Stack 'em up and knock 'em down!

Preparation time: None!

Clean-up time: Your stackables will take just a few minutes to gather .

Game Duration: As long as you want, but generally between 5 and 15 minutes.

What you will need: Books, cardboard blocks, small wooden blocks, lightweight home-made blocks, stacking or nesting cups, or the ultimate challenge: pillows and cushions! You want to provide things that your toddlers can manage all on his own. Keep in mind the weight of the finished stack, as the next and inevitable step is to knock the thing down!

How to Play:

Warning: This toddler game can quickly get silly and not-so-quiet!

Clear a space to play on the floor or a very low table, and make sure nothing is around that could be knocked over by falling stackables. (In case you still have things like grandma's china flower pot hanging around in your living room, now would be the time to find it a happy home somewhere up high.) If you are using small wooden blocks, you can try playing on a thin carpet or foam mat (like a yoga mat). This will help dampen the noise.

Bring out your items and model how to stack them one on top of the other. Once you have a stack that you are pleased with, gently knock it over. Feign surprise, and then laugh! You want to show your little one that it is okay to have the whole thing fall over, and that laughing it off is a good way to manage frustration.

Invite your toddler to stack with you. As he gains confidence take less and less of a role in the stacking until you are merely there to hand over the next block. Try stacking all sorts of things! (Except pets. We do not recommend this.) A stack of pillows is an irresistible prelude to a tickle!


  • In general, larger and heavier objects involve larger muscles and give your little one a chance to develop coordination and strength in the upper body. Smaller objects lend themselves more to fine-motor coordination and increased concentration, and could end up being a more focused and quiet activity!
  • All children the world over tend to follow in the same stages of playing with blocks. First they pile them, then they line them up and then they begin to stack and build upwards. By school age most children who have had opportunities to play in this way will be building complex enclosed buildings. If all your toddler wants to do is pile things, or line them up in rows, then let him! It means that he is not finished exploring that stage. He will be stacking soon enough!

  • Looking for a way to smoothly transition into bath time? Many stackables can be used in the Sink and Float activity.

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