March 16, 2010
A few of our "favorite things": stacking and sorting
Colin's two favorite things right now are stacking and sorting--and running--and then stacking and sorting some more. We found these great wooden toys--the stacking cups are from Nova Toys, and the sorting box from Melissa & Doug, I think--and they are by far his two favorite toys and have been for about the past four months.
It's so nice to find toys that are well-made, affordable, and can interest Colin in different ways as he grows and develops. When we first got the sorting box, he was probably eight months old and was only interested in the door and hinge. Then he liked taking all the shapes out and putting them back in (after they'd spent some time being chewed by the dog). Now, he can actually put them in through the individual holes, although he rarely matches the right shapes to the right holes. Leave it to my son to put the square peg through the round hole--and it work for him!
The same is true for the stacking cups. At first, he just liked to bang them around. Then he tried stacking them--although never in the correct order, which drove his OCD Mama batty. Oh, then the dog ate half of them. Now, his interest is in rolling them across the hardwoods. This is a huge developmental milestone, though, because in order to make them roll, he has to stand them on end, then ever-so-gently push them with his index finger. It requires a lot of co-ordination and patience--not things toddlers are known for. Sometimes his feel for it is off, and then he gets very frustrated and throws them and screams, but most of the time he gets it right, and it is so incredible to watch him master his impulses.
Clearly, the recipe for a great toy is one that has no single purpose, no "right" way or "wrong" way to play with it. It doesn't blink or beep or have an "on" button. A great toy is well-made, of simple, yet beautiful materials, and just requires a little imagination to animate it to do all sorts of things--even put square pegs into round holes. I just wish the dog didn't like them so much, too.