Which baby blocks are best?
Baby blocks have been a staple of childhood for generations. With them, infants can start learning fine motor skills, spatial reasoning, basic problem solving and more. And they’re not just educational — they’re also fun for young children. The best baby blocks are the Maxim Deluxe Wooden ABC Blocks, safe and with the benefits of traditional baby blocks.
What to know before you buy baby blocks
Although there are newer, more advanced toys, some of the old classics are still considered timeless and fun. Baby blocks give infants and toddlers the chance to interact with their environment and engage in imaginative play. Many young children enjoy building with these blocks and knocking them over.
Plus, since blocks for infants are large and simple, they’re perfect for little ones, who can grasp them more easily. If there are several babies in the house, they can also play together without risk of injury.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has found that, in the digital age, baby blocks and similar toys can promote healthy development and socialization among young children. There are several reasons for this.
For one thing, tactile toys such as baby blocks and bath time toys can improve fine motor skills, spatial reasoning and problem-solving. For another, they’re a useful tool for teaching them how to interact with others, since they encourage sharing and teamwork. And children begin their social development very early on — starting within the first few months. So, giving them something to play with, even if it starts with simple physical contact, promotes this development.
By playing with these toys, young children can also start building up their hand-eye coordination and creative thinking. For example, if they want to build a tower, they have to figure out how to place blocks and prevent them from toppling over.
Finally, although language skills start developing after 4 months or so, if the blocks have pictures or letters on them, having them around can help build associations and enhance their cognitive flexibility.
Baby blocks are considered safe due to their large size and soft edges. That said, it’s a good idea to supervise young children when introducing them to a new toy. And make sure the specific blocks you get are age appropriate.
You can typically find sets with 12 to 40 blocks or so. Larger sets are great for sharing between two or more infants or toddlers. However, even smaller sets are good for building and playing.
What to look for in quality baby blocks
Blocks for young children are usually constructed with one of the following materials:
- Silicone: This is safe for teething babies and is durable and non-toxic.
- Wood: Best for toddlers, wood is textured and solid, making it unlikely to splinter or break.
- Fabric: Large and soft, fabric blocks are usually bright and vivid with different textures and patterns. They are slightly less sturdy than other options.
- Food-grade plastic: Non-toxic, highly durable and free of potentially damaging chemical bisphenol A, food-grade plastic or silicone are great alternatives to other plastics such as polyvinyl chloride.
Texture and design
One of the great things about blocks for young children is that they typically have a fun or creative design and texture. Designs range from engraved letters and numbers to painted or woven animals, fruits or other common objects.
Both traditional and modern blocks often have a letter of the alphabet on each side, which is especially useful for toddlers since it can help teach communication, identification and basic spelling skills.
Some blocks feature different shapes on each side, such as hearts or stars. Others have fully illustrated sides that are either realistic or cartoonish.
Although blocks for babies come in virtually any color, their brightness and contrast depend on the material used. For example, wooden blocks often have bold or deep colors and use non-toxic dye or paint. Silicone blocks, meanwhile, are typically less vivid than fabric or food-grade plastic ones.
How much you can expect to spend on baby blocks
On average, these blocks cost $10-$30. Smaller sets are usually less expensive than larger ones.
Baby blocks FAQ
What’s the best way to keep these blocks clean?
A. First, never use strong disinfectants or chemicals, since infants often put these toys in their mouths. Instead, clean them using warm water and a few drops of non-toxic liquid dish soap. Use a soft washcloth to wipe down the blocks on all sides, then rinse them with plain water. Let them dry before letting children play with them again.
At what age should I give my infants blocks or other tactile toys?
A. Most babies learn to pick up and place blocks between 6 and 12 months old. However, you can give them blocks earlier to introduce them to more of the tactile sensation. Some blocks, especially those with words or letters, are also appropriate for toddlers.
What are the best baby blocks to buy?
Top baby blocks
What you need to know: This set of 40 blocks is a great choice for toddlers and infants.
What you’ll love: These medium-size blocks are beautifully decorated with non-toxic water-based paint. The set comes with a mesh storage bag, which makes storing or carrying them easy. The designs vary but include letters, numbers, simple words and pictures of things such as socks and animals.
What you should consider: There aren’t enough letter blocks to spell common words.
Top baby blocks for the money
What you need to know: These large, soft blocks are suitable for babies ages 6 to 12 months.
What you’ll love: Made from cotton, these blocks are safe for young children. They’re also colorful enough to keep their attention and encourage playing. Some of the blocks come with silicone accessories, including ribbons, a mirror and a teether. The blocks feature letters and cute animals.
What you should consider: The teether is connected by a thin ribbon that easily comes off.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: Soft and squeezable, these colorful blocks are great for infants and toddlers.
What you’ll love: This set comes with 12 silicone blocks, each with defined animals, numbers or shapes. The blocks are BPA-free and non-toxic, making them good for teething, too.
What you should consider: The blocks have a tiny airhole that makes it difficult to clean inside.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Angela Watson writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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