can you make up a story that involves a cup or 2?
Place a letter in to each cup. We used pieces from an alphabet puzzle that we own, but you could try letter magnets or flash cards or simply small pieces of paper with a letter drawn on.
Hunt together around the house for objects that start with that sound. Lay out a choice of items and see if your little one can listen for the initial sound as you name each of them, then decide for themselves where it belongs. Use the letters as a visual support for I-spy and whoever guess a right answer gets to add that letter to their cup.
Do you have any other ideas for playing with stacking cups? Leave us a comment on this post or on our Facebook page!
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