The shape sorting box is a classic toy. We have one, got one or at least know someone who still has one. They are a classic for a reason. Babies and toddlers love posting things. But it takes a while before they are able to fit the right shapes in the right openings. So we’ve come up with an alternative to make this game more fun for the littlest ones and by extension get more fun out of your shape sorter box. Heuristic play toy posting is the new way to play and a super fun twist on this golden classic!
Heuristic Play Toy Posting for Babies
The inspiration for this post came through a friend of mine, who made her own shape sorter and put together a basket of items for her kids to post. In her article Debbie wrote:
“It seems that when the child is at the age of REALLY WANTING to post items through slots that they’re too young to figure out which side a certain shape goes into, and it causes a lot of frustration.” Debbie Ball, author of Adventures in Natural Learning
I couldn’t agree more. Babies go through stages where they just want to post, post and post. They’ll post anything, anywhere, if you let them. And believe me, when that ‘anything’ is you phone or the remote control and that ‘anywhere’ could literally be anywhere … it is NOT funny.
Since my husband has no intention of making me a gorgeous wooden shape sorter, I found ours in the local dollar shop. I’m pretty sure you can find them all over the place, but if you want to have a look on Amazon, here it is.
We collected a whole bunch of toys and things from around the play room for Baby Fox to play and post. As you can see on the image below, there are animals, play kitchen items, all kinds of blocks, construction screws and bolts, play farm crops, felt sleeping bags, finger puppets and fabrics scraps to name a few. The thing to keep in mind is that the items you collect are small enough to fit through the holes and big enough to no longer be a choking hazard. It’s a bonus if you can collect things that offer a variety of sensory experiences: different textures, sizes, colors, smells and perhaps even sounds. I’m sure you can come up with a weird and wonderful mix of interesting objects.
The Importance of Heuristic Play for Babies
Heuristic play, in a nutshell, is all about giving young children the opportunity to safely explore everyday items from everyday life. Through heuristic play people aim to move away from an abundance of plastic toys that all look, feel, taste and smell the same, towards a more real and meaningful sensory exploration of the world.
I’ve written a comprehensive article about the importance of heuristic play which you can read here. And we’ve been coming up with a couple of fun ideas to add a bit of heuristic play to our day with our stuff the O’Ball activity for babies and out BIG / small sorting game for toddlers and preschoolers. If you’re looking for more heuristic play inspiration, you can find it here on Pinterest. Or you might want to visit the Imagination Tree, a website jam packed with fun ideas for little ones including a whole bunch of treasure baskets and heuristic play activities for babies.
Want to pin this post? You can do that here.