Blocks are a classic for a reason. They help your baby develop gross and fine motor skills and learn about balance, cause and effect, gravity, and geometry.
Yet at this age, child development professionals recommend only giving your baby 3 to 4 blocks to play with at a time, to prevent them from being overwhelmed and losing interest. Your baby will enjoy that big block set when they're older.
Here's how babies play with blocks:
Picking up a block
At first, your baby will work on picking up a block without their palm touching it—placing their thumb on one side and fingers on the other. This typically happens sometime between 7 and 9 months. The grip looks like this:
Banging blocks together
Between 8 ½ and 12 months, your baby may start to use both of their hands to bang the blocks together. You can help them get there by putting your hands over your baby’s while they hold the blocks. Bang the blocks together hand-over-hand, then see if your baby imitates you on their own. Try banging in a rhythm; eventually they will copy you.
Putting blocks in containers
Your baby will love to put blocks into a container starting around 10 to 11 months. Before they learn to put the blocks in, though, he will want to dump them out, so you can put them in for them at first.
Even though they probably can’t build a tower himself yet, they will love to knock down a small one you build for them.
Stacking 2 blocks without balancing
By around 11 to 12 months, your baby may be able to put one block on top of the other without necessarily balancing them. See if your baby is ready to try this on their own by showing them how you put one block on top of the other.
Try to resist the temptation to “fix” your baby’s stack of blocks, so they can learn which positions support the blocks and which will not.
Stacking and balancing two or more blocks
Around 12 to 16 months, your child will likely start building a tower with two blocks. When they're between 16 and 18 months, they may start building a tower with 3 blocks, and between 18 and 22 months, they will be likely be ready for 4-block towers.