My Little Builder

One of the things I learned in all my research on Jeshuah’s development is that he ought to be able to stack blocks.  While we had received some wooden letter blocks for Christmas, I had been using them to spell words and it hadn’t occured to me to see if he could stack them. He had never tried to before.  With any and all toys, Jeshuah is only interested in two things: can it be spun or turned over repeatedly, and does it make loud noise if I bang it on something hard? (I should also add “Can I eat it?” to that list of interests, edible or not!).  One day, I sat down with him and showed him how to stack them.  He simply tapped them loudly on the table, smiling. I continued showing him, but he didn’t care about stacking, just wanted to tap, tap, tap.

The next day, we tried again. He immediately placed one block on top of the other, then knocked them down and tap, tap, tap.  I cheered him on and kept showing him how to stack more.  He would stack one on the other, then knock them down and move on.  But the next time, he could stack three! This was vast improvement, indeed.

Last Tuesday we drove home for a bridal shower for my brother and his fiancee.  Poppa (my very own Pops:-) babysat Jeshuah while I attended, and when I left, Pops was patiently trying to teach Jeshuah to stack the blocks instead of just tapping or spinning them. I have no idea how long they did it, but as soon as we drove home the following day, I put Jeshuah at the coffee table with his toy bins and went to unload the car.  When I returned, I found him pulling all the wooden blocks from the bins and placing them on the table.  He then took one, then another, then another, stacking them carefully onto each other until he had built a tower five blocks high!! I could hardly believe it as I stood in the doorway, watching him build contentedly.  The therapists were pleased that he could stack two or three, but five! That is talent.

It has since occured to me that perhaps Jeshuah does not self-learn or self-teach like most babies his age. I notice this particularly when he is with other babies. While they explore and play imaginatively, experimenting with toys and trying new things with them, Jeshuah only does three things with toys: spin/turn, bang, eat/gnaw.  However, I began to wonder if this might indicate that he could learn how to play with toys if he was taught very, very purposefully.  After all, he had never attempted to stack things before, and now he was stacking like a pro! This would fit with my suspicions that he falls in the gifted/deficient spectrum.

The last couple of days, I have pulled out a couple of rotated toys and sat with him on my lap for fifteen minutes, showing how to work them.  He does well with toys that do not have removeable parts.  But when I tried to teach him to use the shape sorter, he couldn’t get past the desire to throw them on the floor and spin them.  So we discontinued that after awhile and tried again the next day. Today, I think he may have tried to actually put one in the hole, but I’m not sure if it was a fluke.

We will keep working on it, though. For now, I feel like I need some more educational toy options, but our options are so very, very limited, it is a little frustrating. The therapists told me to help him learn how to use a “variety of toys.”  As I looked around, I realized that over half of our toys are in hiding because they spin, and the other half are stacking/building items.  What else do you play with at 15 months old?

Suggestions?

So proud!

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3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Andrea Burney on March 16, 2011 at 1:51 am

    our kids, at that age, would play with cars/trucks. they run them all over depending on their individual mobility at that time. thats also the time they started making the brrrr noises as they “drove” them. they also played with dishes. they would take a spoon and stir the air in the bowl or act like they were drinking from a cup or baby bottle. they would rock baby dolls and drive them in the stroller (again, this depended on the mobility of the individual child -two were walking well by 15m, one wasn’t). we got a soft rocking horse type of toy (ours is a caterpiller) that they all loved. any toys that make noise are good too. we have a variety of educational toys that talk to you or sing or whatever when you play with them. we have a pot that makes sizzling noises and sings about adding food in and stacking its layers on top by what color they are. this may be a bit advanced for him but it never hurts for them to hear all that while they play. i’ve really liked this resale kid store in davenport. I think its called “once upon a child”. its over by walmart in the strip with the chinese buffet. they have nice used toys and tons of them are educational.
    this was super long but maybe it’ll get the ideas going on what he might like to play with. also, i don’t have any problem letting my boys play with “girl” toys and the girls with “boy” toys. i think they learn so many good things by pushing cars around or learning to stir imaginary food. also keep in mind that banging toys is super normal. so is eating them. its how they learn what the toys do and the textures and all that. good luck! have fun too!

    oh, has he been to the zoo? my kids LOVED to see the animals at that age (they still do)! they would screech and giggle at the monkeys and the birds, and they loved that i let them out of the stroller to run, run, run. the petting zoo took some getting used to but it they still seemed to enjoy it. its free the whole month of march too.

    Reply

  2. Posted by Nana on March 16, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    A free idea–make a drum out of tupperware upside down, and a wooden spoon. Teach him how to beat on it, while you listen to music (and that it’s not appropriate to beat on other things with the spoon!) Also he can learn “Put in” and “take out” with tupperware and measuring spoons, or other small kitchen items to drop inside the tupperware. If you put the lid on the tupperware after “putting in” (and it’s not too big for him), he has a rattle to shake along with the music! 🙂 You and he (or other friends who come to play) can have a “band” together.

    So there’s a musical idea for you 🙂

    Reply

  3. Posted by Poppa on March 17, 2011 at 7:53 pm

    Obviously Jeshuah is a normal grandson and needs to visit Popa more often.
    Pops

    Reply

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