Whether your little one is just now exploring the world of blocks or if blocks have been a crowd pleaser for a while, this toy is fun for parents and kids alike! I personally love incorporating blocks during my speech therapy sessions because it can help teach a very valuable skill that's important for learning how to talk: imitation.
If your kid isn’t talking just yet, teaching your kid that it's fun to imitate can be a great place to start. Little ones learn new words by copying others around them. But this process doesn’t just start with words. Kids need to learn to copy your actions, your gestures, your sounds before words start to emerge. With a simple game of blocks, you can teach them how to do these things! Here are a few ideas to get started with imitation games (I’ll list from easiest to most difficult).
Copy your kid: If they are pushing a block, push the block back to them. If they are banging blocks together, grab two blocks of your own and bang your blocks. If they are stacking, stack a set of blocks right next to them. See if your kid notices that you are imitating their actions.
Show them something new: Now it’s your turn to complete an action with blocks and see if your kid imitates you. You can stack, bang together, push, line up, spin, put them in a bucket, put one on your head, pretend to talk on the phone with a block, whatever you like!
Use baby signs: Use the baby sign for “more” every time you stack another block.
Be goofy: Goofy sounds can often be easier to imitate than words, so I like to include lots of goofy sounds during play. Maybe you grunt every time you stack a block. “Uhoh” is great when they fall over. “Tada” or “yay” is perfect when you complete a tower. “Woah!” while pointing to the tower is a great expression to draw your child’s attention.
Add a few simple words: My go-to when I stack blocks is just saying “up” every time I stack a block. This gives the kid lots of opportunities to hear the word they can say. If I stack 10 blocks, I say “up” 10 times. You also could practice the words: fall down, stack, block, more, all done.
Blocks are a great way to teach your kid that it's fun to copy each other. I hope your little one enjoys playing these imitation games with you!