When it comes to toys for babies there are a few things that you want to consider before buying because toys actually have more purpose in a baby’s development besides giving them something to play with.
Toys can be an important part of a baby’s development in terms of cognitive development, learning fine and gross motor skills like grabbing, holding, and stacking, developing problem solving and critical thinking skills, learning hand eye coordination and acting as a form of self-expression.
Among some of the best toys for a baby are the traditional wooden stacking toys. While they may seem basic in design compared to 21st century toys (with seemingly dozens of additional features), a wooden stacking toy can be one of the most fun and beneficial toys for babies aged 1-4.
Before explaining the benefits of wooden stacking toys for babies ages 1-4 we should first take a look at the 5 Best Wooden Stacking Toys that we could find online for these age ranges.
We’ve narrowed the wooden stacking toy options down to 5 in order to cover a number of age ranges. Each child will learn motor skills at a different rate and therefore you need flexibility in the complexity of each toy.
According to mom.com a child aged 1 should be able to stack 2 blocks, at age 2 they should be able to stack around 4 blocks and finally ages 3 and over they should be able to stack 6+ blocks.
It’s important to keep this in mind when looking at stacking toys to make sure you choose a suitable one for each age range. You want to strike the balance between making something challenging, but also achievable to ensure development.
If you want to see all toys that we’ve reviewed then please continue to read on as I’ll go into more detail on each product, outline the key features and most importantly give our editors pick for the best wooden stacking toy.
I’ll also give you some more information on why you will want to get a wooden stacking toy in the first place, as mentioned earlier these toys may seem slightly dated by today’s standards but don’t let that opinion deprive your child of the benefits from this fantastically simple toy!
What Are Stacking Toys
When it comes to stacking toys it’s easy to assume that we are specifically referring to toy blocks, however this would not be an accurate assumption to make and therefore when it comes to stacking toys you should keep this following quote in mind:
“All toy blocks can be used as stacking toys but not all stacking toys are blocks”
So, what are stacking toys? Stacking toys come in a range of shapes and sizes (blocks, boxes, nests, and rings) to help babies develop different motor skills like grabbing, holding, placing and also to learn sensory skills like identifying shapes, sizes, weights, distancing, and balance.
Children love to place objects on top of each other and make use of different angles, a baby can almost become transfixed when it comes to stacking and will pick something up and put it back down for hours on end!
You might have seen this behavior firsthand and might actually be wondering why do toddlers stack toys?
Why Do Toddlers Stack Toys?
Toddlers stack toys to help them understand their environment, and it’s completely normal behavior for a toddler to spend hours doing something that an adult might consider to be odd or obsessive.
I mentioned this earlier, but toys are not just something used to keep a child entertained, they are valuable tools that help develop a child’s learning curve and understand the world around them.
We can look at a ball or a building and see it for the item that it is, and this is a result of our cognitive development. For a young baby however, everything is a new stimulus for them as they take in and try to understand the vast range of information around them.
Stacking toys therefore give children a way to get a deeper understanding of their environment.
Stacking toys allow toddlers to learn about different shapes, sizes, textures, weights, lengths, angles, and a range of other things that an average adult doesn’t need to think about critically.
Therefore, when a toddler stacks two blocks they are processing a range of information based on the end result and this simple task will actually result in a number of benefits for a developing toddler.
What Are the Benefits of Stacking Toys for Babies?
Stacking toys are simple in design yet surprisingly complex in the number applications and benefits that can come from playing with them. Below are a few of the headline benefits that you can expect to see.
Improved Motor Skills
From as early as 6 months old a baby will learn to grasp objects, then by the time they are a year old they will be able to hold items and potentially stack two blocks on top of each other.
This progression and the use of a stacking toy will develop hand eye coordination, fine motor skills of picking up objects of different shapes and sizes and also the basics of interacting with their environment.
Development of Cognitive Skills
Stacking toys can be used from the ages of 1-4 in order to boost a child’s cognitive skills. Through stacking a child will learn about problem solving and critical thinking. This will be through trial and error of an action resulting in a consequence (a stacked block falling over) or placing a symmetrical shape on top of an unstable shape like a circle.
It will also help develop a child’s early understanding of the different laws of physics, this includes gravity, spatial awareness, balance and then much simpler concepts like different shapes, sizes, weights, and angles.
All these skills are crucial as a child ages and learns to apply these to everyday actions like holding and carrying a drink.
Development of Imagination
This is often an overlooked benefit of a stacking toy, but they actually help to engage a child’s imagination and this ties in with cognitive development and skills. Before a child stacks an object, they first begin to plan it out in their mind.
The first time they use a stacking toy they might just pick it up and place it down rather instinctively but over time they will learn to visualize an image in their mind through repetition and will start to stack the toys methodically and with intention.
Finally, stacking toys is a fun activity for a young child. You’ll notice that a baby will pick something up and place it down again for hours on end and once they learn to stack objects, you’ll find that they have just as much fun knocking it down and starting again.
While the learning benefits of stacking toys are great, it’s important to remember that it needs to be a fun activity for the child. Stacking toys can be popular for children up to the age of 5, which is a clear indication of the enjoyment factor and longevity that comes with them.
Key Considerations When Buying Stacking Toys
Before looking into some of the best wooden stacking toys it’s important to keep a few of the following considerations in mind to ensure that you are purchasing the most suitable stacking toy:
- Complexity – a basic set of blocks all the same size is great for a 1-year-old however, it won’t offer the same level of stimulation and interest for a 4-year-old. Therefore, you need to factor in the complexity of the stacking toy and match it to the intended age range (don’t worry as we’ll help with that)
- Size – avoid any stacking toy that is too small and could pose a choking hazard
- Versatility – while we are reviewing a range of stacking toys for different ages it’s a good idea to consider a stacking toy that a child can develop with and make use of in a number of different ways. Letter blocks for example can start off as stacking toys but transfer over to a toy that can be used to learn language
5 Best Wooden Stacking Toys
Now that you’ve hopefully got a good grasp for the stacking toys, in general, it’s time to give a full rundown on what we consider to be the absolute best wooden stacking toys for children aged 1-4
The Orcamor wooden stacking rings are a great starter stacking toy for babies aged 1 and up.
It’s finished with nontoxic, waterborne paint and has a waterproof varnish finish meaning that it looks visually stimulating for a young toddler with bright, standout colors whilst also being safe in the process.
The Elephant topper is also an excellent addition to give this stacking toy some character and stand out as a high-quality toy.
The durability of this toy is what makes it a great purchase for a very young toddler aged 1-3. While the rings come in slightly smaller than the images might have people believe (the smallest ring is 2 inches in diameter), this is actually beneficial so that they can easily be grasped by small hands to develop fine motor skills.
Overall, the Orcamor wooden stacking rings are a great starter toy that will last for the duration of the child’s early years.
What We Liked
- Bright visual colors that are toxic free
- Elephant topper to give this stacking toy some character and not only will it appeal to the child visually, but it can double up as a great display piece in a child’s nursery
- Wooden material gives this toy some much needed durability to survive a toddler’s playtime
- Well-designed shapes make it easier for a young child to grasp and develop their fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination
What Could Be Better
- The product image gives the impression that the toy is larger than it is so keep this in mind
Read more customer reviews on Amazon ↗️
The Fat Brain GeoPeg stacking Tower is for those that want to place more of an emphasis on cognitive development and gross motor skills alongside the fine motor skills that come with stacking toys.
Due to the added complexity and learning potential that this toy provides the recommended age range is 2-4 years old as the toddler learns about colors, shapes, and sequencing.
The three pegs and 21 varied shapes give an endless possibility of stacking sequences meaning your child will be engaged for hours at a time, testing out all of the possible combinations.
What We Liked
- The combination of different colors, shapes and configurations really encourages creativity as they learn about size, shapes, color, and sequencing
- Durable wood with the combination of endless stacking sequences makes this an excellent value for money option
- Great for households with more than one young child as it allows for joint play with the multiple pegs
- Easy to clean
What Could Be Better
- The paint is toxic free and safe for children but can be prone to chipping
The Oaktown stacking blocks are sturdy wooden blocks with a strong focus on learning and developments. These blocks provide a range of engagement opportunities for a young child aged 1-2 years old and double up as a learning toy.
Each side has been designed with a combination of letters (uppercase/lowercase), numbers, icons, and shapes so that they can stack them in a variety of ways.
These are great toys to learn the alphabet, counting and math whilst also doubling up as a stacking toy to develop the child’s fine motor skills. There is just as much fun to be had in building them up and knocking them down again as there is in the learning side.
What We Liked
- Large sized block at 1.75 inches in diameter mean there is not a choking hazard whilst still being perfect for small hands
- 36 blocks with over 100 designs mean the combinations are endless when it comes to learning or just stacking for fun
- Engaging for a parent as you teach a child to spell out names, identify images and learn math in a fun and interactive way.
What Could Be Better
- The wood can be prone to splitting
- Storage solution
The Right Track building blocks are designed to be the next step up from wooden stacking blocks and are designed to challenge an older child aged 2-4 years. As the blocks are slightly smaller than what you might expect we’d suggest that these are more suitable for those aged closer to 4.
The variety of shapes and sizes mean that a child can develop fine motor skills for hand eye coordination and balance, though it may prove too challenging for those that have not yet mastered the stacking of symmetrical blocks due to the variety of shapes.
The carry bag and storage tub for this toy is actually a standout feature meaning that clean up time is not only quick, but it also doubles up as another form of entertainment, with many parents claiming that the child spends more time filling and emptying the tub than they do building.
What We Liked
- Carry bag and tub for easy storage and transportation
- Smooth, rounded wood finish giving a nice texture with an added element of safety
- Variety of shapes, colors and sizes gives endless possibilities for building and really engages a child’s imagination
What Could Be Better
- Some of the blocks are small which is why this is only suitable for older ages and not toddlers
- Smaller and light weight blocks can cause frustration for building and stacking
Our final pick is the TOWO wooden stacking boxes. The large, durable, and lightweight boxes offer great fun for stacking, nesting, and knocking down. Due to the large size of these boxes however, they are better suited to children ages 2-4 years old.
The imagery on the wooden TOWO boxes is a standout feature and they look much more appealing to a toddler than the Oaktown blocks we reviewed earlier.
Despite only having 10 boxes, TOWO have made these boxes into quite the educational piece fitting in the full alphabet, numbers 1-10, labeled farm animals and even a counting side to test the child’s counting ability alongside their recognition of the farm animals.
What We Liked
- Great for both stacking and nesting making this toy a 2-for-1 purchase
- The nesting option of these boxes means the boxes can be easily stored
- Lightweight wood makes these better for nesting than cheaper cardboard options
- Vibrant rainbow colors, patterns and images are great for child engagement
- Simple design and images that provide plenty of visual and physical stimulation
What Could Be Better
- Small gap in between each box when nesting means that small fingers can get trapped in between so some supervision needed
- Paint is safe but prone to chipping
Our editors pick is the TOWO wooden stacking boxes which is not only a great stacking and nesting toy (an innovative combination that the other stacking toys we’ve reviewed don’t offer) but also doubles up as an excellent educational resource.
We liked this toy for a few reasons. Firstly, the blocks are incredibly visual and will more than stand out in a nursery at playtime. The multi-use of stacking and nesting means that a child will essentially have a 2 in 1 toy that is multipurpose and ideal for keeping them engaged.
The product also covers all bases in terms of child safety. The boxes are large so there is no danger of choking but also lightweight meaning they can stack them high and knock them down again with ease (whilst being durable in the process).
They are also made from sustainable wood with environmentally friendly and nontoxic paint which is a crucial box to check when purchasing wooden toys.
All of the toys listed above were our pick of the bunch when it comes to wooden stacking toys.
While TOWO is our editors pick, the other toys listed cover all the bases that you can expect with a wooden stacking toy. Your favorite, however, might be influenced by the child’s age which is why we’ve provided an in-depth range to suit all ages from 1-4.
Whichever toy you go with, you can be sure that the child will have hours of fun and develop their cognitive skills in the process.