As a parent, one activity that I’m always up for is building with blocks. It’s also an activity that I frequently turn to for in-home therapy sessions. When my oldest was a baby we were given a big bag of Megablocks, and we are still using them today, even as she enters kindergarten. I love megablocks for so many reasons. They are easy to clean, open ended, and toddler friendly. I wanted to take a minute and explain how Megablocks can be a perfect toy to help your child reach their physical therapy goals.
What we recommend:
Megablocks are easy to come by and very reasonably priced at around $15 for a 80 count bag. Now that I have three children, our collection has grown, but we started with a bag just like I have linked here, and it can build some seriously awesome towers. I really like using these blocks in my sessions because they can be manipulated by babies and they are still fun for school aged kids. They can also be incorporated in a lot of games that focus on very key muscle groups.
Let’s break it down by age group:
If you have a pre-walker-- you can use Megablocks to have your baby squat and help pick them up. This is a simple game, but it packs a big impact because it works on core strength, balance, coordination, and leg strength. These are all key as your baby learns to walk. You can also have your baby sit in the middle and spread the blocks out around them, reaching outside of the base of support is a great early core exercise!
If you have a toddler-- you can work on building some super tall towers and then of course, knocking them down. Squatting to select their next tower piece works on leg and core strength. Reaching up high to place the block on the tower is another great core strengthener. Then for the real fun, you can have your kiddo practice kicking the tower over. This works on balance and coordination, while standing on one leg.
If you have a school aged child-- depending on their skill set, you can use blocks as sorting tools or placing them in patterns to work on motor planning. You can have them crawl, walk the balance beam, jump, etc to retrieve the blocks from the bag and bring them to the tower. There really are so many options! Again, reaching and squatting are still great fundamental strengthening tools.
I really love open-ended activities as well. Just putting the blocks out and spreading them across the floor gets the child moving and allows them to have fun and be creative!
How can we help
If you have any concerns about your child’s progress towards their next gross motor milestone, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We are happy to do a free screening and offer fun, play-based physical therapy in your home. To learn more, click here!