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how many blocks should a toddler be able to stack

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Parents can get a little competitive from time to time, which leads to questions like: When can babies stack blocks? It happens most often when parents see other children stacking and desperately want their own children to catch up development-wise.

It’s a little like this scene from Modern Family:

But you don’t have to cheat and make it appear that your son or daughter is stacking when he or she isn’t. It’s going to happen in time and it’s going to happen naturally, though there are some things that you can do to accelerate the process.

Here’s a look at everything you need to know about when babies can stack blocks, as well as some helpful tips on nudging them to stack a little earlier than average.

Here’s our standard warning: Babies development at different rates, so don’t panic if your child is a little behind the landmarks outlined below. If you really are concerned, your pediatrician is the best person to ask about the situation.

 

Timeline: What Age Do Babies Start Stacking Blocks?

Looking for a timeline on when a child can stack blocks? If so, you’ve come to the right place. Below, you’ll find a checklist of the average ages at which children can do different activities with blocks.

6 Months

Babies at this age are drawn to blocks. No, they can’t stack them just yet. But you’ll find that babies love to push blocks around, to swat at them, to chew them, etc. So make sure your baby has blocks to play with. Just having the blocks will set the stage for stacking in the future.

1 Year

There are two things you’ll start to notice stacking-wise at age 1. First, your child will start banging together anything that makes noise — blocks included. Parents don’t always love having noisy toys around, but this is one case in which you should accept it. Banging together blocks makes 1-year-olds more comfortable with them and can help accelerate future stacking.

Also, this is an age when you should start demonstrating how to stack blocks. Why? Because your 1-year-old will love to knock down any tower you build using blocks. So, if you have some blocks and you’re looking to have some fun with your 1-year-old, consider building a block tower — and letting him or her destroy it.

18 Months

A child begins stacking blocks at 18 months. Of course, some children may stack earlier and it may take other children longer to stack — but this is the average age.

Early on, stacking will include just two or three blocks. It’s not much, but it’s just the beginning of stacking abilities that will soon lead to much taller block towers.

2 Years

At age 2, the block towers get a little bit taller. Also, as we noted in our post about recognizing colors, your 2-year-old will be able to sort items by color. Encourage him or her to start organizing blocks by color.

Imagination begins to kick in at this age, too. You may find that your child stacks blocks and declares that they are a school or a library or a hotel. That’s awesome! And it’s really cool as a parent when you get to see your child intently playing and imagining that a stack of blocks is actually something else entirely.

3 Years

When can a child stack 10 blocks or more? That starts happening closer to age 3. Of course, by this age, your child is going to want to do more than just stack blocks one on top of the other. You’ll find that he or she likes to stack blocks in more intricate arrangements, declaring creations to be pyramids or forts or other structures.

 

Tips to Help Your Child Stack Blocks

What can you do to help your child stack blocks (without going the Modern Family route)? Try two things:

  1. Buy Quality Blocks: Make sure your child has blocks to stack in the first place. Look for wooden blocks that are made from either beech or maple, as these materials are more durable. Beech and maple blocks won’t splinter or crack, which is also safer for your child.
  2. Join In: Children at block-stacking ages love doing things with their parents. Don’t just encourage your child to stack blocks; get down on the floor beside your child and join in. Even block-stacking is an opportunity to bond and deepen your relationship, even as your child is developing a new skill.

 

Final Thoughts on When Babies Can Stack Blocks

Like so many posts that include helpful tips for parents, the two major takeaways are: 1) This is an activity that you can do with your child, so take advantage of the opportunity, and 2) Don’t panic if your child falls a little bit behind the average development timeline.

If your child is turning 4 and still can’t stack blocks, you’ll want to ask your pediatrician. But, in the meantime, encourage your child and celebrate the things that he or she can do — whether that includes stacking blocks or not.

Do you have anything to add from your child’s block-stacking experience? If so, feel free to comment below or send a direct message.