Maggie’s Picks: Sort, Stack and Nest Toys

Around 12 months of age, Maggie became obsessed with her sort and stack toys! She would play with them for long periods of time and was very determined at being “successful” at them. So I thought I’d share some of her favourite ones for those with babes around the one year mark – keep in mind that we had most of these toys for awhile before she turned a year so they are by no means limited to that age group!

When will my baby play with these types of toys?

Really, as I said – they could start playing with them in their own way from a very young age. Many of the toys I mention, I bought much before Maggie was probably developmentally “ready” for them.

Generally for stacking toys, anytime from 7 months forward may be appropriate keeping in mind that every child develops at their own pace. Generally their ability to stack things will improve when their hand-eye coordination is better. Around 7-9 months, babies will usually start showing more interest in holding smaller objects and will show more interest in coloured toys.

However it is not usually until 10-12 months that they start being able to “release” objects into a container for example, and it may not be until around 13-18 months when they are successfully able to stack multiple objects such as blocks. This is also around the time when they may show interest in sorting shapes.

Verdict: there is no “right” or “wrong” time really – baby will likely be wanting to explore new toys much before they will be able to master the skills of stacking or sorting!

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We have two types of blocks and Maggie likes both.

We have soft blocks, which are good from a young age for play and are very mouth friendly (always a plus!).

And we also have the First Builders Mega Bloks – these ones are a bit more challenging for a young baby, but still big and safe to play with. Maggie has at 13 months figured out how to put two of the block pieces together. I like these ones a lot because they will grow with her and get a long period of use out of them.

Wooden (or Plastic) Stacking Ring

What a classic toy! I totally remember having the plastic Fisher Price one as a kid. Wood vs plastic is totally a personal preference – I actually got the wood one because I went to IKEA one day (many moons ago, when we were allowed to go out of the house to shop) and I realized IKEA had so many kids toys suddenly! So I grabbed the MULA stacking rings and a few other items.

I got these pretty early – maybe around 6 or 7 months when Maggie started sitting up independently and showing more interest in coloured toys.

Stacking & Nesting Cups

This was the other item I grabbed at IKEA! The MULA Stack & nest cupsat a much better price point IMO than the Mushie cups. I know, I know – maybe not as aesthetically pleasing with the bright colours (which as I mentioned above, is something baby’s will be interested in as they get bigger). But the price was great and Maggie loves them.

Stacking and nesting toys are important as they help your baby develop their spatial reasoning and their fine motor skills.

I also got Maggie stack and pour buckets for the bath. Her Yookidoo toy is also a stack/nest and pour toy that is great for the bath. The bonus of using these toys either in the bath or with water? They help baby experiment with different textures!

Baby’s First Puzzle

Simple baby puzzles are another good options for sorting! As you may know from my Christmas haul post, we got Maggie a custom puzzle from Life Bits Wood. She also got a few starter puzzles as a gift for her birthday but I haven’t put them on rotation yet.

They are similar to these ones but there are even simpler ones too!

Shape Sorter

Again, another thing we have a few options for. I have a cube shape sorter, the classic Fisher Price shape sorter (also good for stacking), and the whale shape sorter. I rotate toys, so obviously not all our out at once. Sometimes I keep one of each on each floor, or I put some away for a time. I’ve actually retired the FP shape sorter for now since it was more her “first” shape sorter and she already has a lot of blocks and sorters on the go!

It’s important to note that you don’t need to buy a shape sorter to help your baby learn to sort things and expand their imagination – you can also use (baby safe) household items! We do this too – I bought a big bowl from Dollarama and we have measuring cups and various utensils for Maggie to play with.

You can make your own items to meet these needs too – no need to buy unless you want to! You can make a cardboard box into a “shape sorter” and use different household or toy items as shapes; or you can cut some holes in an oatmeal canister (or something similar, like the canister from a container of Puffs!) and get some 3D shapes or again, just find household items. One thing my daycare does with Maggie is use popsicle sticks or even other little items to put into the slots! She loves this.

Measuring cups are also a great option for stacking on their own or even tupperware containers which are a favourite of many babies I know! Pretty much any item can be stacked – use your imagination!

We will be trying a few more activities this month, can’t wait to share in the March Maggie monthly!

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