The Benefits of Playtime for Babies

8 Months and Older

The Nesting (and Stacking) Instinct

Nesting blocks and cups and stacking toys keep little hands busy.

What Babies Learn: Stacking toy doughnuts and nesting one colorful toy cup into another are other ways babies develop hand-eye coordination and learn about spatial relationships -- how things fit inside and on top of each other. They also help kids fine-tune their grasping and releasing finger skills.

Game Plan: Hide another toy inside a plush nesting block to see if your baby can find it. "That adds the element of surprise and builds on the concept of object permanence," says Goldberg. At first, children may be more interested in knocking down toy towers, rather than building them. To encourage stacking, show interest: Exclaim "Oh, what a big tower!" or help balance the block creation when it gets too high.

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