The first few months after giving birth to my son were not only challenging for me but for my daughter as well. Our day-long play dates had been taken over by a small baby who needed lots of "mommy time". I had to be creative in order to entertain her while also nursing, changing diapers or getting my baby to fall asleep. Now that my baby is 6 months, I noticed a spike in his interest to play with his older sister and I have been trying to think of activities that I can do with both children.
In fact, my son is now on the move and his mission is to take anything and everything his sister plays with! Until now, reading books, singing, and playing with puppets were the main activities we did together. These activities stimulated both my daughter and my son. However, the other day I got an idea from watching my son smashing his sister's Lego towers. This could become a game! We all had lots of fun playing this game and now my daughter will ask me to play "Smash the Lego tower"!
I hope you enjoy playing this game with your children as well!
A baby that can play on their tummy and a child who can build Lego Duplo towers.
Lego Duplo blocks and a Lego Duplo baseplate. (Baseplate can be bought at the Lego store)
Have the older child build a few Lego Duplo towers and have them place these towers to the side of a Lego baseplate (the green baseplate in the picture). We built about 10-12 towers. You could even ask them to build some towers of the same colour and others with mixed colours.
Place your baby on their belly (or sitting if they can) beside the baseplate and have your toddler say "1 2 3 GO". At "GO" you and your toddler (or only your toddler if you want to be the referee!) have to place ALL the Lego towers on the baseplate BEFORE your baby knocks down a single tower. You might have to model the sense of "speed" and winning for your toddler if this concept is new to them (email us at email@example.com if you need help with this). Encourage your toddler to move quickly and if your baby isn't smashing the tower show them how to do it. The first person to reach 5 points wins. You can model the points using the single legos. You can ask your toddler if they are winning or their sibling is by looking at the "Lego point system". Ask them which one has more points (see picture).
When we first started playing, I would place my towers closer to my son. As he began to understand the concept, I started placing them further away from him.
If this becomes too easy for the older child, you can even blindfold them or have them place the Lego towers with their non-dominant hand.
WHICH DEVELOPMENTAL MILESTONES AND SKILLS DOES THIS ACTIVITY PROMOTE?
We are also targeting executive functions skills for 2-year-olds. This activity fits in the "Active Games" category for executive functions where a child is required to speed up, slow down or even "freeze" (see image below).
Have fun playing with you kids!
Cindy Hovington, PhD
Founder of Curious Neuron